I have spent the last two weeks with twenty amazing Business Chicks learning about The Hunger Project's work in Uganda.
The Hunger Project's goal is bold: empower women around the world and by doing so, end world hunger by 2020.
This is my third trip to Africa, so the awful sight of poverty and famine isn't new to me. But what shocked me this time was the marked difference in the standard of living between those living within the reach The Hunger Project's Epicentres, and those living too far to access their services. It seems that their strategy is working.
We visited 3 of The Hunger Project's Epicentres in Uganda, and saw first hand the benefit reaped from the unique system. The Hunger Project works with community leaders and all levels of government, empowering community partners to end their own hunger.
A wholistic and collaborative approach is needed when you are reaching for the sky, so The Hunger Project's programmes have a broad reach, covering: infrastructure; women's empowerment; literacy and education; health and nutrition; water, sanitation and the environment; Microfinance and economic activity; mobilising people and resources; monitoring and evaluation.
We immersed ourselves in the Ugandan culture and learned from it's inspiring people, bringing away tools for our own lives. They taught us about diversifying business interests, boardroom reporting, the power of your tribe, challenging the status quo and above all, the power of dance and song!
I was a little confronted by the amount of photos that were being taken of locals, especially when it seemed permission was not first sought by the subject of the photo. However, I soon saw the elation from people, young and old, when they saw a photo of their face on the camera screen for the first time.
Once our group dispersed it was time for self reflection, and a quick trip to see the Mountain Gorillas, near the Rwandan border. At my hotel there was no power after 4pm, no internet access, and limited other facilities - this came as a shock to me because my friends had stayed in upmarket accommodation! But the three days I spent alone taking in the Ugandan country side, and in the company of the majestic gorillas was a nice slow-paced changed. And let me tell you, there is nothing quite like sitting in silence watching young gorillas play, and then unexpectedly having the silverback brush past you at speed, while letting out a roar!