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."

The Adventure Is About to Begin

02 Jul

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 Kinawataka Women Initiatives (KIWOI). KIWOI is an NGO established by Ms. Benedicta Nanyonga in 1998 that promotes women’s empowerment, community development, and environmental protection. The organization achieves its mission through the production and sale of goods such as woven bags, mats, and even shoes—all made from recycled plastic drinking straws.

As a Peace Fellow, I am thrilled to combine my passion for human rights with my love of travel, writing, and photography in support of KIWOI. I also plan to work with the organization to create a quilt of recycled plastic straws that can be both artistic expression and an advocacy piece, which will hopefully be shared and displayed outside of Uganda to raise awareness and garner support for the women of Kinawataka. A number of AP Peace Fellows have worked with partners to create quilts, which have been powerful tools of advocacy and fundraising. Who knows what kind of quilt KIWOI might make with plastic straws. Nonetheless, I think with some creative thinking, we just might come up with something spectacular!

Although I am the first Peace Fellow to work with KIWOI, I have had the opportunity to learn more about Benedicta and the organization by watching a video profile created by Annika Allman, a 2010 Peace Fellow, during her time working with Vital Voices in Kampala. It was this blog post and video that has helped to inspire the partnership between AP and KIWOI, and I look forward to being the first of hopefully many Peace Fellows to work with KIWOI. I had my first phone call with Benedicta about two weeks ago; hearing her voice was comforting and exciting. I truly look forward to meeting her and the other women of KIWOI, and beginning the adventure of a lifetime.

Posted By Scarlett Chidgey (Uganda)

Posted Jul 2nd, 2011


  • Leah

    July 5, 2011


    Best of luck, Scarlett! I look forward to reading all about it!

  • Sean

    July 11, 2011


    Good to see this update! Looking forward to seeing photos on Flickr too — will you have internet connectivity in Kampala?

    • Scarlett Chidgey

      July 12, 2011


      Hi Sean, I do have connectivity in Kampala! Fortunately, there is free wi-fi at the place I am staying and I also got a USB modem so that I can be connected from wherever I am.

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