Creating a Common Experience: Our goal is to create an open dialogue between people of two seemingly different worlds and break through cultural barriers by exposing audiences to common elements of our human experience.
Building Relationships: Quality relationships are a both a means to sustainable development and an end itself. By using art as a medium of communication and education, we work towards developing personal and institutional relationships among communities within the US, Uganda, and between the two countries. Quality relationships require time to develop. Therefore, we are committed to a long-term and active presence in the communities in which we work.
Quality Over Quantity: Project FOCUS places value on individuals, instead of focusing on numbers and statistics. We have learned that the most meaningful change comes from dedicating more emphasis to the process than to the end results. We choose not to grow in quantity if it conflicts with growing in quality.
Responsible Donorship: We demand a lot from the organizations we choose to work with, but most importantly, we demand a lot from ourselves. As we expect an honest dialogue about projects, intentions and finances within our own organization, we expect the same from our partners. It is both the responsibility of the organization and the donor to ensure accountability.
Responsible Media: Project FOCUS values the strengths of individuals, families, and communities. We believe that life is complex and delicate. To misrepresent such a concept is irresponsible and unethical. It is not our intention to show the poorest of the poor, or the sickest of the sick in an attempt to guilt an audience into action.Rather, in the hopes of inspiring others, we seek to be as accurate as possible when sharing the intimate stories of real people.
Sustainable Development: Sustainable development begins and ends with the community. All projects undertaken by Project FOCUS are initiated, implemented, and sustained by the local community in Uganda. Project FOCUS serves as a facilitator - connecting assets with needs, introducing partnerships, and mediating an exchange of ideas.
Empower participants by giving a voice to their personal narratives, teach valuable skills to participants that participatns can use in the future, and facilitate callaboration between project focus members and the community.
Portray complex social issues through a personal and intimate lens, educate, and inspire audiences to generate resources, for the community development projects.
Create sustainable change to address the tangible needs of the community previously identified by project participants, local community members, leaders and activists.
This fall, our local partner ICOD Action Network hosted an essay competition for Ugandan students in secondary school. The essay competition was entitled "ICT a powerful tool," with the objective of assessing students' understanding of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and increasing the adoption of ICT among younger users. Three winners from the competition were awarded "back to school" packages including mattresses, school books, and other supplies. This year's winners, selected by an independent committee of Ugandan school teachers, are Agnes Komujuni, John Baptist Ssenkyai, and Bernard Byakatonda.
Here's a few excepts from the winning essays, organized by topic.
ICT in Schools
"[ICT] can be a catalyst by providing tools which teachers use to improve teaching and by giving learners access to electronic media that make concepts clearer and more accessible."
-Agnes Komujuni, St. Gonzaga SSS
ICT in Homes
"In homes, [ICT] has enabled many people to benefit by playing computer games, listening to music, watching the latest videos, retouch a photograph, and then provides leisure activities to many people that enables individuals to relax for proper working during the next day, thus promoting development."
-John Baptist Ssenkayi, St. Gonzaga SSS
ICT in Businesses
"Economically, ICT promotes trade. Goods can be sold and bought online thus reducing the risks involved as well as saving time."
-Bernard Byakatonda, Ian College S5
Click here for more information.
One of Global Giving's corporate partners, Ericsson, has selected Project FOCUS' internet cafe in Lyantonde, Uganda as one of six projects that they are promoting as part of their Technology for Good giving campaign!
To view our project on Global Giving, click here.
Grant Buhr, will speak with host Jerome McDonnell on the weekly Global Activism series about the history of Project FOCUS, our philosophies, and our current development project - a solar-powered Internet cafe in Southwestern Uganda.
Listen to the interview online here
Nathaniel Whittemore - editor of the Social Entrepreneurship blog on Change.org- pens some accolades to the PF process, while reminding us and all social entrepreneurs of the importance of balance when considering scale and personal relationships.
Read the full blog here.
We're teaming up with high school students at Morgan Park Academy and members of the Just Because Initiate to host a concert and art exhibition to support the Lyantonde Internet Cafe. Both Project FOCUS and MPA are looking forward to a long-term collaboration between the students in Chicago and Lyantonde once the Internet Cafe is up and running. The dates/time/location will be announced soon!
Project Focus began as a student group at University of Illinois at Chicago, is returning to its roots. Students at DePaul University and UIC are working together on a college campaign to raise awareness and capital for a solar-powered, income-generating internet cafe in Lyantonde. By collaborating with student organizations from diverse causes we hope to rally people together over our common goal to use art and creativity as a tool for development and positive social change. We are excited about the new energy and enthusiasm as we take on the campaign!
Welcome to the new Project FOCUS website! After many months of hard work from Project FOCUS members and volunteers Dave Chathas (graphic designer) and Beau Smithback (web developer), we're ready to unveil the new www.projectfocus.org. As PF has expanded over the past 3 years, we have also outgrown our previous website. The original site was created for PF's first exhibition in early 2007. Since that exhibition, Project FOCUS has grown in many ways. Look around and enjoy some of our new content and features. We hope you enjoy the new face of Project FOCUS!