Kimeeza II Program a Success

Kimeeza II participant Abramz Tekya breaking in Kampala

Like a Jay-Z song bumpin' at Fat Boyz in Kampala, a gathering of individuals can have an energy of its own. I've lead many groups of American and Ugandan youth leaders around Uganda in the last year, but I've never seen energy, excitement and innovation like I have in the last two weeks at the Global Youth Partnership for Africa (GYPA) Kimeeza II (click here for blog entries and photos from the program). This program, on the role of youth in post-conflict northern Uganda, brought together Americans and Ugandans who are looking to learn about and contribute to helping a war-torn region get back on its feet.

Since the group left early on Wednesday morning, I've been thinking about what made this program so phenomenal. The first reason is timing. We had done programs on northern Uganda in the past, but only now, as most people have acknowledged, have we reached a point of 'no return' in terms of expected security in the North. Just as this has opened an opportunity for business expansion in Gulu (there are three new supermarkets in the last month alone), it has also created an opportunity for programs that address what happens in a post-conflict region where 80% of the population in northern Uganda are youth, few of whom have any prospects for productivity or self reliance.

Second, I believe the Kimeeza was a well structured program for its intended audience. Our vision has been to create a program where Americans and Ugandans could connect, network and decide, based on their own personal interests, to what extent they want to get involved in northern Uganda. Sitting and listening to an energized group of students talk about next steps at the closing session gave me the sense that our program had a strong balance of educational and practitioner experiences and opportunities.

Third, the program was a success simply because of the dynamic individuals involved. As a group, we seemed to enjoy each other's company, and when things changed or didn't going according to plan, there was a sense that we were in it together. The Americans seemed to appreciate that many of the Ugandans around them had made a conscious choice to devote their lives to improving their region and country. The dynamics and the learning that went on between the Americans and the Ugandan participants were central to the success of the program. Of course, the caring and dedication of the program staff made all the difference (Thanks all!)

It was a big January for GYPA travel programs. In addition to the success in Uganda, we held our first trip outside Uganda, to Sierra Leone (also on post-conflict development). In the next few months we will publish information on our summer programs to West and East Africa. If you are interested in keeping informed about these opportunities, send an email to carrie ( at ) and continue to check the GYPA website.

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  • Yo, that's actually Antonio in the picture breakdancing! Jeez, get it right! :)~

    I'm totally linking to this post by the way!!!

    Missing everyone already! You'd better check out all my picks on my flicker account.


    By Blogger mai wen, at 1:56 PM  

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