History of AGRADU
Founding of AGRADU
AGRADU began as an idea pitched by UNC students in 2005. Time spent backpacking through Uganda and meeting with community groups and getting to know local populations spawned a vision for a UNC program to offer students the same experience in grassroots organizing. The students also wished to bring support to Ugandan communities affected by poverty, war, and disease, in hopes of helping indigenous CBOs to develop and become self-sustaining. Upon return to UNC after their travels abroad, the students organized a steering committee of dedicated faculty, staff and students that worked together to transform these ideas and visions into a viable program. In the fall of 2006, AGRADU was born. AGRADU selected and sent 5 interns to work with its CBO partners in the summer of 2007. Before leaving, these interns raised money to invest in the CBOs' existing projects, as well as applied for grants and raised money to fund their own traveling expenses. In the summer of 2008 AGRADU sent 6 interns and continues to send more interns each summer, hoping to give more people the opportunity to experiece Uganda and give something back.
AGRADU sent 9 interns to Uganda in summer 2009 who raised over $4000 to support CBO partners in Uganda. These past interns are currently in the process of recruiting interns for the summer of 2010.
AGRADU is working to focus more of its efforts on advocacy work here in the US and has plans to expand its efforts both at home and abroad to support more CBOs in the near future.
Through building and sustaining a relationship between Ugandan community-based organizations (CBOs) and UNC – Chapel Hill, AGRADU offers support with skills and resources via student interns and serves as a liaison for external funding and networking. The experiences of student interns will help to elevate the consciousness of the UNC community by exposing students to new cultures, histories and African issues.
AGRADU recognizes that, as an external entity, it has a limited role in influencing indigenous community development. Rather than directing community programs and efforts abroad, it exists to provide support in the form of resources and networking. The end goal is to help specific CBOs to improve efficiency and to become self-sustaining. The latter is of particular importance as it will enable the organizations to determine their communities’ needs and to implement community- and culturally-appropriate programs without relying on outside intervention. AGRADU sees these partnerships as mutually-beneficial as the UNC community has much to gain from the Ugandan communities in which student interns work. AGRADU sees its relationships with its Uganda partners as those of friendship and support in which learning and discovery will be experienced by all.