Martha has served AFPF as Board Member, Board Chair, and Executive Director (1997 – 2014). For these opportunities, she is grateful to Silvana Veltkamp, co-founder of AFPF and URDT. In 1981 Silvana introduced Martha to the work of Robert Fritz. It was Silvana’s plan to have Fritz’s teaching about the creative process become fundamental to the work of African professionals in rural development.
It could be said that without Silvana AFPF, URDT and ARU may not have ever been created. Silvana was a co-founder of AFPF in 1981, and served as the organization's first Executive Director from 1981-1997. She was the first Secretary of the Board of URDT and authored the organizations working documents. She is credited as a co-founder of URDT and ARU. Silvana previously had worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization at the UN. She officially retired from her work in 2007 to return to Italy.
For years we have used internet calling to stay in touch with our colleagues in Uganda. Now, Robert Fritz, Patty Seybold, and Martha Dolben are delighted by how effective video platforms have become in supporting AFPF's own work in the USA and abroad. The AFPF Board is able to stay in close touch with folks in Kagadi, Uganda and that has brought AFPF closer together both in spirit and in practice.
Robert (www.robertfritz.com) meets regularly with URDT department heads. He works with the team on their strategic and organizational planning process and the implementation of their plans.
Patty (in our lead photo with Mwalimu Musheshe) is a Council Member of African Rural University. She helped compile and edit the URDT Girls School Book, It Takes a Child to Raise a Village. She has visited URDT 12 times and her husband Tom Hagan 3 times. Each time, she is more impressed by the major initiatives that have been completed in the surrounding rural communities thanks to URDT and ARU. Here is a link to some articles she has written about this.
Martha has a monthly video conference with Kulusum Hasakya – and sometimes with other URDT women – using the format AFPF has developed together for the Women’s Learning and Leadership Circles. Advancing this small circle approach to women’s empowerment has been Martha's favorite collaboration during her 20 visits to URDT since 1998. Her preferred way to share this story is through her poetry and conversations about it.
To see a glimpse of life at URDT, please watch this trailer for "The Uganda Project" - a film by Reint Bakema and Robert Fritz: https://vimeo.com/287501821
AFPF is comprised of our:
BOARD – a small committed, volunteer board that meets bi-yearly with the URDT Board’s Executive Committee. At least one AFPF Board member visits URDT annually when possible.
STAFF – Executive Director and consulting professionals, volunteer or paid as needed.
VOLUNTEERS – from our North American community, occasionally hosting visitors from URDT.
COMMUNICATIONS, PROGRAMS & GATHERINGS with FRIENDS AND DONORS – We are an intimate community (under 250 families and individuals) sustaining our commitment to long-term systems change. Many donors have given consecutively for more than seven years, and some have supported AFPF since its start in 1981. Also, many of us have visited URDT, with gratitude for their hospitality and all we have learned there.
UNIQUE FUNDING APPROACH – Long-term. Unrestricted. A small, but vital, funding role at URDT.
LEGACIES CREATED and ADVANCED as highlighted below:
Silvana: linking young leaders in African development to Fritz, Senge, & many U.S friends
Fritz: Structural dynamics, the arts, etc.
Dolben: Maintaining the “silver cord” of friendship between us (in the U.S.) and URDT.
Seybold: Customer Co-Design (in International Development)
Tatra M: Awareness of URDT in the U.S. Ugandan community