WHO? DMP is a partnership between students and community members in the campus group Invisible Conflicts (IC) at Loyola University in Chicago, USA, and students and their families in Lacor, Uganda. There is a Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and a Guardians Association in Uganda who facilitate the community based organization in Lacor.
WHAT? Recognizing that all children have a right to the benefits of a good education, Invisible Conflicts raises about $17,000 a year to fund the education of seventeen students from vulnerable backgrounds. We pay for tuition and school supplies for each student through secondary school at multiple boarding and day schools in northern and central Uganda.
WHEN? The Dwon Madiki Partnership began in 2005, when community member Caroline Akweyo contacted IC group members at an Invisible Children screening and challenged the students to get more involved. She connected the IC members to her family in Lacor and since then the group has cultivated a year-round working relationship with the families, students and the DMP office manager Paul.
WHERE? Lacor is a town in northern Uganda, about 15 minutes away from the city of Gulu, a trading and transportation hub of northern Uganda. It is a predominately rural town, with a regional hospital and many small businesses. The countryside is beautiful, although many farmers in the region feel the effects of drought and climate change. Lacor was the epicenter of a conflict between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army, which began in 1986 and roughly ended in 2006.
HOW? IC members raise all of the money through benefit concerts, campus events and individual donations. The biggest fundraiser is the IC Plunge, a polar plunge event the first weekend in December where students fund-raise and jump in lake Michigan!
In efforts to make the organization more sustainable and further development within the community of Lacor, DMP is currently pursuing an income generating agricultural project on an already purchased plot of land.
One of the unique aspects of this group is that many students from the US have been able to visit Lacor and meet with the students, families and community members. Personal relationships are really important to the success of DMP. Trip participants share meals, attend community meetings, visit the kids in their schools and spend time with their families. Through these summer trips students form lasting friendships that are the foundation of the Dwan Madiki Partnership, and the future of the two communities in Chicago and Lacor.