Friday, July 8, 2011

"So...what exactly are you doing in Uganda?"

On a point of clarification, I am actually, as I type this, still in the US. See my Uncle Andrew and Aunt Jill live in Washington D.C. and since we were supposed to have a layover in D.C. anyways, my mom decided to schedule in a day to see them. Unfortunately, however, she didn't talk to them about it beforehand and they are vacationing in Myrtle Beach for the week. So instead we're just staying at their house all day before our flight leaves for Turkey tonight at midnight. Once we get to Istanbul, we'll have a two day layover before flying to Uganda.

On another point of clarification, and in reference to this post's title, a lot of people have asked me why I'm going to Uganda. For those of you who have already had this question answered, bear with me. I'm going to live there for a month because my dad is a professor of international development at BYU and he is doing research in Uganda. So in addition to my whole family, there are also 15 students who are the manpower behind the research and another family (the Allreds, our friends from Virginia). My dad has two projects going on down there. The first is a study utilizing "crowdsourcing," or contacting the masses to get information. Basically my dad wants to know if the foreign aid that rich countries and organizations, specifically the World Bank, are shelling out to the Ugandan government is actually doing what it's supposed to for the people. He's monitoring this by having the Ugandan boy scouts (who are actually men and women ages 18-25) and their friends and family text to him whether or not they see the government workers are coming into to work, if the money's actually going to certain projects, that kind of thing.

The second project is in partnership with UNICEF. They are also concerned about where foreign aid is going, but on the non-governmental side. So my dad and his students are going around to the different nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and checking them out. They'll look at their records, visit their projects and put together a report card assessing their effectiveness and transparency (the opposite of corruptness). I will be living with the girl students and this is most likely the project I'll be working on.

As for the rest of my family, the Allred mama, Kristyn, has been in contact with some Ugandan orphanages and they will most likely be helping out there as much as they can. They are also hoping to help the Church with anything they need. I hope I'll be able to join in on this more hands-on humanitarian work, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. And (hopefully) next time I post, I'll be on foreign soil!


  1. reading this is like sitting in m.u.n. good for you

  2. Ha ha ha Caroline please don't give me that. Don't you know that I'm still in my budding blogger stage and any derisive comments would cause me to never post ever again?

  3. I had to laugh at the DC stay, thinking Jeff would totally do something like that! :)
    Thanks for sharing your Dad's projects. I wish you the best!!