2030 Leaders: A Ugandan trip of a lifetime

150 150 The Hunger Project Australia

Taking part in 2030 Leaders has been a very enriching process, both personally and professionally. 

It is an experience I will remember for the remainder of my life.

Over the course of our week in Uganda, we moved from place to place, visiting The Hunger Project’s Epicentres at various stages of sustainability. I’m sure most of our group would agree that it was an emotional rollercoaster; confrontational, challenging, inspirational and raw.

We laughed and played with the children who were fascinated by us and all the strange contraptions we brought into their villages, and were heartbroken by the stories of pain, struggle and loss.

We were motivated by how far the communities had come because of their partnership with investors like you. They had initiative and creativity, yet were realistic about the road ahead.

We observed how quickly things can change when people are united and how slowly things move when they’re not. 

There was beauty, chaos, scepticism and hope and as many similarities as there were differences between our cultures to uncover.

Strange as it may seem, one of the most memorable aspects of the program – for me at least – was time spent on the minibus. From its windows, we observed life in Uganda.A young mother walking elegantly along the roadside balancing a sack of grain on her head as she sang to the numerous children wrapped to her body. Three boys taking turns to jump off a drain pipe into a lake below and an elderly woman sweeping the ground outside a well-kept home made of mud. 

On that minibus, we connected with each other, shared meals, voiced our responses, listened to stories of Africa that have been passed down through generations, sung terribly and laughed A LOT. It was our transport and a place we could untangle all the experiences and lessons we were learning along the way.

Fast forward a few months since returning from the trip and it has taken some time to really understand what I learned from the experience in Uganda; the place, the people and the program. There was so much to consider coming home and a lot to digest whilst readjusting to everyday life in Australia.

The overriding lesson for me was that we as individuals are the most capable change agents in our own lives and that sustainable change starts in the mind. To effect change in a family, a community, an organisation – even an entire country – we must start with the individuals. The message is universally applicable.

To me, this is the core message of The Hunger Project and the foundation of its effectiveness across the globe. It’s the message that is saving hundreds of thousands of lives and the same message that can transform my life, your life and the community around us. For me, it’s a message that will shape my life forever and an understanding gained through experience that I’m sincerely grateful for.

Fiona Dickson – 2030 Leaders participant, 2017