Thanks to a summer internship and the writing skills of Lindsay Angelo, (MPA’15), a research assistant with the Ford Institute for Human Security, Bright Kids Uganda (BKU) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Diehl Family Foundation. The grant will be used as “seed money” to fund new programs designed to help Bright Kids become financially self-sustainable.
“The idea is that rather than just having an NGO or nonprofit ask for money, you provide organizations with funds for income generation activities,” explained Lou Picard, director of the Ford Institute. “In Uganda, we are working on projects that will hopefully produce revenue to support Bright Kids.”
Bright Kids is a non-governmental organization that helps meet the educational and housing needs of abandoned children in the Nalugala Village of the Katabi region in Uganda. The Ford Institute partners with organizations like Bright Kids to provide GSPIA students with hands-on experience outside the classroom.
As part of her internship with Bright Kids, Angelo spent the summer working with the children, as well as writing a grant proposal that focused on revamping programs for submission to the Social Enterprise Competition sponsored by the Diehl Family Foundation. “I received a very holistic experience,” explained Angelo about the project. “I learned grant writing, business analysis on a multicultural level, and the importance of stakeholder input and communication.”
Her proposal focused on creating a business plan to generate income through four of Bright Kids Uganda projects: Poultry, Agricultural/Animal Husbandry Sustainability, Educational and Volunteer Tourism, and a Mini-Supermarket. “It was a difficult project with lows and highs, sometimes each day, but the process was good for me and for BKU,” noted Angelo. “And now that they have this investment, it revamps them to a whole new level of sustainability.”
According to Picard, “Opportunities like Bright Kids Uganda are important because they provide graduate students with the valuable experience of working in the field. Whether it’s here in Pittsburgh, Uganda, India, Cambodia, or Bolivia, getting students out of the university and out of the classroom into the field is important – that’s what an internship is all about.”
Dr. Picard expressed his pride in Angelo’s work, “Nothing spells success like getting a big grant like this.” The funded program will last between twelve to eighteen months and the Ford Institute will likely facilitate additional internships to BKU, which will lead to more hands-on opportunities for students.
The DeVoe L. Moore Center of Florida State University managed the competition. The selection committee was charged with identifying promising and innovative proposals that were well-researched, planned, detailed, manageable by people on the ground and financially sustainable in the U.S. and abroad.
When asked about her role in the process, Angelo replied: “When all is said and done, this whole project, from the beginning, was to support these kids.”