Just a year and a half after its inception on the floor of a hotel room in Arlington, VA, EDGE Project (Empowerment through Development and Gender Equality) has finally come to fruition. After nearly a year of extensive planning and coordinating, EDGE is launching its inaugural community development project in Lingira, Uganda, an isolated island community of 1300 in Lake Victoria.
EDGE was co-founded by three University of Wisconsin undergrads, including myself and fellow Bobber Marissa Mommaerts, in order to create a platform for UW students to engage in issues of sustainable international development, project management, leadership, and the realities of life in developing nations by connecting them with the resources necessary to research, create, and implement small-scale community development projects.
After a semester of intense research and project creation, EDGE has finally narrowed down its plans for Lingira. Among this summer’s projects are bio pit latrines to improve the lack of basic sanitation on the island as well as an educational program targeted at girls susceptible to trafficking and prostitution, ESL programs, cultural studies, a rocket stove, and HIV/AIDS education.
However, the organization’s ambitions have expanded and the summer projects are not the only thing looming on the horizon. EDGE is currently in the process of incorporating and hopes to become a formal nonprofit organization within a year and a half. As such, my role within EDGE has been laying the groundwork on that front. I am currently in Washington, DC as the Global Development Policy Intern for a legislative advocacy NGO known as Women Thrive Worldwide and am simultaneously meeting with several people to create the connections necessary for our pending nonprofit.
Among our most exciting achievements, aside from the summer projects themselves, is that EDGE will be participating in the Civil Society component of the AGOA Forum in Kenya at the beginning of August. There, we will network with government agencies, and organizations in both the private and public sectors to secure funds and establish networks for the next phases of our organization.
You can follow the latest goings on with EDGE on our blog.
Hope you all are having a great summer! See you back in Madison!
– Farha Tahir, 2nd year MIPA