December 21, 2010

AGYA Co-Founders Visit Breakdance Project Uganda in Gulu

On December 10th, AGYA Co-Founders Divinity and Abraham Matovu set off for a 3-day trip to Gulu, a city in Northern Uganda that borders Southern Sudan. Despite the rich history and culture of the Acoli people who make up the majority of the population, Gulu is most well-known as the site of a civil war between the Ugandan National Government and the Lord's Resistance Army (L.R.A.). For more than two decades, the LRA, a rebel group, terrorized the citizens of Gulu Town and surrounding villages. Although Northern Uganda is now stable and the fighting has ceased, the prolonged civil war divided families, displaced millions and led to the abduction and mutilation of tens of thousands of children which resulted in the deterioration of identity and culture.

December 3, 2010

AGYA Youth Leaders Honored at Young Achievers Awards

On Friday, December 3, 2010 at Kampala’s beautiful Serena Hotel, AGYA Youth Leaders Sarah Mulekatete and Kenneth Mulinde (pictured below) were honored among a group of Uganda’s most promising young leaders.

November 28, 2010

AGYA Co-Founder Talks to Clinton Global Initiative About Vision for "Recording Our Dreams" Studio

AGYA Youth Artist Wins Grand Prize in Local Entrepreneurship Competition

22-year old Arthur Mugume, a talented youth artist who facilitates art/painting workshops at AGYA's Community Center recently won 5 million Uganda Shillings (approximately $2,500 USD) in an Entrepreneurship Competition sponsored by St. Lawrence University in Uganda. Arthur won 3 gold medals for (1) Best Business Creativity, (2) Best Business Exhibition, and (3) Entrepreneur of the Year.

November 13, 2010

At 6 Month Mark, AGYA Highlights Success of One Laptop Per Child Project

Six months ago, AGYA's grant of 10 XO laptops from One Laptop Per Child, an internationally renowned organization, arrived in Kampala, Uganda. Since then, AGYA's Project Leader, Matovu Abraham, and his Youth Leader Assistant, Mulinde Kenneth have been implementing programs aimed at improving typing and research skills and mathematic proficiency for children and youth.

The project is being implemented as part of AGYA's After-School Program and classes currently take place twice a week at AGYA's Community Center.

November 11, 2010

AGYA Co-Founder Divinity Matovu Honored At Glamour Magazine’s 20th Annual Woman of the Year Event

On Monday, November 8, 2010, AGYA Co-Founder, 24-year old Divinity Matovu took a break from the grassroots organizing, curriculum planning, and fundraising to enjoy an evening of glitz and glamour with some of the world’s most pre-eminent female leaders. Held at the majestic Carnegie Hall in New York City, Glamour’s WOTY Event celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Glamour selected 20 “amazing women” in their 20s and we are proud to announce that Divinity was fortunate enough to be among those 20. During a special segment of the event, the achievements of the 20 amazing women were introduced by Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and former President, Bill Clinton.

“The Glamour event blew my mind. It was absolutely incredible to be in the presence of so many powerful, confident, amazing female leaders.” said Divinity, pictured above.

November 3, 2010

Outstanding Student Leader to Spend Winter Break in Uganda

Derrius Lamar Quarles is a 20-year-old sophomore at Morehouse College. As a Psychology and Sociology double major with a triple minor in Public Health, Neuroscience, and Leadership Studies he hopes to go to gain acceptance into an MD/PhD physician scientist program upon graduation with ambitions to one day work in global health, international public health policy, and health policy in his hometown, Chicago. To help him achieve these academic and career ambitions, Derrius won more than $1.1 million in scholarships, including a full scholarship to attend Morehouse before graduating from Chicago’s Kenwood Academy High School with a 4.2 GPA.

October 8, 2010

Vote AGYA Co-Founder Divinity Matovu for Volunteer of the Year - Help AGYA Win $10,000 for Our Work in Uganda

Social activist and entrepreneur Divinity Barkley Matovu, 24, has been nominated for the CLASSY Awards, which recognize top philanthropic achievements by charities, businesses and individuals in eight major cities nationwide.

September 19, 2010

Youth Leader Kazibwe Nelson Reigns Supreme In Local Rap Competition

AGYA Youth Leader Kazibwe Nelson who goes by the emcee name "Jajanelly Vimcage" recently beat out several competitors to win a rap competition that was sponsored by Vision Voices, a series of youth-centered events sponsored by New Vision, a popular Ugandan radio station that publishes newspapers and magazines including Bukedde, City Beat, and New Vision. The competition was part of a festival BAZZER organized to welcome new students at major universities and colleges in Uganda. After winning in the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, Nelson reached the final stage of the competition.

Uganda's 2nd Lady, Dr. Margaret Bukenya, Visits AGYA

AGYA is honored to announce that Dr. Margaret Bukenya, a medical doctor and wife of Uganda's Vice President Dr. Gilbert Bukenya, recently visited AGYA. After spending the afternoon observing AGYA's programs and talking to youth at AGYA's Community Center, Dr. Margaret Bukenya had dinner with AGYA Board Member Dr. Charisma Acey and AGYA Co-Founder, Matovu Abraham. For youth like Naiga Shamira, who dreams of becoming a doctor and finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, meeting a dignitary like Dr. Bukenya was an amazing experience. AGYA thanks Dr. Bukenya for her visit! Check out the photos here:

Above: Dr. Bukenya adds her signature to AGYA's "Guestbook"

September 13, 2010

U.S.-Based Board Members Prepare To Take AGYA To New Heights in 2011

Within the past 6 months, AGYA has received a grant from Save Africa's Children and 10 laptops from One Laptop Per Child. AGYA accepted a grant from, an organization that recognized AGYA Co-Founder, Divinity Matovu as one of the top social entrepreneurs under the age of 25 in May 2010. Additionally, AGYA's proposal to utilize extra space at our Center to establish an energy efficient music recording studio was recognized as an Outstanding Committment by the Clinton Global Initiative University at a conference at the University of Miami. This is just a snapshot of some of the exciting news coming from the AGYA camp!

While AGYA has had a strong core group of Board Members based in Uganda; we recently decided to re-vamp our U.S.-based Board of Directors (listed below) to include a diverse array of leaders from the fields of education, non-profit management, film, art, and business. AGYA is an organization poised for success, and with the support, enthusiasm, resources, networks and skills of our new Board of Directors, we are looking forward to moving ahead.

Dr. Charisma Acey

Acey is an assistant professor at Ohio State University’s Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture. Dr. Acey’s background includes extensive work, research and travel to countries in Africa and Central America. 

August 26, 2010

Australian Student Visits AGYA, Discusses Partnership

Dharnae Kern is the definition of a global thinker. Originally from Australia, she will graduate in 2012 from the University of Melbourne where she is studying commerce, the sciences, and German. In the past 60 days, she has traveled to Paris, London, Kampala, Rwanda, and Nairobi!

For 10 days in July, Dharnae visited the AGYA Community Center where she interacted with urban youth and started discussions with AGYA Co-Founder, Abraham Matovu about partnership opportunities between AGYA and GAPS (Global Aid Partnerships).

GAPS is a student organization at the University of Melbourne that aims to build sustainable partnerships between organizations and communities in the developed and developing world.

August 14, 2010

AGYA Goes International

Dear AGYA Friends and Supporters,

I am proud to announce that AGYA has been registered as a non-profit public charity in the State of California. AGYA will be conducting business under the name "AGYA International." Your donations can now be made payable to "AGYA International" and can be mailed to our new office, which is located at 1620 Centinela Avenue, Suite 303, Inglewood, California 90302.

August 13, 2010

Volunteer Spotlight: Nicole Broom Talks AGYA and the Art of Living

College student, Nicole Broom (pictured above), spent her summer volunteering with AGYA in Uganda.

AGYA’s International Volunteer Program partners with student groups to organize service-learning trips that provide college students with the opportunity to travel to Uganda where they learn and develop through action-oriented service that meets community needs. Through AGYA's on-going partnership with RAYSE (Rise of African Youth through Self-Empowerment), a student organization at the University of Southern California, nine USC students recently spent 4 weeks working in Uganda as part of a unique service-learning trip that focused on cultural exchange, leadership development, relationship-building, skills training and education.

July 24, 2010

AGYA Receives Grant Funding From Clinton Global Initiative

Former President William J. Clinton addresses young activists at the 2010 CGI U Conference.

AGYA is honored and humbled to announce that our project, “Recording Our Dreams: Empowering Ugandan Youth through Music Production” will receive $6,000 USD after winning an Outstanding Commitment Award from the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). The award is funded by the Wal-Mart Foundation.

According to CGI U, AGYA’s plan to empower youth economically and artistically by establishing a solar-powered recording studio was as an exemplary entrepreneurial and environmentally-sustainable approach to alleviate poverty and joblessness among youth in Uganda's urban slums.

July 19, 2010

AGYA Girls Program Leader Enrolls in United Media Consultants and Trainers (UMCAT)

19 year old Mulekatete Sarah was recently re-elected to serve as the Director of the AGYA Girls Program. Sarah's dream is to become a journalist and we are proud to announce that, with the support of AGYA, Sarah has enrolled in a degree program at United Media Consultants and Trainers (UMCAT).

Sarah was recently interviewed by Zora&Alice, an online women's magazine which hopes to empower young women to be leaders and entrepreneurs, in business, non-profit, writing, film, fashion.

To view the article, click here:

July 16, 2010

18 New Youth Leaders Will Lead AGYA Into 2011

The involvement of youth in leadership positions is a central aspect of AGYA's philosophy. This approach is a departure from traditional Ugandan culture, which maintains the supremacy of elders, a point of view that often diminishes the capabilities of young people and renders their opinions irrelevant or unimportant. In AGYA, youth leaders gain valuable leadership experience and earn a monthly stipend which allows them to supplement their family's household income and be economically empowered young people.

All youth leaders have decision-making authority, contribute to the organization's overall strategic plan, conduct outreach and advocacy in the community, lead meetings, facilitate classes and workshops, and serve as Ambassadors to friends of AGYA. The inclusion of these powerful young voices has helped to set the organization's agenda and introduced new, innovative solutions to key problems affecting the thousands of Ugandan's living in urban poverty.

July 5, 2010

AGYA Youth Use Stop-Motion Technology To Create Animated Promo Video!

After only 6 weeks of intensive media training with Point Youth Media volunteers, a team of AGYA Youth have filmed and edited the following promo video in Uganda. This short video (which features "Long Time," the original composition written and recorded by AGYA youth in the opening scene) serves as a testament to the ways in which access to resources and training can truly open up a world of possibilities for children and youth. Enjoy!

July 3, 2010

AGYA Measures Impact of 2 Core Programs

Organizations often highlight what they do and how they do it; however, many organizations struggle to qualitatively and quantitatively measure the impact of their programs and activities. Although AGYA is still in the process of solidifying and streamlining our evaluation procedures; we are proud to report that, within the last 6 months, our Free Lunch Program has provided more than 500 kg of food and 76 gallons of clean drinking water to children and youth living in Uganda’s urban slums. AGYA’s Staff has contributed more than 1,500 volunteer hours to ensure the success of the Free Lunch Program, which has served 323 children and youth from 5 urban communities in Uganda.

June 20, 2010

AGYA to Co-Sponsor "Ukoo Flani: Pioneers of Kaya Hip Hop" Event & Concert in Los Angeles

Save The Date: January 20, 2011

On January 20, 2011, at the University of Southern California's Bovard Auditorium, AGYA will co-sponsor an event featuring a performance by Kenyan rap group Ukoo Flani, pioneers of kaya hip-hop. The performance will be followed by a discussion about the role of African youth in the development of hip hop as a global art form and the issues facing urban youth in Africa.

April 18, 2010

AGYA Co-Founder, Divinity Barkley, Named as a Finalist in DoSomething Awards

When AGYA Co-Founder, Divinity Barkley first heard of six months ago, she thought of her favorite quote from Albert Einstein: “the world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look and do nothing.”

AGYA Co-Founder Matovu Abraham Prepares to Launch Laptop Workshops in Uganda

AGYA has officially received our shipment of 10 XO laptop computers as part of a grant from One Laptop Per Child. The XO laptop is an innovative educational tool designed to be put into the hands of children. This is exactly what AGYA intends to do.

Next month, AGYA Co-Founder and Secretariat, Matovu Abraham, who also serves the Project Leader, will implement Phase I of a project that aims to improve the performance of 100 children in English reading and writing proficiency, and improve the performance of 50 children (ages 6-11) in basic Mathematical operations (including addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, and ratios).

Argentina-based Fundraiser Joins AGYA Team for 12-Week Internship

AGYA has selected Jorge Chahle, a graduate Marketing student at the Argentinean School of Business, to fulfill a 12-week internship focused on research grants and write funding proposals. Chahle is fluent in Spanish and English, and for the last 3 years, has worked as Development Coordinator with Amnesty International in Argentina. Currently, he is also working for Doctors Without Borders Argentina, coordinating a pilot project of individual giving.

Hoping to put AGYA on a path towards financial sustainability, Executive Director, Divinity Barkley, designed the internship to attract talented professionals with grant-writing and fundraising experience. Barkley posted the internship opening on, and Chahle was one of the most appealing candidates. Within a few days of receiving his cover letter and resume via e-mail, Barkley and Chahle had connected via Twitter, Facebook, and Skype. “After our first Skype call, I knew Chahle was the right guy for this internship,” says Barkley.

March 29, 2010

AGYA Staff Gears Up to Welcome Student Volunteers from Vancouver, Canada, the University of Southern California and Ohio State University!

This summer, as part of our service-learning volunteer trips initiative, AGYA will welcome several student volunteers from Canada and two top universities in North America: Ohio State University and the University of Southern California.

These ambitious college students will spend 4 weeks living and working at the AGYA Community Learning Center in Uganda. They will teach daily classes and workshops at AGYA's Community Center, volunteer at an elementary school and a local orphanage, undergo intensive Luganda language training, participate in cultural excursions, and collaborate with student leaders from Makerere University, Uganda's premiere 4-year degree granting institution of higher education.

March 2, 2010

You Can Support by Purchasing a Piece of Art!

Contact us at if you are interested in purchasing one of the pieces exhibited below. Proceeds help AGYA meet our operational costs and provide jobs to Ugandan youth living in urban poverty.

Above: "A Caring Mother" Price - $35

February 16, 2010

AGYA to host fundraiser in Los Angeles on February 26, 2010

Los Angeles supporters are encouraged to attend AGYA's Spring 2010 Fundraising Reception on Friday, February 26, 2010.

For details, e-mail AGYA Executive Director Divinity Barkley at

February 5, 2010

AGYA Secures a Grant of 10 Laptops from One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

With the goal of increasing the computer literacy of young Ugandans, AGYA reached out to world-renowned organization, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC).

February 2, 2010

Fresh Off the Press: AGYA T-shirts Now Available

To find out how you can support AGYA by sporting a t-shirt, e-mail us at:

January 30, 2010

AGYA Youth Add African Flavor to The Art of Breaking

Breaking, or breakdancing, is a style of dance that evolved as part of hip-hop culture among urban youth in New York during the 1970s. Arguably the most fluid and far-reaching aspect of hip-hop culture, breakdancing has taken Uganda by storm. Ugandan youth have embraced this unique style while incorporating some distinctly African elements of dance and movement in order to create a style which is fascinating to watch. AGYA offers breaking classes at our community learning center on a daily basis.

The following video features several AGYA Youth Member b-boys and b-girls during a recent rehearsal. Enjoy!

January 15, 2010

AGYA Welcomes Our First European Visitors From Sweden

To start the New Year, AGYA welcomed our first European visitors. 30-year old Goran Ericksson and 28-year Lisa Tagesson are a young, artistic couple from Sweden. Eriksson is a professional poker player and Tagesson, who just completed a Masters Degree in Visual Arts at Gothenburg University, recently spent 3 months in China and 1 year in Korea as an artist in residence. Within the last year, Eriksson and Tagesson have traveled to Malaysia, Laos, Korea, China, Thailand, Philippines, and India. A three-month tour of East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania) is just the latest stop on their journey of world travel.

Knowing they wanted to spend some time volunteering during their time in Africa, Eriksson and Tagesson searched on the internet for organizations that focused on art and creative expression. After searching for groups in Uganda, they stumbled upon AGYA’s blogspot. According to Eriksson and Tagesson, the Amagezi Gemaanyi Youth Association was one of the few organizations they found that was youth-centered and placed a priority on art and creativity programming. They were especially interested to learn that U.S.-based artist, Benjamin Rothschild, had recently spent 1 month in Uganda teaching art workshops. After arriving in Uganda in early January, Eriksson and Tagesson decided to spend 10 days living and volunteering at the AGYA Learning Center. “Staying at AGYA has been great because the atmosphere is so good, relaxed, and creative,” said Eriksson. Adds Tagesson, “Everything happening here is positive. It is very inspiring to constantly see creation with AGYA’s music, dance, and art programs.”

Above: Lisa shows AGYA Youth Member, Rodrigo, the proper way to start a crochet piece.

January 8, 2010

AGYA Begins 2010 With News of First Grant Award

AGYA is honored to announce the receipt of our first grant award from Save Africa’s Children, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that provides direct support and care to orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty and war throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. SAC partners with individuals, churches, grassroots organizations, government and corporate sectors, endeavoring to build a dynamic, diverse movement to restore hope and a future for Africa's children.

The $5,000.00 grant award will allow AGYA to fully cover the cost of the free lunch program for 12 months and double the number of children we currently serve! The key objective of the program centers on alleviating the burden facing families in the communities we serve by providing free lunch and clean drinking water to registered AGYA Youth Participants every Saturday and Sunday.