Breaking Barriers, Building Futures

Vincent Abura’s Quest for Change in
Uganda’s Karamoja

In the vast expanse of Uganda’s Karamoja region where a resilient but historically marginalized group faces challenges of conflict, poverty, and limited access to resources, Vincent Abura dedicates himself to empowering communities to shape a brighter future. Since his graduation from Future Generations in 2017, Vincent’s journey has been one of unwavering commitment and tireless advocacy with an appreciable mark on Karamoja’s development landscape.
“ The Master’s degree has transformed my thinking on the community. My thinking now is more of listening to communities, analyzing their situations with them and drawing options for responses with them. ”
Vincent’s latest endeavor finds him at Gulu University Constituent College. He coordinates sitework and engages in collaborative initiatives that influence policies and practices across local, regional, and national levels.
One recent milestone in Vincent’s career was his inclusion as researcher in a USAID project focusing on indigenous communities and combating human trafficking. This initiative elevates voices of indigenous peoples and mitigates the scourge of child trafficking. With two pilot projects recently concluded with plans for expansion, Vincent remains at the forefront, working closely with local leaders and trafficking victims to chart a course toward a safer and more equitable future.

Vincent’s tenure with Save the Children spanned eight impactful years during which he honed skills in project management, development, and research. His focus on the Karamoja region has yielded tangible results, with practical interventions aimed at reducing child trafficking and promoting education. Through Vincent’s efforts, the community witnessed remarkable progress in non-formal education with children now transitioning into formal schooling and pursuing higher education. The literacy rate, once languishing below 6%, has seen significant improvement – paving the way for a new generation of empowered individuals.

Central to Vincent’s approach is community engagement and empowerment.

By fostering partnerships with local leaders and establishing child protection units, he has given voice to the voiceless. These leaders, intimately involved in both research and implementation, serve as catalysts for change, driving progress from within.

Beyond the confines of theory and academia, Vincent says his journey with Future Generations University transcends mere academic pursuits. It’s a hands-on commitment, an immersion into the very fabric of community life—a living, breathing laboratory of resilience and empowerment. Beyond engagement, it’s a testament to respect and unwavering dedication, where the classroom extends into the heart of the community, shaping realities and forging futures.
Looking ahead, Vincent’s vision remains steadfast: to increase access to education and unlock the full potential of his community. Through collaboration, innovation, and unwavering determination, Vincent Abura continues to inspire hope and transform lives in Karamoja and beyond. As the dawn of a new era beckons, Vincent builds a legacy of passion and perseverance to shape a brighter tomorrow.

Future Generations University is committed to empowering local people by giving them a voice and visibility. This is exactly what alumnus Vincent Abura is doing in his job at Gulu University in Uganda. As a sociologist in the University’s Research Team, Vincent is working with the Ik and Tepeth indigenous people in the mountainous area of Karamoja, helping to ensure their rights and that they have a voice for their future.

One of the innovations of the Future Generations pedagogy is the Community Lab, requiring students to engage in their community in each course. Vincent said, “The Community Lab as one of the study modes of the MA, pragmatically transformed my skills of interacting with community members in the current research that I am involved with at the University.” Students don’t wait until they are done with the degree to apply what they learn; rather they immediately put into practice the skills and knowledge gained. In Vincent’s case, he was able to study the non-formal education program of nomadic children in the Karamoja area during the course of his degree, providing him with skills he is currently using in his job.
Vincent conducting research interviews in Karion, Kaabong District.

In a world of constantly changing realities, it is critical that we all learn to think and problem solve in whatever context we find ourselves in, and change the way in which we learn in and with our community.

When asked how this degree has transformed his thinking in this regard, Vincent replies, “ I just don’t take the face value of an issue before me as it is, but I give a thorough analysis through probing from different angles, drawing alternatives and options for solutions.”

Vincent graduated from Future Generations University with a Master’s degree in Applied Community Development in October 2017, at commencement held in the Philippines. His classmates consisted of community development professionals from Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, and the United States. They supported each other throughout the two years of graduate study, as they each balanced full-time work, course work, and family responsibilities.

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