University of Pittsburgh
September 19, 2013

Ugandan Community Leader Victoria Nalongo Namusisi to Lecture at Pitt

Students will hold fundraisers for Namusisi’s Bright Kids Uganda children’s home
Contact:  412-624-4147


PITTSBURGH—Victoria Nalongo Namusisi, a fisherman’s daughter who has become a leader in Uganda through her roles as a journalist, government official, and founder of the children’s home Bright Kids Uganda, will visit the University of Pittsburgh as a speaker for the University’s Ford Institute for Human Security.

Namusisi’s lecture “Conflict in Northern Uganda” will be presented at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 20 in Room 4130 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland. Namusisi is the founder and director of Bright Kids Uganda, a children’s home in the city of Entebbe that she established in 2000. Bright Kids Uganda works to provide food, shelter, and educational opportunities to more than 60 children affected by poverty, the HIV epidemic, and violent conflicts in northern Uganda. 

In concert with Namusisi’s visit, the student-led Pitt charitable organization Purposeful Penny will host a 5K run on Sept. 22 to raise funds for Bright Kids Uganda. In addition, Purposeful Penny members have organized a fundraiser on Oct. 1 at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, 1810 Settler's Ridge Center Dr., Robinson Township. A portion of that day’s restaurant sales will go to Bright Kids Uganda. Purposeful Penny has donated more than $5,400 to Bright Kids Uganda in recent years.

The partnership between Bright Kids Uganda and Pitt’s Ford Institute has deepened the institute’s connections with other organizations in Uganda. “We’re linking activities out there with fundraising here,” said Louis Picard, director of Pitt’s Ford Institute for Human Security, a board member of Bright Kids Uganda, and Pitt professor of public and international affairs. “In the process, we’re developing professional links that go beyond the classroom.”

This year marks the fourth year that students from the University’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs—where Pitt’s Ford Institute is housed—have traveled to Uganda for summer internships. This summer, three students completed more than 300 hours of work each, participating in projects ranging from the implementation of microcredit in small communities to the assessment of a local health clinic.

Before founding Bright Kids Uganda, Namusisi worked as a presidential and parliamentary reporter in Uganda until 1991, when the Ugandan president appointed her resident district commissioner. She later became head of administration and logistics with the president’s office and worked in war-torn northern Uganda, helping with reconciliation and reconstruction after the devastation caused by the insurgency of the Lord’s Resistance Army terrorist group. While visiting internally displaced peoples camps there, she was inspired to open a children’s home to help ensure that the next generation of Ugandans were productive members of society. 

As part of Namusisi’s visit to Pittsburgh for her lecture at Pitt, she will continue working on a documentary film about Bright Kids Uganda. The documentary, being produced and directed by Dormont, Pa.-filmmaker Leonard Lies, has been filmed over several years, including during Namusisi’s visit to Pitt in 2012. 

The Ford Institute for Human Security is part of Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. It is dedicated to advancing the study and practice of human security by conducting policy-oriented academic research, providing resources on human security to a broad audience, and reaching out to a network of scholars and organizations engaged in human security work.