The Advocacy Project is a DC-based nonprofit that basically seeks to start social change by partnering local human-rights organizations with a person, mostly graduate students, who are experienced in this field in some way. The purpose of this volunteer, also called a Peace Fellow, is to bring awareness as to what the organization they are paired with is doing and to work with this organization to fulfill its goals. One of the most interesting aspects to the Advocacy Project is its approach to social change which is that working with those who are the most marginalized can help in removing the courses of disempowerment and marginalization. Thus the Advocacy Project partners these experienced people with grassroots organizations that are working with these marginalized groups. I was fortunate enough to be offered an invitation to participate in a 10-12 week internship in Soroti, Uganda to work for the Gideon Foundation, an organization that is raising awareness about child sacrifice and is building support for a law specifically against the practice. Child sacrifice is the ritualistic killing of children and yes it exists (and in many other countries as well) and is increasing in Uganda. This is the first time that the Advocacy Project has placed a volunteer with the Gideoun Foundation which is another aspect that drew me specifically to this internship.
Before leaving, the Advocacy Project provides 3 days of training in Washington, DC as well as a meeting with the executive director on developing our workplans, our sites, etc . At the training I attended we were presented information about the Advocacy Project, our sites, the work that previous Peace Fellows have done and how they did it and also in what is expected of us. It was also an opportunity to meet other Peace Fellows as well which for this training was about 13 other individuals, mostly graduate students in international development and some pursuing their law degree. The hardest part in deciding to undertake an internship like this is the fundraising aspect of it. Peace Fellows have to fundraise for all expenses which not only adds worry and hesitation to the minds of Peace Fellows like myself but in my opinion it also contributes to those who can partake in an internship like this coming from a certain demographic group. One of the expectations for Peace Fellows is to blog, at least once weekly, about the organization, its activities, your experience, etc, which will not only aid in shining some light on these organizations and unheard issues but can also help in generating content as well. Please note that this blog is from my lens and thus please read it as so.
My major concern in working in a country that I have not travelled to before, especially Uganda, was living there without any in-country support and then having to work and get things done with limited funds and also without being under the name of an organization that is widely known (not yet at least).
After the trainings on May 23-25, 2011, I then finished preparing to go and then left for my flight on May 30th. My flight was scheduled to go from Dulles airport to New York then from New York to Dubai and then finally from Dubai to Entebbe, Uganda.
These blogs will feature specifics about the Gideon Foundation and its efforts to try and combat child sacrifice in Uganda. Of course these blogs will also feature my work with the Gideon Foundation and my experience working with them.
Posted By Jamyel Jenifer
Posted Jun 7th, 2011