Shannon Orcutt

Shannon Orcutt (Kinawataka Women’s Initiatives – KIWOI, Uganda): Prior to working with AP Shannon earned an MA from the Peace Operations Policy Program at George Mason University, where she worked as a Research Assistant at the Center for Global Studies. Shannon has also worked with United to End Genocide and the Save Darfur Coalition in the US. After her fellowship, Shannon wrote: “I learned so many new skills and it was really rewarding to see the work I was doing make a direct impact on the organization. It was very validating. I had the best experiences when I got to interact with the women and youth the organization worked with. sorcutt@advocacynet.org



Rainy day in Kampala

09 Jun

Today is my third day here in Kampala, Uganda and it has poured rain all morning. The rain washes all of the garbage that lined the gutters into the streets making the motorcycle taxi drive, known here as bota-botas, a bit more perilous than it already was. The red mud cakes my boots.  

While the rain has made my commute a bit more challenging, it does have it perks. The mornings are often loud with people, traffic and animals making it hard to sleep past 6:30am. The rain changes that and everything is silent except for the sound of falling water. It calms the red dirt that normally coats the slum. It cools the normally warm and humid air. When it isn’t raining, life in Kampala is busy. There are people, cars, buses, bota-botas, chickens and goats everywhere.  

I work in the Kinawataka slum with the Kinawataka Women Initiatives (KIWOI), which works with marginalized women to collect straws and recycles them into bags, jewelry and mats. To use the buzzwords of the development community, it is eco-friendly women’s empowerment. Kinawataka is on a dirt road with a mix of buildings and small shacks built with random pieces of plywood and sheet metal in close proximity to one another. I haven’t had a chance to explore much yet but look forward to getting to know the area. The active life of the slum can be heard from inside KIWOI at all times, except when it rains. 

Women of KIWOI 

The organizations founder Benedicta Nanyonga told me that people in Uganda do not understand the value recycling. The lack of focus on the need to recycle is part of the reason the streets are now covered in debris and trash after the rain. The plastic all over the roads was a clear illustration how necessary KIOWI’s work is to reduce the use of plastic bags by recycling straws.  

On my first day I met several of the women that work with Benedicta to produce the straw bags. Some spoke English, others did not, but they were all incredibly friendly. I think that is a really beautiful quality of Uganda; people are exceptionally welcoming and kind. I am very much looking forward to my summer here with the people of Kinawataka. Will report back with more when the sun (and hopefully electricity) return. 

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Today is my third day here in Kampala, Uganda and it has poured rain all morning. The rain washes all of the garbage that lined the gutters into the streets making the motorcycle taxi drive, known here as bota-botas, a bit more perilous than it already was. The red mud cakes my boots.  <\/span><\/span><\/p>\n\n

While the rain has made my commute a bit more challenging, it does have it perks. The mornings are often loud with people, traffic and animals making it hard to sleep past 6:30am. The rain changes that and everything is silent except for the sound of falling water. It calms the red dirt that normally coats the slum. It cools the normally warm and humid air. When it isn\u2019t raining, life in Kampala is busy. There are people, cars, buses, bota-botas, chickens and goats everywhere.  <\/span><\/span><\/p>\n\n

I work in the Kinawataka slum with the Kinawataka Women Initiatives (KIWOI), which works with marginalized women to collect straws and recycles them into bags, jewelry and mats. To use the buzzwords of the development community, it is eco-friendly women\u2019s empowerment. Kinawataka is on a dirt road with a mix of buildings and small shacks built with random pieces of plywood and sheet metal in close proximity to one another. I haven\u2019t had a chance to explore much yet but look forward to getting to know the area. The active life of the slum can be heard from inside KIWOI at all times, except when it rains. <\/span><\/span><\/p>\n\n\"Women<\/a> 

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The organizations founder Benedicta Nanyonga told me that people in Uganda do not understand the value recycling. The lack of focus on the need to recycle is part of the reason the streets are now covered in debris and trash after the rain. The plastic all over the roads was a clear illustration how necessary KIOWI\u2019s work is to reduce the use of plastic bags by recycling straws.  <\/span><\/span><\/p>\n\n

On my first day I met several of the women that work with Benedicta to produce the straw bags. Some spoke English, others did not, but they were all incredibly friendly. I think that is a really beautiful quality of Uganda; people are exceptionally welcoming and kind. I am very much looking forward to my summer here with the people of Kinawataka. Will report back with more when the sun (and hopefully electricity) return. <\/span><\/span><\/p>“,”class”:””}]}[/content-builder]

Posted By Shannon Orcutt

Posted Jun 9th, 2014

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