Humphrey Alumni Impact Award Spotlight: Asia Namusoke
Asia Mbajja Namusoke says she applied for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program in 2011 because “I had a dream to achieve: making a difference in the lives of marginalized and disadvantaged populations [in Uganda]. Although I had convinced the panel at the U.S. Embassy in Uganda that I would design a youth program to support vulnerable children living with HIV/AIDS on my return after my Humphrey year, I didn’t know how to do it.”
During her Humphrey year, Asia was placed at Emory University for 10 months of non-degree study between August 2012 and June 2013. There, she studied HIV/AIDS Policy and Prevention in a cohort of Humphrey Fellows all dedicated to Public Health and HIV/AIDS Policy work, with the aim of applying what she learned in the U.S. to help vulnerable children in her home country.
The Humphrey Fellowship Program provided Asia with the skillset necessary in order to achieve her dream. Upon returning to Uganda in June 2013, Asia founded the “People in Need Agency” (PINA), a local NGO that creates hope and happiness among vulnerable children, especially those living with HIV/AIDS. PINA uses printed materials, counselling and live performances to promote their efforts. According to Asia, “the knowledge and skills attained during my Humphrey year have supported me to remain connected to my mission.”
In 2015, Asia applied for and received a Humphrey Alumni Impact Award (AIA) to further help her community. The Alumni Impact Award provides Humphrey Alumni with up to $10,000 to implement a project of their own design in their home country or region. The Alumni Impact Award is jointly funded by the U.S. Department of State and IIE’s Fulbright Legacy Fund.
Asia had witnessed the hardships encountered by HIV positive orphans and the families that took the orphans in and wanted to do something to help them. The goal of Asia’s AIA project is to support these families to break the cycle of poverty by providing skills in poultry farming as a means of income generation. The project aims to restore food security, provide employment and economic independence, and improve health and living standards. Asia’s project is appropriately titled, “Poultry for Life.”
Asia has been developing and implementing her project for nearly six months. Thus far, the “Poultry for Life” project team has trained 74 families in poultry keeping and has distributed baby chicks to 43 families. The project has installed a hatchery for chicks and has established a parent stock unit at the PINA Headquarters. Asia notes, “We sell eggs and chicks to the community and the money generated from the sale of eggs and chicks is used to buy feeds, medicine, pay staff salaries, support supervision to beneficiaries, transport chicks to the hard to reach fishing communities and support individual/family based poultry units to the venerable families.”
In the next six months, Asia hopes to reach more families and take steps to make her project sustainable for years to come. Asia says, “We are planning to buy a feed processing machine to increase on our income, so beneficiaries can buy chicks and feed in the same place. We are also planning to establish a market place where our beneficiaries can sell their produce. This will not only offer ready market for the beneficiaries, it will also provide us an opportunity to keep track of beneficiaries as well as offering them opportunities to network and learn new ideas.”
Through her Alumni Impact Award, Asia is not only impacting her community and her country, but also making her dream come true. She truly epitomizes the Humphrey spirit and the Humphrey Program is proud to support this project and this alumna.
In the picture, Asia is seen with children and caretakers involved in the project. They have just concluded one of their training sessions.