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The Power Of Collective Action, Our Journey As Community Activists.

The Power of Collective Action, Our Journey as Community Activists.

Once upon a time, in the early start of 2020, in an outcast slum of Kalerwe, a Kampala suburb, I met a passionate and determined brother, Dean Walusimbi, (who is co-founder and Programs Lead, of Outcast Activists Forum Uganda). From an early age, Dean was deeply concerned about the issues facing a community he grew up in, similar to my own setting in the far north of Uganda, Oyam, Loro. Such as poverty, lack of education, and environmental degradation. Inspired by the desire to bring about positive change, Dean and I decided to become community activists to use our voices to advocate, mobilize, and cause actions geared toward community transformation.

The journey of a community activist is never an easy one, and we faced numerous challenges along the way. However, our unwavering determination and belief in the power of collective action kept us going. Dean and I started by co-founding Oucast Activists Forum, a grassroots youth-led local organization, where we used our voices to advocate the community social issues on our website, and social media platforms, helping with basic items (Food, clothes, sanitary towels, scholastic materials) drives, educational programs (Covid-19 & Early Childhood Development), Resilience and Response programs during the Pandemic trying times and recently fronting Digital Equity and skilling initiatives at the heart of our communities we serve, with our main vision of “amplifying voices, and enriching our communities”

Over time, we gained the trust and support of community members, activists, and advocates across the world. We began organizing community meetings, bringing people together to discuss their concerns and brainstorm solutions. The key to our success was the ability to listen and empathize with everyone’s experiences, ensuring that all voices were heard and creating a good relationship with local actors, networking with local stakeholders.

As the years passed, our activism extended beyond Kalerwe. OAF collaborated with neighboring communities and formed partnerships with regional NGOs and key players. Our dedication to uplifting the lives of others earned recognition, and people from various walks of life began to join our cause.

One of the pivotal moments in our journey as community activists was when we spearheaded The Juzza Lorry Campaign Initiative to improve local education and access to good hygiene and health care. We believed that education is the foundation for a brighter future and decided to renovate the local school, equip it with better resources, and offer scholarships to deserving students. The initiative brought hope to many families and motivated children to pursue their dreams as it turned into an annual campaign, running over 3 consecutive campaigns and the 4th underway. Juzzy Lorry has impacted over 2000 lives.

In the face of adversity, We remained steadfast. We encountered funding challenges, office space and equipment, volunteer welfare, and the internet but instead, we used our challenges as fuel to further our determination. We understood that organizational growth takes time, so we persisted with patience and perseverance.

Through social media, we amplified our messages and connected with a wider audience. People from different parts of the country and even internationally were inspired by our story and the impact we were making. The power of social media transformed our local activism into a global movement.

As the years rolled by, our efforts bore fruit. More single mothers had access to household and sanitary towels access, more children had access to education, and community youths’ mindsets were changed, we inspired so many young people to take the lead in their own community developments, with mentorships of many who now are thriving in their works. Our community activism touched countless lives and left an indelible mark on the hearts of all those we served and encountered.

Though the journey has been long and challenging, our story serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration to others, our commitment to the betterment of our society reminds us that even one individual’s actions can spark a ripple effect that transforms communities and changes lives.

To this day, we continue with our advocacy, never resting on our laurels, always seeking new ways to uplift the world around us. Our journey as community activists is a testament to the power of passion, empathy, and collective action – a story that will be cherished for generations to come.

Joshua Okino
Co-founder, and Executive Director
Outcast Activists Forum (OAF) Uganda

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