In an impressive example of what it means to be an active citizen, Harriet Adong, PEIFF Mentee - Class of 2017, works with members of her community in Uganda to improve the lives of women and children. For the past five years, Harriet has worked in her post-conflict and patriarchal community promoting women and children’s rights, and contributing to social change and gender equality. An area that has seen social and economic deprivations, including problems with the education of girls and economic empowerment of women who are survivors of gender-based violence following a twenty-year war, Harriet strives towards addressing some of these challenges by leading advocacy programs for change, conducting educational and awareness campaigns, and providing tools to empower female survivors of sexual violence. Harriet also works with children born during and after the war, who often face stigma and discrimination.
Harriet works with the support of team members through the Foundation for Integrated Rural Development (FIRD), a community-based organisation which she leads. Since joining the PEIF Fund as a mentee and a local partner, Harriet has intensified her efforts to support children who have survived conflict, as well as domestic violence in her community. Through the Violence Against Children (VAC) Prevention Centre, Harriet provides counselling, support programs and other critical resources for the children. As a Social Worker, Harriet understands the needs of these children and appreciates their daily struggles. She also advocates against child labour and child neglect, and against physical and sexual abuse of children.
Harriet draws on lessons and support from her mentorship under PEIFF to further improve her leadership of FIRD, to empower young people to engage in social change, to promote gender equality through early education of the girls she works with at the VAC Prevention Centre, and to create a network of active young people in community service. Harriet is currently setting up a career and mentorship program for the FIRD staff, peer educators and youths, to ensure that young people in her community also have access to such programs to enhance their knowledge, attitude, innovation and skills in community service, and to contribute to human development for sustainable development.