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Julia Pettengill makes her first trip to Uganda 

Day 2: Vocational Institute

​​Meet URDT Institute Alum Beatrice. We met up with her at her furniture business in Kagadi town where she sells some of the items she makes including office chairs, shelves, coffee tables etc. She is the only woman to have majored in Carpentry in the last 10 years at the URDT Institute and is paving the way for more women in that profession as a powerful role model. Since 2011 when she was elected to be a District Counsellor, Beatrice has been representing and serving women in the sub county of Rugashali. In her roleas D.C. she advocates for women in policy issues at the district level. She is just one of the many leaders I have had the privilege of meeting while I am visiting URDT and ARU in Uganda. Thank you for your partnership and support in helping women like Beatrice achieve their vision.

Day 1:  Field visits

I spent my first day on the URDT campus not actually on the campus very much! We traveled out to see the work of two of our amazing Epicenter Managers. However you imagine these women leaders, just take it up 10 levels! The men in the village kept saying "The women are sharp and competent. We let them lead." This experience is life changing for me, and I have a new insight into the meaning of our work.  When there is enough Food, Peace is possible.  

Day 3: Relationships

​​Today was all about relationships. One thing I know for sure is that the leaders at URDT and ARU see our AFPF community as true partners. We dug deep into the partnership between our organizations today, and we are all richer for it. This partnership goes way beyond funding. We are learning from each other with every interaction. Part of AFPF's mission is to educate North Americans about Africa, and that is something they care about deeply at URDT and ARU. They care that we get as much out of this relationship as they do.  Their gratitude for our friendship is palpable.  I wish you all could be here with me! Thank you to ALL of our partners!

Day 4: The Power of Community

​​Today I witnessed a powerful example of what a community can do when they come together. URDT has extended its services to include support of 2 community schools. This one in Kanywamiyaga is being facilitated by our Epicenter Manager Rachel. She has mobilized the parents of students to work together with a common vision to uplift their school and feed their children. The parents work together to sustain a school farm which provides 2 meals a day for the students. URDT's unique 2-Generation approach is growing roots here, and it is not only improving the standard of education for the students, but it is also improving the standard of living for their families.  

Day 5: Grateful

As we prepare to leave the campus, I am feeling so deeply grateful to have come for the first time to URDT and ARU with my friend and mentor Martha Dolben, Chair of the AFPF Board and former Executive Director of AFPF for 17 years. Her commitment and partnership to URDT and ARU are tangible here. We have shared such a rich experience and memories to last a lifetime. Martha, thank you for all you continue to do and your deep partnership with AFPF, URDT and ARU. Signing off for now. Please come to The Dolben home on April 15th at 6pm to hear our full trip report. Thank you for coming on this journey with us!

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