Scarlett Chidgey (Uganda)

Scarlett Chidgey (Uganda)

Scarlett Chidgey (Kinawataka Women Initiatives - KIWOI): Following an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Boston University, Scarlett worked as a communications manager for a science communications firm in Berkeley, CA. She then left to volunteer in Mongolia. Scarlett then served for five years as the Program and Communications Manager at the Alliance for International Women’s Rights (AIWR), an organization that supports women leaders and future leaders in developing countries. Prior to graduate school, Scarlett ran her own business as a communications and web consultant, managing projects and developing websites. Scarlett graduated from University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies with an M.A. in International Studies and concentration on Gender, Human Rights, and Development. After her fellowship Scarlett wrote: “The [fellowship]… enriched my perspective by giving me solid experience and examples to further support my human rights and development philosophy. It also enhanced my understanding of how grassroots organizations can operate and the struggles they face."

28 Sep

A Training in Making Straw Products

Since Benedicta Nanyonga and Kinawataka Women Initiatives invented the plastic straw products a few years ago, the organization began with training women in Kinawataka to make the straw handicrafts. Most of the straw products are still made in KIWOI’s workshop in Kinawataka, but the organization also started training disadvantaged women in other parts of Kampala […]

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Posted Sep 28, 2011

20 Sep

Safari in Murchison Falls National Park

In northwest Uganda, about 300 kilometers and a five-hour drive away from Kampala, is Murchison Falls National Park. The savannah, tropical forest, and other ecosystems of the largest national park in Uganda are home to wildlife galore—elephants, hippos, giraffes, baboons, Ugandan kobs (type of antelope), water buffalo, crocodiles, scores of bird species, leopards, and lions! […]

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Posted Sep 20, 2011

01 Sep

The Children of KIWOI

Uganda is a country about the size of Oregon, with a population of nearly 33 million people. About 55% of the population is under 18 years old, and according to the most recent data (2009, UNICEF), an estimated 2.7 million of these children are orphans. Many of these orphans have lost their parents due to […]

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Posted Sep 01, 2011

20 Aug

A Brief Tour of Kinawataka

At least five days a week (sometimes six), I leave my comfortable home at the Red Chili Hideaway, don my helmet, and hop on board a boda boda (motorbike taxi) for an eight-minute ride to Kinawataka, the slum area where Kinawataka Women Initiatives (KIWOI) is based. Most days, I walk home with Josephine, my colleague […]

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Posted Aug 20, 2011

06 Aug

The Straw Story

One day about eight years ago, Executive Director Benedicta Nanyonga and some other women from Kinawataka Women Initiatives (KIWOI) discovered that the garbage polluting the nearby drainage ditch had reached a critical mass and needed to be picked out to unblock the flow of water. In one of the plastic bags that frequently litter the […]

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Posted Aug 06, 2011

20 Jul

Kinawataka Straw Fashions Head to America

The day after I arrived in Kampala, Benedicta told me that she had been invited to bring the straw products that Kinawataka Women Initiatives (KIWOI) produces to exhibit and sell at a gift show in Los Angeles, California. Although the straw products have already debuted in small quantities in the US, the gift show would […]

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Posted Jul 20, 2011

12 Jul

I Have Arrived

The journey from Rome to Entebbe was long and I was exhausted after a series of flights and long layovers in the wee hours of the morning; but as we approached the airstrip, I saw Lake Victoria and the lush surroundings. Wow, I have finally arrived, I thought. My eyes welled up with tears out […]

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Posted Jul 12, 2011

02 Jul

The Adventure Is About to Begin

Since I was young, I have longed to travel to Africa. I imagined climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, going on a safari, and peeking at great silverback mountain gorillas. But this summer I am embarking on an even more exciting and rewarding adventure! In just two days, I will arrive in Kampala, Uganda to work with the […]

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Posted Jul 02, 2011





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