Getting Started

I arrived last Tuesday night to a city bursting with schoolchildren singing at the top of their lungs, motorcycle taxis called bodas that zip through traffic with their passengers perched precariously on the back, and swarms of pedestrians kicking up billowing clouds of red dust. Kampala is complex to say the least—pristine NGO office buildings stand across the street from collapsing slums. It’s full of paved and dirt roads alike, and a vibrant people who will sing their church hymns so loudly early on Sunday mornings that it’s impossible to sleep.

During my first week, my work has consisted of connecting with different organizations around Kampala, trying to piece together information on how stakeholders in the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement interact. My advisor, Professor Ickes, was in Kampala for a few days before leaving to do nutrition research in Bundibugyo, in the western-most region of Uganda. We met with nutrition experts from Makerere University School of Public Health, the World Health Organization, the National Planning Authority, and the World Food Program. These meetings provided helpful feedback on the needs of these organizations and helped to narrow down my scope of work. My first objective will be to install GIS software and conduct trainings on geocoding methodology and GIS visualizations—there’s already a great deal of interest in this from Makerere School of Public Health and the WFP’s mapping unit. There is a great deal of excitement among those I’ve met with about the potential of GIS visualizations to supplement their reports and policy recommendations. My second objective is to support the SUN movement’s stakeholder mapping, or in other words, a compilation of information on who is doing what, where, and at what scale in nutrition across Uganda. Ideally, I would be able to utilize AidData’s geocoding methodology to facilitate this analysis. For now, I’m going to meet with people from UNICEF, Ministry of Health, and Renewed Effort Against Child Hunger (REACH) to research and plan how I can accomplish that objective.




Professor Ickes and me with Dr. Geoffrey Bisoborwa, a country advisor for Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition from the World Health Organization.


-Emily Mahoney




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