Kathryn Dutile (Uganda)

Kathryn Dutile (Gulu Disabled Persons Union – GDPU, Uganda): Prior to her fellowship, Kathryn earned an MA in international development at the University of Manchester. In support of her thesis she researched the challenge of delivering sanitation services in Uganda from a gendered perspective. Kathryn became interested in development during study abroad and through volunteering in Ghana and South Korea as an undergraduate student. After her fellowship with GDPU, Kathryn wrote: “Sometimes the best moments were when the power went out and all the staff was just chatting about life, politics, relationships, etc. (Also) grant writing at this level and amount was new. (I) gained more technical WASH knowledge - whereas my specialty was more about institutions and behavioral changes.” Kathryn remained in northern Uganda after her fellowship. kdutile@advocacynet.org



Anticipation and Expectations: Advocacy Project fellowship in Uganda

29 May

In less than three weeks I’ll be departing from Maine to Northern Uganda. I’ll be working with the Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU) , a union of several organizations, including the Gulu Blind Association and the Gulu Women with Disabilities, promoting human rights for persons with disabilities. Through the Advocacy Project my fellowship mission will be to support the work done by the fellows before me in building handicap accessible toilets and also to begin lobbying the local government on behalf of disability rights.

In the interview for this fellowship I was asked, “What is your goal for the program?” My personal goal is simple, to support the Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU) in any way possible. For me the most important aspect of development is that fine line between supporting the community, and harmfully overstepping. I certainly don’t have answers, in fact for someone with a Master’s of International Development I rarely feel as though I could ever “master” development, but rather I am a person full of questions. Yet, my expectation is to actively contribute. From the discussions I’ve had via email with staff at the GDPU, the areas they are looking for support in primarily surround funding opportunities and nonprofit management. I believe I can prove to be beneficial in these areas.

I know many challenges will present themselves as I work to support the GDPU and those they represent. As persons with disabilities are often marginalized within their communities in Northern Uganda, I want to work to challenge the viewpoint towards those with disabilities. I don’t expect to reverse longstanding norms within the community, but instead, chip away and work towards the ultimate goal of the GDPU, “empowering persons with disabilities to lead dignified lives.”


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In less than three weeks I\u2019ll be departing from Maine to Northern Uganda. I\u2019ll be working with the <\/span>Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU)<\/a> , a union of several organizations, including the Gulu Blind Association and the Gulu Women with Disabilities, promoting human rights for persons with disabilities. Through the Advocacy Project my fellowship mission will be to support the work done by the fellows before me in building handicap accessible toilets and also to begin lobbying the local government on behalf of disability rights.<\/span><\/p>\n\n

In the interview for this fellowship I was asked, \u201cWhat is your goal for the program?\u201d My personal goal is simple, to support the Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU) in any way possible. For me the most important aspect of development is that fine line between supporting the community, and harmfully overstepping. I certainly don\u2019t have answers, in fact for someone with a Master\u2019s of International Development I rarely feel as though I could ever \u201cmaster\u201d development, but rather I am a person full of questions. Yet, my expectation is to actively contribute. From the discussions I\u2019ve had via email with staff at the GDPU, the areas they are looking for support in primarily surround funding opportunities and nonprofit management. I believe I can prove to be beneficial in these areas.<\/span><\/p>I know many challenges will present themselves as I work to support the GDPU and those they represent. As persons with disabilities are often marginalized within their communities in Northern Uganda, I want to work to challenge the viewpoint towards those with disabilities. I don\u2019t expect to reverse longstanding norms within the community, but instead, chip away and work towards the ultimate goal of the GDPU, \u201cempowering persons with disabilities to lead dignified lives.\u201d<\/span>


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