Friday, October 21, 2011

Ahabwe Michael - Guest of Honor!

Tune in to WBEZ's Worldview, to listen to Ahabwe Michael, Founder of ICOD ActionNetwork, Project FOCUS’s partner organization in Uganda, discuss issues of food security and sustainable agriculture in the rural community of Lyantonde. He will also touch on how the recently established Lyantonde Internet Center can assist local farmers in advancing their practices!

During his stay in the United States Ahabwe spent four

weeks with Growing

Power in Milwaukee as a food security-fellow. He worked side-by-side with

the Growing Power staff to explore sustainable farming practices, gain hands-on experience in setting up extensive community food systems, and examined challenges pertaining to food security. Fortunately, he was able to sneak away and spend a few days with us here in Chicago, where he was invited to be a guest speaker at the Jane Addams Hull House

Museum as well

as on

Worldview with host Jerome McDonnell.

You can listen to the interview on-line here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

You're Invited!

Ahabwe Michael, founder of ICOD Action Network, our local partner in Lyantonde, Uganda, will be visiting us here in Chicago!

While here, Michael will be an honored guest speaker at the Jane Addams Hull House food activism series, Re-Thinking Soup. His presentation will include thoughts on how rural African communities can be a leading source of the world’s health food supplies if respective governments make technical and policy adjustments. He will also discuss the importance of access to healthy and sustainable foods in rural communities, as well as ICOD Action Network's use of the Lyantonde Internet Center to promote agriculture information and training within the Lyantonde community.

Please join us for this thought-provoking presentation and a delicious bowl of soup!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011@ 12:00-1:00pm
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
The University of Illinois at Chicago
800 S. Halsted Chicago, IL 60607

Also, Ahabwe Michael has been invited to speak on Worldview with Jerome McDonnell to discuss the continued progress and challenges with the Lyantonde Internet Center.

Stay tuned for the date and time of the WBEZ broadcast!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Community Art, Community Growth

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our table at the Global Activism Expo!

Below are some photos of the Community Art Mural from the event. We were painting Jane, a farmer from Kywanula village in Southwestern Uganda. She has been an active partner of Project FOCUS from the beginning.

Jane, as a leader in her community, was featured in the Portraits of Resilience art project in 2007. More recently, she participated in a permaculture workshop hosted by Project FOCUS and ICOD Action Network to learn sustainable farming techniques to improve her yields and the health of her crops.

Jane is also training to use the Internet and communication technologies at the Lyantonde Internet Center. The internet center allows rural villagers like Jane access to weather predictions and market information for their products.


If you took home seeds to plant, we would love to see how your Sugar Snap Peas
are doing! Send a photo of your growing plant and any other information you would like to share to We will post the photos here on our blog and our facebook page to share with with Project FOCUS community in the U.S. and Uganda.

If you were not there but would still like to participate, let us know!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

ICT and Permaculture Training in Lyantonde

With your help, the Lyantonde Internet Center opened its doors in June 2010, providing people with access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) previously unavailable in the area.

Individuals now have access to the Internet for personal and professional use, but the benefits of the Center extend beyond individual use. ICOD Action Network and Project FOCUS have partnered to provide capacity-building training on a community level through the Center. Thus far, over 60 people have been trained in ICT, nearly 70% of whom are women.

In addition to ICT training, Project FOCUS and ICOD Action Network have also partnered to implement a 1 week long Permaculture workshop for local farmers in the rural community. 137 farmers, over 80% women, participated in the Permaculture skills workshop.

Our partnership will continue to serve the general population of the Lyantonde region, with an emphasis on developing practical skills, especially for women.

One Permaculture training participant, Nalukwago Fatuma, shared her experience with us: "Before March this year, none of us here in Lyantonde knew about permaculture... Throughout this course, I was introduced to many new things that are very important for our daily lives like planting a food forest and embracing nature so as to sustain ourselves and the future generations. I now believe that our standards of living can only be achieved if we only embrace nature and preserve it."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Global Activism Expo 2011

Reconnect with your favorite organization at the Global Activism Expo hosted by Chicago Public Radio on Saturday, April 30, 2011. After being interviewed by Jerome McDonnell, host of WBEZ’s Worldview, about the Lyantonde Internet Center, we’ve been invited to display our work at this international celebration of social activism. Complete with food, music and over 100 Chicago-area Global Activists we promise it will be worth your while!

Say hello to Project FOCUS at our booth, get updated on the Internet Center in Uganda, talk to us about our upcoming Permaculture projects, participate in our community art mural, and pick up some seeds to plant in your garden!

The Global Activism Expo is also an incredible opportunity to meet similarly-minded organizations, representing work in over 40 countries with efforts ranging from buying cows for Kenyan families, sending bicycles to Latin America, providing medical services in Haiti, and so much more!

In case you missed it in February, listen to Project FOCUS' interview on Chicago Public Radio here.

Details of the Expo:

What: Global Activism Expo hosted by Chicago Public Radio
When: Saturday, April 30 · 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Where: UIC Forum 725 W Roosevelt Rd. Chicago, IL 60607
Cost: FREE Admission

RSVP for this event on facebook.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Permaculture in Uganda

Permaculture is a conscious integrated design system based on ecological principles that create resource efficient and productive human environments.

In partnership with Project FOCUS, ICOD Action Network recently facilitated a Permaculture Design Course with over 80 farmers in Lyantonde, Uganda. The course focused on sustainability, and drew on local knowledge and materials to address agricultural challenges. In Ahabwe Michael's second video blog, he takes us through the course and shares the farmers' experiences with us.

For more information on Permaculture, visit True Nature Designs.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

2010 - A Year to be Proud Of!

Project FOCUS started 2010 with our biggest goal ever: to build an Internet Center in Lyantonde, Uganda. Last year, you played a pivotal role in making this goal a reality. Please click here to view our 2010 Annual Report.

In 2010...

Our community contributed over
$28,000 to fund the building of the Internet Center in Lyantonde.

We established a partnership with the Lyantonde community-based organization, ICOD Action Network.

We form
ed relationships with six different schools around Chicago who raised funds to "adopt" computers for the new Internet Center.

We opened the first Internet Center in Lyantonde, Uganda with more 3,000 visits from community members since its

We organized five agricultural groups in rural villages surrounding Lyantonde to create a system of information sharing and skill building, and the center has partnered with female trainees from the village agricultural co-ops to provide ICT training.

We would like to thank all of you who have been involved with Project FOCUS; without you, our accomplishments this year would have never been possible. Whether you have invested your time, your talents, your ideas, or your hard earned money, we are deeply grateful for your support.

If you have trouble viewing the annual report, please copy and paste the following link into your browser:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Project FOCUS on Chicago Public Radio's Worldview 2011

Last year, Project FOCUS was featured on Chicago Public Radio's Worldview with Jerome McDonnell. PF Member Grant Buhr spoke about about the history of Project FOCUS, our philosophies, and the early stages of our first development project, the Lyantonde Internet Center.

Now the Internet Center is up and running, and Grant was invited back on Worldview's Global Activism Series to speak about both the
successes and the struggles encountered while developing the Center in southwestern Uganda.

If you missed it live, you can still listen to it here via WBEZ online.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Remembering David Kato

On January 26, 2011, Ugandan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) activist David Kato was brutally murdered in his home. Just a few months ago, a Ugandan newspaper published Mr. Kato’s and other gay Ugandans’ names and pictures, alongside the message “Hang them”.

As local and global allies to the Ugandan LGBTI movement, Project FOCUS and our Ugandan partnering organization ICOD Action Network are standing with Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), and other international organizations to publicly condemn this tragedy, and to call upon the Ugandan Government to protect sexual minorities in Uganda.

We call upon the government of Uganda to carry out a full and fair investigation into David’s murder, prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law, and ensure that members of Uganda’s LGBTI community have adequate protection from violence, starting by eliminating consideration of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Please join us in taking action:
  1. Donate to SMUG here or contact for a pledge form
  2. Inform SMUG of your action around David Kato’s murder:
  3. Urge the Ugandan Government to take the following steps:
    1. Publicly condemn David’s murder
    2. Carry out a full investigation into David’s murder
    3. Communicate with LGBTI leaders throughout the investigation
    4. Ensure that members of Uganda’s LGBTI community have adequate protection from violence
    5. Eliminate any possibility of consideration or passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
  4. Contact your own government authorities and urge them to communicate these concerns to the Ugandan authorities in direct and private advocacy.
  5. Sign petitions to tell American Evangelicals to Condemn David Kato’s murder and the Ugandan Government to back off anti-gay legislation.

Ugandan Government Contact:
President of The Republic of Uganda H.E. Yoweri Museveni
Parliament Building
PO Box 7168 Kampala, Uganda
Salutation: Your Excellency

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
Frank Mugisha on NPR’s Worldview
Ice Breakers Uganda (LGBTI Support Organization)
BBC: Uganda Fear Over Gay Death-Penalty Plans
NYTimes: Remembering David Kato
Reuters: Scuffles at funeral of Uganda gay activist