Volunteer Stories: A Word from Timber

I always have a little chuckle when I find myself in places I would have never imagined going. coming from the girl who never got on an airplane till I was 20 years old, and it was to Kenya, Africa. Life begins at the end of our comfort zone!

This trip to Uganda, was to help me gain experience in International Agriculture to help pursue a career in the industry. Although, 10 days before I left, I was hired as the Texas Organic Program Coordinator. I was still determined to go to Uganda. As I wandered myself to Uganda, I really had no idea what to expect other than we were going to be hosting Agriculture teacher training.

I wouldn’t say my job was on the front lines, but maybe more behind the scenes. A little hint from the Lord to let me see the bigger picture. I was behind the face of the camera. Trying to slow time down in a glimpse of a memory. Being behind the camera in Uganda, I witnessed my favorite people dancing and singing to the beat of the music. I was able to catch the love on their faces when they received new material for teaching their children. Capturing the hard work and determination to make sure their students were able to receive all the opportunities they could give them.

My time with Field of Hope at the teacher training was sweet. I met so many sweet faces sitting behind the camera. I loved being able to meet with the teachers on a real note and see their real-life stories. To hear their highs and lows of being a teacher in Uganda.

Traveling to new places can broaden our perspective and help us learn about different cultures and ways of life. It’s amazing how much we can learn from exploring new parts of the world. And even if we don’t travel far from home, trying new things and challenging ourselves can also be a great way to grow and learn.

If you’re remotely curious to hop on an airplane and go to Uganda. Do it! You never know where it will take you!
-Timber, Volunteer ’23

Inspire Me

Inspire me. What does this mean? When I understood it, I wondered how perfectly I can say it.

These are my thoughts as I moved from school to school and looked at the face of these beautiful learners. During the teacher visits I really got an insight on what really happens after teacher training. The busy schedule of running around schools that are miles apart. Why all this, at last I  understood the mission, improving the quality of education is vital for community resilience towards every day challenges like food security, It’s about the impact on every district, every school, the hundreds-thousands of learners who get to receive quality Agricultural education that supports the back bone of this beautiful country Uganda.

These students, our future generation and I felt deep within me I was obligated to share with them something well composed that was fun enough to keep them interested and most importantly inspire them to become the future of agriculture for this country Uganda. So as a team we spoke and shared with the learners concerning various aspects like on the endless opportunities in studying the subject I told them the subject is able to accommodate most of their passions from engineering to economics and animal science, we all have a space to fill. We continued to talk about goals, encouraged each one, of them to choose a career goal and work towards it. We talked about employment and I said with this knowledge (agriculture) the first employer is self-employment and a long list of agencies ministries farms, schools and universities who will always want to hire agriculture experts/professionals in the different fields. I told them I would be happy to meet them in future when they can testify on the benefits, I also continued to tell them it was good to work and contribute directly to food and nutritional security together with economic development. Not forgetting that they could still carry on with their different career objectives and do agriculture on the side.

As an agriculture teacher I used different approaches for every class every school of how we started and covered the career talks with learners, some were very enthusiastic there by participated actively, some learners already had career objectives and a few had made some research about the possible opportunities in agriculture. With the team we also had question and answer session to allow learners inquire more concerning their issues and topics we had covered earlier, and everyone was glad to answer to these questions. And by the time we left I believe the learners were happy and inspired since was a young person who shared about myself and how I got around.

Our mission as Field of Hope obligates us to inspire youth to develop interest in agriculture, who get to receive knowledge and skills that give them food security and jobs. People like us employed by Field of Hope inspire and guide them about the wonderful futures that await them so that we can foster food and nutritional security together with economic independence in the long run there by we passionately  promote youth agricultural education in rural the communities of Uganda. Lastly I believe that Field of Hope as an organization may not provide food but rather  seed that will secure the future of food security for millions of Ugandans–for generations to come.

-Akwero Hilda, FOH Volunteer ’23

Our ISAG Journey: St. Gracious Secondary School

Hi; I am Emmanuel Opio, a teacher and Head of Department for Agriculture at St Gracious secondary school Lira. In today’s era, practical learning is absolutely necessary, especially in the vocational and pre-vocational subjects which includes agriculture. In my homeland, Uganda,
agriculture rings the loudest bell, being the back bone of the economy, due to its ability to employ over 80% of the citizens and uphold food security. So, it is in the best interest of many schools to have many agricultural projects that support hands on learning. This may present shortcomings in different ways but most commonly, finances. The good news is that some schools including St. Gracious secondary school were able to get a lift financially and that is what I would like to share with you today. At “SAGRASS” we now have a fully running poultry project where our learners freely interact with and are able to see and touch everything they learn about poultry and this was made possible by the grant given by Inspiring Students of Agriculture Grant (ISAG) under Field of Hope. The ISAG grant was to the tune of 1000 US dollars from which we were able to buy the stock, feeds, equipment, medicines and vaccines. I got to know about Field of Hope through a social media forum after which I applied for teacher training program. During the training, we were guided on how we could apply for the Field of Hope ISAG grant.

That was in the year 2023. We wrote our project proposal which was approved after scrutiny by Field of Hope staff . We later wrote a business plan, submitted and were approved by Field of Hope followed by a feasibility visit (assessment of the school readiness to host the project) by their staff. This was followed by signing of the memorandum of Understanding between school and Field of Hope. The grant was released into the school account. At St. Gracious secondary school, we started rearing 254 chickens from chick stage that provided a comprehensive learning experience for our students. The breed we keep is a mixed, dual-purpose. We are having a steady progress with a few challenges which are learning areas for the students.

We hope to have a 20% increase in the number of birds by the next stocking. The success of the Field of hope project funded by ISAG at our school is basically attributed to the strict observation of rules by the students in the management areas of feeding, parasite and
disease control, biosecurity and general housing conditions. The project has changed a lot if things already, from making learning easy and real to igniting interest of students and even teachers to practically take up poultry farming. All poultry related lessons are all being conducted from within the premises of the poultry house. The project has enhanced hands on experience and has encouraged practical learning.

The students are self-motivated in doing the project work and surprisingly we have already witnessed a rise in the number of students leaving other optional subject for Agriculture. It has stimulated some students to start their own at home which has greatly impacted the community like on one occasion the deputy of the school requested for the breeders contact and ordered his stock immediately, since he already had the structure.

On behalf of St. Gracious secondary school I would like to acknowledge the support of Field of Hope ISAG grant and confirm that it is really helpful to the learners, staff and the community out there and for the first time I feel like a great teacher. You are really doing a big job in the move to ensure sustainable agriculture for a stable global food security.

BRAVO, Field of Hope! BRAVO, ISAG.

Empowering Communities Through Extension

Growing up in 4-H, a youth organization back home, I have always felt very familiar with extension services.  Knowing where my local extension office was located gave me the ability to acquire knowledge in agriculture easily.  At my young age, I never imagined this type of service was something that could be made available on an international or global scale.  After only a short time in Uganda, I have realized the influence of extension services throughout the country.  There are groups reaching out to the communities through many avenues, e.g. schools, health, and churches.  Being a fellow for FOH, has shown me all the work, passion, and commitment of the people involved with extension work provide to the community.  FOH believes that empowering people with improved agriculture techniques can improve the nutritional security that is needed in areas of Uganda.  I have to say that I agree and that FOH is doing just that.

So far on my journey, I have helped with post-harvest season training and the beginnings of a new project for a smallholder farmer group.  Additionally, I have been able to engage with the staff at FOH about preparation aspects of the projects they do.  I recently explained to a friend back home that extension work (specifically in agriculture) is basically being a liaison of information, some of which can be quite complex.  I further stated that extension takes the research and results available on a topic and turns it into something “digestible” for the consumer (farmer).  Through training and curriculum production, FOH has become a valuable resource as an extension agent to the small-holder farmers and the schools they work with.

If you were to look up the definition of empowerment, you would read that it is “a process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially over one’s life”.  By providing knowledge and training in practical agricultural skills, FOH is empowering the people they serve.  Once these farmers, teachers, or school children learn improved techniques, they are equipped with something that can rarely be lost: knowledge and experience.  Gaining the know-how of a new idea or product can change how efficient production of agriculture for a farmer or student can be.  In agriculture, efficient production leads to overall improvement of life for farmers (or students), whether that means more income, better nutrition, or less time spent on laboring fields.

This past week, I joined David, Joseph, and Hilda at Farm Camp.  I found that this camp was similar to 4-H camp back home.  The camp focuses on teaching students from around the country on production techniques.  FOH had the honor of partnering with the camp leaders and facilitating sessions during the camp.  In the opening ceremony, the camp director stated that 800 students were present, ranging in age from primary through secondary schools.  It was so amazing to see all these students gathered to learn about ways that agriculture can impact their lives and how they can improve their agricultural productivity.  The extension support that FOH gave this camp is just a small portion of their Youth agriculture education pillar.

Through my experience so far, I have learned a better understanding of what empowerment through extension services can mean to a family or a village of people.  I have witnessed how farmers are growing in knowledge on their crop production and practices because of the trainings they participate in.  I am excited that I get to see and be a small part of this organizations mission.

-Angela Hurst, Fellow ’23

Introducing Angela

Angela Hurst is one of our 2023 fellows. Currently in her master’s program at Oklahoma State University, in Stillwater Oklahoma, Angela is studying International Agriculture. She is currently on-the-ground in Lira, and staying at the program office-house.

Angela decided to apply for a fellowship after learning about FOH’s mission. She said, “I knew that I wanted to try and be apart of that mission.  I came into this degree not truly knowing what I wanted as a career, but knew I was being called to use my background in animal science as a tool for the development or improvement of food and nutrition security in developing nations.” Her background in animal science is incredibly helpful this summer, specifically to the expansion of our smallholder farmer advancement pillar where we are implementing animal projects.

Ms. Hurst is giving her expertise in animal sciences, but also hopes to learn from Uganda. She said, “I love learning about new people and cultures and look forward to experiencing this within Uganda.  I am just so excited to get to work with people and serve them in a way that will help them.”

Angela intends to bring what she learns, in every way, back home. She explained, “my family loves when I share what I have learned in school and I can’t wait to be able to share this with them.  I believe that if people are open to learning new cultures and ways of life, we can get closer to a united form of the world.” She also specifically wants to share a specific piece of Uganda with her mom–fabric! Angela said, “My mom also likes to sew and I can’t wait to bring home some fabric that will not only remind me of my time with FOH, but also be a great conversation starter when I wear it around good ol’ Oklahoma.”

We cannot wait to see all that Angela does this summer, and how this experience impacts her. Best of luck, Angela!

A Word From David, Our New Program Associate

My name is David Obong. I am an Educator, with a decade of experience working with both students and the community. I have been a classroom teacher in Secondary schools for eight years and a part-time crop science lecturer in the department of agriculture at National Teachers’ College-Unyama for five years. I am due to graduate with a Master of Science in Agricultural Education and Extension from Kyambogo University. I hold a Bachelor in Education-Subject Agriculture and Diploma in Education Secondary-Subject Agriculture. 

I hail from Gulu District, in Northern Uganda where agriculture employs about 85% of the population. All my parents were farmers coupled with my educational background, which is in line with agriculture; I have developed a passion for agriculture. In the near future, with the diverse knowledge and skills I have in agriculture, I hope to start a piggery project, which will provide a training centre for those with a similar passion. 

I have been a follower of Field of Hope on Facebook and visiting the organization’s website to learn more about what they do. I got inspired by the impacts the farmers, teachers, and students were testifying. I had no idea that God was preparing my path to join the organization. When I learned that the organization was in need of a volunteer, I applied, and I was absorbed into the amazing Field of Hope family. In my opinion, food is medicine. Therefore, when people practice agriculture in the right way and eat balanced diets, they will solve many health issues without visiting hospitals. Therefore, the best gift I can give to Field of Hope partner teachers, students, and farmers is to instill in them the right agricultural mindset, skills, and technologies. This is what motivated me to join Field of Hope. 

 Based on school visits and teacher evaluations I have conducted, as well as giving career and inspirational talks to both teachers and students, many students are getting excited about agriculture, I predict that in the next five to ten years, many youths will pursue agriculture as a career, and agriculture will be practiced as a business. 

 

Dream Come True

My name is Solomon Okello, a student of Makerere University serving with Field of Hope as an intern. I have passively spent almost two years with Field of Hope, since 2020, but actively spent a month with this amazing organization.

Field of Hope has three interesting pillars which include youth agricultural education, smallholder farmer advancement, and leadership development. The intersecting feature common to all these pillars is vision of capacity building, and I have had opportunity to interface with all of them.

The most interesting fact about Field of Hope is their unquenchable thirst and zeal to build capacities of members of the rural communities to step out and move above the poverty line below which most of them are currently living.  After intervention by Field of Hope, members are being nutritionally food secured and financially stable and sound, developing students’ passions towards agriculture and its related disciplines as well as training the future global leaders responsive to future global demands.

Talking about smallholder farmer advancement pillar! During the little time I spent with Field of Hope, my superiors and I happened to run farmer group trainings in close to seven different farmer groups on different fields such as financial literacy, animal production and management, vegetable production and cassava production but the unifying response that participants in these different groups showed was the urge and willingness to learn new agricultural practices and technologies and this deeply communicated to me how much Field of Hope and its investment into SHFA is needed by rural communities. While at the training grounds, you see these groups of women coming through for the sessions and all you can empathetically imagine is going on in their minds are the questions of “how am I going to carry today’s family burdens?” but it’s interesting to see the activeness and the passion they portray in their faces full of smiles to learn new technologies.

Coming from a family that undertakes small scale farming, I told myself while still in my first year at campus that “you left home to make it better”. This statement meant studying agriculture and being in position to use the knowledge acquired to positively make better the status of not only my own home but also homes that have the same or similar status which are the small-scale farming families which constitute the highest proportion of the farming communities in Uganda. So, with the different farmers’ trainings that I actively participated in across Lango sub-region, I joyfully feel like it’s a “dream come true” knowing that I have delivered the information and that participants have taken it for their consumption and therefore the betterment of their respective homes and people around them. However, the dream became even much more pronounced and stronger in my mind when one of the female participants called and requested me after the animal production training that “my son, please come back and help us again and again” and her request speaks to the world on how much the agricultural knowledge extension to the rural communities is needed.

But wait, I can’t fail to talk about Field of Hope team! There is a way that God has set Field of Hope unique in all aspects! You know, every time you journey into a new environment there is always that one question of “how will my first 2, 3 or 4 days look like?” and so from the time I left campus till I reached Lira this question never skipped my mind. Stepping into the office premise, the games in my mind changed on seeing the environment that different amazing personalities within the team created in the office and it immediately painted an image of colleagueship rather than student-boss relationship in my mind. This image made it extremely easy for me to fit within the team. The fear of God and borderless love in these people made it much simpler for me to fulfill my internship objectives and I deeply pray that the team continues with the same spirit to help thousands of internees who will come through over the time to fulfill the respective objectives and become professionals who are responsive to their societal and global needs.

Field of Hope team is completely full of people who are “down to earth”, knowledgeable yet having endless passions to learn new things to deliver to the communities they serve. Hard work and team spirit within these people is one of the key lessons I learnt and amidst this hard work, spicy stories would never miss but what leaves a permanent “water mark” in my mind is the fact that every story cracked whether in office or along the way to the field would be seasoned with a Biblical scripture which tells a lot how much prayer as one of the core values of the organization is observed.

Finally, I extend my deep heart-felt appreciation to the general management of Field of Hope for granting me the opportunity to serve in the organization and for the subsequent supports of all kinds offered to me. At individual level, I extend my appreciations to Alexa Major the Executive Director, Olivia the Program Manager, Walter Okullu the Country Coordinator, Agnes Obote the General Coordinator, through whose decisions I was granted the opportunity and supports. I also extend my appreciations to Nicholas, Program Officer, Joseph, Program Associate and David, Program Volunteer through whose knowledge and guidance I successfully accomplished my objectives. Great thanks to the two fellows from US, Rebekah McCarty and Oluwabukola Makinde for the excellent company and valuable pieces of advice that never left me the same and for being great inspiration to me. In one of the conversations with her, Bukky told me that “your opportunities are as many as the networks you create” an advice which changed the way I used to look at things around me.

Now, it is my deepest prayer that God richly expand the territory of Field of Hope so that it can be in position to accomplish its mission and individually bless both US and Ugandan team.

By: Solomon Okello, Intern 2022

Adventures after Africa: Fields of Hope

After almost three months of living in Uganda and just two months of being back in my home country of the United States of America, I have found reflection, insight, pride, and adjustment beyond measure.

“What a trip you just got back from, how was it?” This question leads many of the conversations I have with individuals aware of my fellowship with Field of Hope. The question I ask myself in return is: How do I describe the greatest experience of my life in a five-minute conversation? Most people expect a simple answer, but frankly, “It was great,” or “really awesome” doesn’t quite do the opportunity the justice it deserves.

In the days leading up to my departure from Uganda I could feel my heart begin to rip into two pieces; part of me ready to go back home and the other part of me not ready to leave home. By feeling this feeling, sometimes expressed through tears, I found it was just material proof that I had made the most of my fellowship. In many of the fellows’ blogs this season we talk about the people, the landscape, the spirt, and the vibrancy of the inspiring country we lived in. I won’t repeat all of that, but know that those feelings in country, don’t stay in country. Rather, those feelings turned into longing and remembrance for me, which was hard to cope with.

Leaving those brothers and sisters ensued a five stages of grief period for me. I felt sadness, heartbreak, and anger, which slowly turned into acceptance, and later pride. I won’t dwell on the beginning stages, but know that if you spoke to me in the first few weeks of my return, I ached. How could God give me a life I loved with people I loved, so far from the place I originally called home? It was a huge adjustment for me in simply digesting foods, recovering my sleep schedule, learning to stay connected with friends who were eight hours ahead of me, and turning my experiences into lifelong perspectives.

Finding outlets to share my stories with, people to relate to, and just having ears to listen, aided me in processing the extreme shock I felt coming back to such a different environment. I had moments where I simply couldn’t face the pressure in my heart because it was so deep. Some of these moments were caused out of the swimming thoughts in my head while others had were due to options at the grocery store, unruly American commentary, wearing jeans, driving my car, using a washing machine, and remembering the vast privileges my country has. I have found it is important to talk about these realities despite the depressing nature.

Moreover, feelings like pride and acceptance have crept into my heart and soul at the same time. The pride I carry throughout my entire body leads me even further each day. I especially know I am capable of hard things: staying positive despite the negativity our world can bring, having hard conversations, and doing anything under Christs sunshine. When I got back, I kept telling people, “Life is hard right now, but for some reason I’m in good spirits.” My fellowship gave me perspective; perspective of agricultural success, equality and equity, relief versus development, empowerment, and simple kindness and humility. I struggled for a while; and then I found things in my world I could enjoy from the African world I lived in. One of those was Christ. Oh how I loved Ugandan church service every Sunday. As seen from my first fellow blog, I was trapped in awe, security, and amazement upon going to an African church service. I found my inner courage recently and faced finding a U.S. church to attend. Though I am still quite early in developing my faithfulness, I only had the passion to seek this because of the adversity and passion I gained from my fellowship.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Sure, going to a church service once or twice a month doesn’t save me, but it brings me a sense of purpose and service, which I find goes hand in hand with the mission of Field of Hope. This stewardship of cultivating a better humanity drives my current academic and career goals and I look forward to embracing this energy to its core in my life after living in Uganda.

Does that answer your question? Most often when I answer that it takes me to an honest, rambling, daze of a response. Maybe that’s what this blog post is, but in short, my fellowship will shape the rest of my life and has changed me forever.

My adventures after Africa prove to be led with growth and pride, more like a life lined with fields and fields of hope, opportunity, and humility now. I encourage every human to experience an experience like this. If you don’t get to, ask the right questions, and seek your own information about life outside of your bubble. It’s a magical world with so much love and vibrancy. With so much in return from Field of Hope, I can only hope, with a true kind of hope, that you feel this.

By: Sarah McCord, Fellow ’22

 

 

A True Ugandan

“If you’ve spent more than a month in Uganda, then you’re a true Ugandan,” said William, our guide at Sipi Falls. I have officially surpassed William’s 1 month mark, and am onto my sixth week in the country. In my weeks being here, I have traveled, experienced, and learned so many things. From waterfalls in Sipi, the Source of the Nile in Jinja, the best food in Mbarara, and a boat ride on Lake Bunyonyi, my time being in Uganda has been a full immersion  experience.  Though I have had my fair share of tourism experiences, I also think about William’s notion of what encapsulates a Ugandan.

In today’s social and digital age, I find myself only posting pictures of aesthetic, iconic moments; not my daily “life”. Upon writing this, I looked through my camera roll, found nothing that matched such an aesthetic, and felt like I had nothing to share. In reality, I gain something new everyday and have such a full heart of memories to give.

 

For the last two weeks, I have really been making myself at home in Lira. Despite my difference in appearance compared to most residents of Lira, I am beginning to resonate with becoming a true Ugandan. Familiarizing myself with the markets, streets, and familiar faces has made me gain such a residential perspective of life in Africa. There’s something so raw and real about buying everything fresh from the market, seeing friends at church, maintaining our own garden, and going on walks around our neighborhood.

 

To me, Africans and especially Ugandans, embody resilience, strength, and pride in everything they do. While attending church last Sunday with friends at Victory Outreach East, we sang so many songs, calling out to Jesus, “We look to you for love in our country, we do not look to you for riches.” This country asks for love, peace, and contentment, not monetary profit. Though still developing, Uganda has the kindness and strength faded out from many western countries. This is also represented through the symbolism of the nation’s flag: black for the color of its people, yellow for the sunshine, and red for the color of blood the brotherhood shares with the rest of the world. “People from every nation and every tongue from generation to generation,” the Sunday congregation sang. Being a part of such a community gives me more satisfaction and honor to represent Uganda and Christ in everything I do.

 

“For when we have faith in him, we become confident in all circumstances.” 2 Chronicles 16:9.

 

I believe I am already a changed person through my experience in Uganda. Perhaps it’s the difference in the English spoken, or the lack of processed sugar in my food. Nonetheless, I stand taller, I am humbled, and I carry confidence- to me, that’s what being a true Ugandan is. It is embodying the colors of the flag and keeping one foot moving forward at all times, like the crane in the center of the Ugandan flag. Maybe it takes more than a month to gain this, or maybe it just takes the right support system to help cultivate this. I aim to reap more of the energy, confidence, and lifestyle true Ugandans have in the rest of my time amongst them. Here’s to being a Ugandan for one more month!

By Sarah McCord, Fellow ’22

The Art of Storytelling in Qualitative Research: Who gets to share the stories?

The Art of Storytelling in Qualitative Research: Who gets to share the stories?

Telling stories to reveal elements and images of an event is one of the most powerful tools for interactive engagement anywhere. A good story is persuasive and will often elicit a reaction from the reader. Development research embraces the art of storytelling as a way of expressing views in social science and humanities. Originally, this was not the case because the development space was dominated by thoughts on development economics that engaged statistical tools and quantitative methods to show trends. If we are being honest, big organizations love numbers, there is a certain level of predictability to it. But the importance of talking about the people and their experiences often gets lost in the process. Researchers have quickly realized the importance of representing and understanding socio-cultural impacts on the wellbeing of the society, that is why storytelling is crucial.

 

Various authors have embraced storytelling as a form of inciting revolution on any form of injustice, particularly against women. Stories about gender inequality, abuses women suffer, sexual discrimination and many more have come to light because someone was willing to tell the story. Same also, qualitative researchers collect information on perceptions, attitudes, values, and cultures affecting women. These actions have led to transformative events that have led to an awakening for women’s rights to be defended in different ways. But this is not without its own issues. I have come to realize that whoever has the power to tell stories controls the narrative, which forms the basis of how stories can be shared as well as understood. That being the case, you can imagine how critical it is for researchers to emulate the virtues of integrity, transparency, and honesty, to have an accurate depiction of the social issue.

 

I came to this awareness in Uganda while collecting data for my Ph.D. Dissertation. The summary of my research centers on exploring the role of farmer cooperatives in facilitating inclusive agricultural development in Uganda, using the case of the coffee industry. Women occupy the highest labor force in the coffee industry in Uganda, yet they are the most constrained in terms of access to land, extension services, finance and agricultural inputs that limit their productivity. This is often due to patrilineal structures that are advantageous to men in acquiring land. Also, land ownership forms the basis for investments in extension service, inputs, and access to loans. Currently, the government of Uganda is working towards boosting coffee production to 20 million bags by 2030, so my objective is to investigate if the investments being pumped into the coffee industry are accessible to women and if farmer cooperatives serve as a sustainable mechanism to facilitate it.

 

 

I felt a huge burden to represent the stories of these men and women accurately because they trusted me enough to talk to me. I constantly had to be conscious of my own bias and be objective when listening to them. I asked myself a lot of questions to capture the individualism of each group rather than generalize. The issue of reframing and telling stories accurately in bringing awareness to gender issues is important. We all have biases, researcher or not, and biases and prejudices often hinder people from viewing issues objectively. Also, our participants have a voice, no matter how low their voices may seem, but getting to echo their voices through research is a huge responsibility we should carry with utmost respect and integrity. Because story tellers control the narrative, there is a risk of sharing only a single story. As Chimamanda Ngozie Adiche, a Nigerian quintessential writer, says, “the danger of a single story, the one perspective, is that it can lead us to default assumptions, conclusions and decisions that may be incomplete, and may lead to misunderstanding”

Oluwabukola Makinde

Fellow ‘22

 

Reference

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2019). The Danger of a Single Story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Ihs241zeg