When most people think Uganda — or, for that matter, Africa, as if a gigantic continent with billions of stories and histories could be distilled down into a solitary thing — they think of problems.
The LRA. Idi Amin. Child soldiers. Poverty, filth, crime, horror.
Most people think, and see, only problems.
I see solutions waiting to happen.
I see volunteers who are dedicated, self-sacrificing and community-minded. I see school children full of hope led by teachers full of vision. I see Maria, taking care of 91 children in a two-bedroom house. I see Duncan, with 150 kids at Bombo, teaching marketable skills and instilling self-worth.
Of course there are challenges there. Some are institutional and nearly insurmountable, while others are merely surreal and annoying. I personally don’t know how to change or solve any of them.
But one thing that I have discovered is that the people who are already involved in their communities — the Duncans and Marias — do. They have ideas and plans about how they can make a difference.
That’s what ISEE does. It INVESTS in SOLUTIONS. We don’t impose those solutions from the outside but instead work with community leaders and activists in their own communities.
We create opportunities for the front-line workers to get the support they tell us they want and need.
It may be as simple as providing better tools to enable them to be more efficient at what they already do.
It may be by providing them access to peers — both Ugandan and Canadian — for professional or personal development.
It may be through imparting training or information.
But always — always — the solutions we invest in arise from dialogues with grassroots community workers and organizations.
Problems? I see solutions — ISEE Solutions.