4 May 2020

Millennium Fellow Agaba Francis Dunok: Kidsaid Uganda

United Nations Academic Impact and the Millennium Campus Network (MCN) are proud to partner on the Millennium Fellowship, a semester-long leadership development program that helps students design and implement community-level initiatives to promote sustainability and help others in need.

Over 7,000 young leaders on 1,209 campuses across 135 nations applied to join the Millennium Fellowship Class of 2019; 69 campuses worldwide were selected to host the 1,092 Millennium Fellows. The Class of 2019 is bold, innovative, and inclusive. Their work is projected to positively impact the lives of nearly 1 million people worldwide this year.

Agaba Francis Dunok, a Millennium Fellow for the Class of 2019, provided disadvantaged and refugee children of Uganda with the opportunity to obtain primary school education. His Millennium Fellows Project focuses on SDG 4: Quality Education.

Agaba Francis Dunok was born in a refugee camp in South Western Uganda and spent his early years in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement. His parents were survivors of the Rwandan Genocide who fled to Uganda to escape the conflict. Conditions in the camp were extremely difficult for his family, however, even as a young boy Agaba was entrepreneurial. Not only did he escape the refugee camp and create a future for himself, he also created a future for more than 300 refugee children just like him.

Agaba left his life in the refugee camp to work and study at Mary and Paul Primary school. His passion for education and excellent academic performance earned him a scholarship that helped him finish high school and enter Makerere University. Empowered by his own experience, in 2016 Agaba started Kidsaid Uganda, an organization that provides refugee and other disadvantaged children in Uganda with the opportunity to attend primary school.

Agaba met many of these children in the same camp that he grew up in, on the sides of the roads and riverbanks. He secured a partnership with the Kitwe Preparatory School in South Western Uganda, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kidsaid Uganda to work together toward its organizational goals. Agaba pays for the children’s education through seasonal sponsorships and his own personal business of growing trees and selling firewood.

Currently Kidsaid Uganda is providing children with access to primary school education, but as they receive more financial support, the goal is to help refugee children and other disadvantaged children to gain formal education and excel to the university level and beyond.

“In 2016 we started with only 20 kids but today we have helped 349 kids,” said Agaba. “We all know education is the only weapon against underdevelopment. I’m trying to create a generation of refugees who understand why they were displaced and how to survive.”

Along this journey, Kidsaid Uganda has faced numerous challenges including a lack of capacity to support students in reaching higher levels of education and insufficient access to healthcare for many children. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 is the hardest year the organization has faced with kids forced to leave school, which represented home for many of them. Agaba and his organization had to look for host families and cover the associated costs.

Despite the persistent challenges, Agaba and Kidsaid Uganda are doing everything possible to support the students so they can go back to school when the crisis abates.

To learn more about Agaba and support his work, visit his Millennium Fellow page or connect with him on Instagram.