Monday, 24 April 2017

Got a new gig…ish

I frequently field questions about what, exactly, I’m doing in Uganda. This usually prompts me to respond with something non-committal, or unserious. My go-to has been either good question or just hanging out. And, while both are kind of accurate, there’s actually been a lot more to it than that. 

If you were to check my LinkedIn profile, it would tell you that my most recent job has been as a freelance writer for a website called UpWork, which is actually how I’ve been able to live sans “real job” for the enormous salary of US$30/per week, if that. But it’s something and it for the most part it’s been interesting.

BUT, that’s not what has actually brought me back to Uganda…twice. The truth is, since December of 2015 I’ve been plotting out, what I thought was a silly idea, which has now transitioned into something very real – setting up the Youth in Agriculture Initiative.

The Youth in Agriculture Initiative is a not-for-profit aimed at providing youth from some of the most vulnerable households in Eastern Uganda with agricultural technical training and basic business skills. This training will be implemented each year over a 12-month period, with each cohort consisting of 20 youth, and provide successful participants with the skillset they need to set up a sustainable farming operation, while curbing the incidence of food insecurity at the same time. Check out our website (link can be found above) and social media to learn more (and see some awesome pictures that prove just how incredibly beautiful this place is!).

If you had asked me two years ago where I thought I’d be after I graduated from my Masters, or even from Acadia, this would not necessarily have been it. But, given the path that brought me here, it makes perfect sense. I’m super excited to finally be at a point where I can announce this project to the world, because it’s been frustrating (and surely will continue to be!), with several moments over the last 6 months in particular where I questioned whether or not this plan was worth it.

There is still a long way to go (we’ve only been registered as a business, but are still on the long road to NGO status and we aren’t set to start the first cohort until 2018), but I think it’s worth the effort, the sweat, the (many) tears, and occasional blood or burnt hand. I can’t remember feeling so passionate about anything – and I’ve had some pretty strong intentions with other projects and career and academic goals!

A big shout out to the friends and family members that have been in the know and have been supporting me, fielding my questions, and calming my doubts, fears, and just general irrational insecurities about it all. But, just because I’m making this public, doesn’t mean your services won’t still be required!

-the Orange Canadian

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