Barbara Dziedzic

Barbara Dziedzic (Undugu Society of Kenya - USK): Barbara’s commitment to social-justice issues began in college. In 2002, after receiving her BA in Religion from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, she moved to the East Coast to volunteer at an AIDS hospice with the Jesuit Volunteer Corp. A year later she began her teaching in inner city Baltimore at St. Frances Academy, a private Catholic school founded by Haitian Nuns in the early 1800’s for the education of slave children. Barbara earned a Masters degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University. After graduating, she spent four years as a teacher working for the Anne Arundel County school system. After her fellowship, Barbara wrote: “It's changed the way I look at my own country. Given Kenya's pervasive issues with corruption and the inequality of its education system, I really appreciate the relative transparency of my own country and the public education system. I think I've come to realize how strong and tenacious I can be in advocating for a group of people I feel is being given a fair shake.”

An Interview with the Director of the Undugu Society of Kenya

03 Aug

Mr. Aloys Opiyo Otieno has been working with Undugu since 1993. The Undugu Society is one of the oldest local NGOs in Kenya and one of the first to focus exclusively on children and youth rights and empowerment. It is a well know and well respected organization in Nairobi.  It was founded originally by a Catholic priest, Father Grol. The Catholic Church played a significant role in the development of Kenya and was one of the most vocal advocates for political reform leading up to the 2002 democractic elections.  Mr. Opiyo himself is a devote Catholic and sees his work at USK as a fulfillment on the Churches teachings on Social Justice. He came to Undugu because he believed that working with the youth in Kenya, “would increase my inspiration of being an advocate of the poor.”

 Mr. Opiyo Accepting a laptop provided by the Jessica Jennifer Cohen Foundation

In our interview, Opiyo spoke with fervor about the importance of working with homeless children and youth, talked about the evolution of Undugu over the years, and spoke of the power of Digital Storytelling to give youth a voice and hold the Kenyan government to account. He has great hopes that the Digital Storytelling Project will be an educational tool that can connect to the wider global advocacy network and in so doing help to influence policy within Kenya.  To learn more, take a look at the interview below.


Posted By Barbara Dziedzic

Posted Aug 3rd, 2009

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