Washarika focuses our energy in four core areas: small scale farmer policy advocacy complemented by well-designed, locally relevant grassroots community building projects, Youth Programs that draw on our cross-cultural training and global network through SIT Study Abroad, a Montessori Pre-school through which we are connecting with and serving our neighborhood community in Muyenga-Bukasa and beyond, and a Consultancy Unit that is well equipped to carryout grounded farming systems research. We are taking steps to assemble the finest teams around these four core areas.
While Washarika represents our deeply held social justice values, its immediate impetus were the obvious insufficient scope of projects meant to alleviate the plight of small scale farmers, by what we see as insufficient youth engagement and youth career development, by our collective struggles around research ethics—the extractive nature of many research endeavors, the absence of feedback and weak accountability towards research subjects.
We are exploring various community building projects with farmers in rural eastern Uganda who are keen on revitalizing their coffee farms and other community building projects. We are ensuring that all our operations at Washarika Montessori School are responsive to local community desires to the full extent that they can be. We are assembling a research team for our Research, Training & Consultancy unit whose core values overlap with ours. Together with Anirudh Krishna, Edgar T. Thompson Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, we are reactivating our research teams from the 2004 Stage of Progress Methodology research project and reviewing that data as we make plans to launch a follow-up deeper comparative research project using the same methodology.
In this second round of the Stages of Progress Methodology research we are ensuring that our research communities and their respective district development officers are our true partners and that they shape the focus of the research so that it feeds into their own work. We want to bridge the gap between research, policy and rural livelihood struggles and, to trigger a debate around interesting but pertinent questions concerning agrarian livelihoods.
This is only but a brief synopsis of what we anticipate will be a long, enjoyable and productive career in research, youth programing, and community building in Uganda and beyond. We hope that in the following pages you will obtain a deeper understanding of our essence and aspirations. We encourage you to send us questions, comments and suggestions through our Contact Us platform, and to visit us at any of our locations.
Daniel Lumonya, PhD