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.

Sticking Around Kinawataka!

29 Aug

It has been a busy month at the Kinawataka Women Initiatives! This post is focused on updates from August.

Extending time in Uganda

I was originally scheduled to depart Uganda on August 22nd but have extended my contract with the Advocacy Project and KIWOI for another two months! I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to remain in Kampala and support the work of KIWOI. While the first portion of my fellowship focused on NGO management and the creative use of IT, the second phase will be directed towards proposal writing, fundraising and long-term planning. I love it here in Uganda and working with KIWOI has been a truly amazing experience.

KIWOI in the news

KIWOI and its Executive Director Benedicta Nanyonga were profiled in two major regional newspapers. The East African focused on the recent books Benedicta and other inspiration Ugandan women have been recognized in. The second article was in the Daily Monitor, which is the bestselling newspaper in Uganda. The Daily Monitor provided a large feature on Benedicta and her work to empower women while protecting the environment. Both of these articles generated a lot of interest about KIWOI’s work and the office has been busy with visitors ever since.

New people around KIWOI

For my first month at KIWOI, things in the office were relatively quiet. There were not many orders so the straw producers were often not around and many of them who continued to work did so from home. However, this month the office has been full. KIWOI supports 15 orphans, 11 of which go to boarding schools outside of Kampala. The past three weeks they have been on break and came back to Kinawataka. Their presence brought life into the office as they laughed and sang together while pressing straws to earn extra money during their break.

In late July and early August, Benedicta was training several college students studying art and design how to produce straw products also two weeks ago we had a new office assistant start. I was really excited to have others in the office. Benedicta is a busy woman always on the go and I usually go with her or am in the office alone. Our new colleague Christian has been a major help as we have tried to organize KIWOI’s records and install a new bookkeeping system and I’m happy to have her on board!

I was also very excited to host Kathryn who the other Advocacy Project Peace Fellow in Uganda. She has been doing amazing work with the Gulu Disabled People’s Union (GDPU) in the north but came down to Kampala for a conference. It was great to hear about her experiences and strategize how we can work together to fundraise and support each others projects.

That’s a quick wrap up of the past three weeks, I hope to have more frequent posts coming your way soon!

Posted By Shannon Orcutt

Posted Aug 29th, 2014

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