Week One

View from my balcony in Kampala

What a week! I’ve been in Uganda for just under a week now and I have finished my first few days of work with USAID’s SAFE program in Kampala. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to travel with my classmate Kiren Chauhan and we have had an incredible week exploring Kampala and getting settled into our summer jobs. 

I keep getting surprised by how easy everything is in Kampala. I expected to have to struggle through weeks of adjustments before becoming comfortable here but instead everything has gone smoothly. This is probably largely thanks to the help of my new friends and colleagues here in Uganda who have been so hospitable. Kampala almost feels like home except that everything is somehow a little bit brighter and I’m not quite used to having the friendly neighborhood roosters wake me up in the morning yet. Kiren and I were welcomed to the city by our new Ugandan roommates who have been helping us get settled in and have  showed us more of Kampala than I ever expected to be able to see. We’ve been everywhere from never ending outdoor markets, royal palaces, Mexican restaurants, history museums, and traditional Ugandan food stops. 

The organization I am working for, SAFE, works through grantees in districts across Uganda that spreading peace and conflict resolution education and recourse and work to increase awareness and legal advocacy to areas where land rights disputes are prevalent. They also monitor and report conflicts that take place across the country to identify areas where peace and reconciliation training is needed and track improvements over time. It has been inspiring to read through SAFE’s field reports and success stories this week and see for myself how much of an impact they have had on many areas of in Uganda by reducing incidents of violence and helping citizens assert their land rights.  

So far at work I have been assisting SAFE’s monitoring and evaluation department prepare information for the program’s upcoming annual report. This has mainly consisted of reading through field reports and grant documents quantifying the grantee’s success rates into aggregated charts and reports which will be presented to  USAID in a few weeks time.   

Being able to visit Uganda and work on this development project is such an amazing opportunity and I cannot wait to see what this summer has in store for me! 

Outside of work, I’m looking forward to getting out of the city this weekend with my new Kampala friends to go to Jinja, where the source of the Nile is located.