Critically Assessing Community Engagement with RWEYOWA

Critically Assessing Community Engagement with RWEYOWA

After nine years of running programs, Operation Groundswell has worked with some incredible organizations on projects that have shaped, changed, and motivated everyone involved. 2015 was no exception; this past year we saw more projects that inspired participants, encouraged partners, and positively impacted communities around the world. We’re excited to highlight partners that truly capture the spirit of OG and show the scope and scale of our projects, while also thinking critically about our impact on the ground.

Rescuing Widows, Elderly, Youth, and Orphans with AIDS

RWEYOWA is a non-profit organization that works to support those directly and indirectly affected by HIV/AIDS in the Wakiso and Kampala regions of Uganda. We’re proud to have worked with RWEYOA for several years now and to bear witness to the impact their work is having on improving the quality of life of the larger community.

In 2015, our early summer East Africa: Discovery team helped with the construction of a community well. This well helped to provide clean and safe drinking water to the community of Namasuba, which was experiencing high rates of typhoid.

Working with RWEYOWA, however, was not without its challenges. On this project, our team found that we sometimes lacked the necessary skills to really contribute to the project. As such, our team engaged in critical discussions about the kinds of volunteer projects we choose to engage in and why our partners request them. We asked ourselves hard questions (i.e. does this community really need our help?) and gained a deeper understanding of the complexity of development.

In the end, our team was proud to stand in solidarity and assist the community in tackling a crucial issue in a hands-on way. This project forced us to more deeply consider how to make sure our team’s impact is both meaningful and positive. While we don’t have all of the solutions right now, we understand the importance of working on projects that our partner communities deem necessary while also engaging in ongoing dialogue about our abilities, role, and contributions.

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