Josh Levy

Josh Levy graduated from Columbia University in February 2015 with a Master's of Public Administration. Before becoming an AP Peace Fellow, he was the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) intern for the West Africa Team in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, where he provided administrative and research support on a variety of security and development issues. Prior to joining the UN, Josh worked for The World Bank, where he co-managed a research team and assisted the Global Center for Conflict, Security and Development in improving their evaluation methods for development projects in fragile and conflict-affected situations. Mr. Levy also worked in public relations and marketing in the public sector and in the private sector prior to moving to New York to pursue his Masters. After the fellowship, Josh wrote: "The fellowship has helped me grow professionally and personally. I improved my photography skills, my journalism/writing/reporting skills, and my project management skills. And seeing the fruits of my labor was the best experience. Once the toilet was built I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment." Contact: jlevy@advocacynet.org



The Pearl of Africa

16 Jun

DCIM100GOPROG0301116.

 Before leaving for Uganda my wife told me how she wanted to see a Ugandan wedding. Well, it just so happened that on our second day here, while we were walking in the Gaba District of Kampala, we crashed a wedding. We were flies on a wall for some time, but then people started to approach us and welcome us into the celebrations. They taught us some dance moves, dressed us in traditional garbs, and shared their food and drink. I’m beginning to see why this place is called ‘The Pearl of Africa’. Uganda is a gem and its people are among the kindest I have ever met.

DCIM100GOPROG0311120.

A few days later, after traversing hundreds of kilometers on unpaved roads and experiencing the joy of feeding Baboons some bananas from the window, we finally arrived in Gulu. Despite its many challenges, this town is a wonderful place. The people are friendly and life is simple.

DCIM100GOPROG0611252.

My first week at GDPU has been equally pleasant. The staff are warm and welcoming, the youth at the compound are engaging, and I quickly began to feel like I had joined an extended family. Tony was one of the first people I befriended. He is an established metalworker, owns a small business, supports his ill mother, and helps his cousins pay for their school fees. Not only is he extraordinarily generous with his kin, but he is also deeply committed to helping members of his community.

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Tony is one of the trainers for youth with disabilities at GDPU who are participating in a skills development program. It was special to witness how GDPU gives these kids a new lease on life by providing them with the ability to generate income.

 TochiToiletTochiToilet2

I also got the chance to meet some of the children at Tochi. This brief field visit opened my eyes to the tremendous need for proper water and sanitation facilities here. It is one thing to hear about the plight of another person, but it is entirely different to experience their situation firsthand. Empathy comes from our senses, and so if you don’t hear, see, smell, and feel it for yourself, it is hard to truly understand the reality faced by people who are suffering.

TochiSchool1

Despite the challenges in their life, these students sang, smiled, and greeted me with the utmost elation. Seeing their positivity in the face of such poverty is incredibly inspiring. Uganda is called ‘The Pearl of Africa’ because its people shine bright like gems despite being deprived of essential public services which we take for granted in the developed world every day.

SchoolFriends

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 Before leaving for Uganda my wife told me how she wanted to see a Ugandan wedding. Well, it just so happened that on our second day here, while we were walking in the Gaba District of Kampala, we crashed a wedding. We were flies on a wall for some time, but then people started to approach us and welcome us into the celebrations. They taught us some dance moves, dressed us in traditional garbs, and shared their food and drink. I\u2019m beginning to see why this place is called \u2018The Pearl of Africa\u2019. Uganda is a gem and its people are among the kindest I have ever met.<\/span><\/p>

\"DCIM100GOPROG0311120.\"<\/p>

A few days later, after traversing hundreds of kilometers on unpaved roads and experiencing the joy of feeding Baboons some bananas from the window, we finally arrived in Gulu. Despite its many challenges, this town is a wonderful place. The people are friendly and life is simple. <\/span><\/p>

\"DCIM100GOPROG0611252.\"<\/p>

My first week at GDPU has been equally pleasant. The staff are warm and welcoming, the youth at the compound are engaging, and I quickly began to feel like I had joined an extended family. Tony was one of the first people I befriended. He is an established metalworker, owns a small business, supports his ill mother, and helps his cousins pay for their school fees. Not only is he extraordinarily generous with his kin, but he is also deeply committed to helping members of his community.<\/span><\/p>

\"20150612_150353\"\"20150612_145803\"<\/p>

Tony is one of the trainers for youth with disabilities at GDPU who are participating in a skills development program. It was special to witness how GDPU gives these kids a new lease on life by providing them with the ability to generate income. <\/span><\/p>

 \"TochiToilet\"\"TochiToilet2\"<\/p>

I also got the chance to meet some of the children at Tochi. This brief field visit opened my eyes to the tremendous need for proper water and sanitation facilities here. It is one thing to hear about the plight of another person, but it is entirely different to experience their situation firsthand. Empathy comes from our senses, and so if you don\u2019t hear, see, smell, and feel it for yourself, it is hard to truly understand the reality faced by people who are suffering.<\/span><\/p>

\"TochiSchool1\"<\/p>

Despite the challenges in their life, these students sang, smiled, and greeted me with the utmost elation. Seeing their positivity in the face of such poverty is incredibly inspiring. Uganda is called \u2018The Pearl of Africa\u2019 because its people shine bright like gems despite being deprived of essential public services which we take for granted in the developed world every day. <\/span><\/p>

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Posted By Josh Levy

Posted Jun 16th, 2015

97 Comments

  • Yasmeen

    June 24, 2015

     

    Wow, great pictures! It seems like you’re having a lot of exciting new experiences in Uganda. I agree that it is eye-opening to witness the profound gratitude of these impoverished children, their eagerness to learn, and their bright spirits despite the many hardships that they face. It certainly gives us perspective, showing us what a small space we occupy in the world, and reminding us of our duty to do good. It’s great to see you making a difference in these children’s lives.

  • Annika

    June 25, 2015

     

    I really appreciated your comment on empathy, specifically that “if you don’t hear, see, smell, and feel it for yourself, it is hard to truly understand the reality faced by people who are suffering.” It reminds me of the importance of AP’s work not just in helping partners implement empowering programs, but also in spreading the word about the partners’ work through blogs, videos, photos, etc. – in essence, trying to reach others around the world through our common empathy. Best of luck in your fellowship this summer!

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