July 17, 2011

AGYA Conducts Outreach on Lingira Island

 By: Kenny Mulinde

With a population of about 600 people, Lingira is one of Uganda’s largest islands on Lake Victoria. The most dominant economic activity on the island is fishing. The people depend on fishing for sustenance and to generate revenue because farming is not very viable due to rocky, infertile soil. According to a Lingira health advocate, the rate of HIV/AIDS on the islands is a staggering 80%. That is, of every 10 people, 8 are HIV positive. Other diseases like malaria are also prevalent. There is only one school and one health facility on Lingira Island, and people from neighboring islands also come to these facilities to learn and get medical treatment. Youth and children make up about 60% of the island’s population.  Only 20% of the youth attend school; nearly 40 % spend the majority of their time fishing to support their families.

Lingira island is associated with high rates of illiteracy, wide spread poverty and limited social and economic resources due to inaccessibility and isolation.

July 5, 2011

AGYA Reaches Out To Grandmothers In Kangurumira Village

By: Kenny Mulinde

In May 2011, Amy and Patricia of Grandmothers Beyond Borders introduced AGYA to a local Grandmother’s Union operating in the village of Kangurumira in Jinja District. Personally, I think it is a very big challenge for us as young people to realize the need and importance of interacting with the elderly. In most cases, we think we know everything and also tend to ignore and abandon the teachings and guidance of our grandparents. Yet, these special people have the knowledge and guidance we need as young people to grow into responsible citizens.

AGYA Country Director Abraham Matovu (pictured here with one of the grandmothers) described the elderly as society’s living library that has all the knowledge of life skills and experiences.

After a positive and inspiring meeting with the members of the Kangurumira Grandmothers Association (KGA), AGYA youth realized the need for young people to work closely with grandmothers if we are to create change. We also determined to exchange ideas and knowledge in order to bridge the gap between the young people and the elderly.

July 1, 2011

Reflections of a Volunteer Alumni: How AGYA Shaped & Prepared Me For My Job With Teach For America

By: Marianna Singwi-Ferrono

During the summer of 2009, I spent a month living, teaching, and volunteering at AGYA along with seven other students from the University of Southern California.  Founded by Nicolette Omoile in 2008-9, Rise of African Youth through Self-Empowerment (RAYSE) is the first USC recognized student-organization to send students to Africa. RAYSE is dedicated to educating, empowering, and enriching the lives of the women and youth in Uganda and eventually all of Africa. We envision RAYSE to be the umbrella organization of numerous student organizations interested in raising awareness about the African continent. In order to realize our vision, RAYSE volunteers with AGYA during our annual service-learning “Alternative Summer Break: Uganda” (ASB) student trip. During the first trip in 2009, RAYSE collectively taught computer literacy, world cultures, music/songwriting, film production, theater games, art and dance, volunteered at  Nabulagala Good Hope Primary School and learned basic Luganda.  

Now in 2011, eight USC students are preparing to leave for the 3rd annual RAYSE “Alternative Summer Break: Uganda”.  These creative young leaders will be teaching classes such as story-telling, film  and music production, entrepreneurship and dance.  This year, RAYSE was also invited to the Clinton Global Initiative University leadership conference and we will be spearheading a sustainable sex-education and health program at AGYA.  RAYSE has grown immensely alongside AGYA since Nicolette, RAYSE’s founder, and Divinity, AGYA’s co-founder, tossed around ideas about developing the first USC trip to Africa. RAYSE has now sent about twenty-five students to volunteer with AGYA and all eight 2010 participants became active, passionate members of RAYSE’s Executive board upon their return from their inspiring trip to Uganda.  As RAYSE’s current President, previous 2010 Co-President and 2009 Fundraising director, I am proud of the progress this pioneering student organization has made.