Tête-à-tête with James Kassaga Årinaitwe

SF+Acumen, recently, had the opportunity to virtually connect with James Kassaga Årinaitwe, an Acumen Global Fellow; for the year 2015. We wanted to know about his journey with Acumen, his motivation and his story behind his decision to become a Global Fellow, and travel to India for his stint. We captured that in a Q&A format, straight from the horse’s mouth

What was your motivation behind behind becoming a Fellow for Acumen?

The reason I applied to be a global fellow with Acumen was to join a network of leaders who not only support each other to achieve their outsized dreams of a more just world, but are also dedicated to see a world beyond poverty. As someone who had dreams of creating a social enterprise that would one day address the systemic injustices and education inequities in my mother nation of Uganda, the Acumen Global Fellows Program provided that platform.

What were you doing before becoming a Fellow?

Before Acumen I was a School Partnerships Manager at Educate! in Uganda, where I had helped scale our leadership and entrepreneurship training program from 50 to 300 high schools across Uganda impacting over 10,000 youth through learning how to create and sustain their own enterprises.

What’s the thing that made you smile the most this past year in the Acumen world?

Having a group of Acumen India regional fellows ( Sanjukta Das, Prerak Mehta) and Global Fellow Henry Chim graciously devoting their time and sacrifice to helping me bring my idea and vision of Teach For Uganda to fruition. Please see the full article here on Medium about this journey

What do you like the most about what you’re doing?

The fact that I’m working on the dream of my life is scary and exhilarating at the same time. Teach For Uganda is bigger than me, than anything I’ve ever dreamed. My hope is that it will would out leave many generations in Uganda as well. I’ve heard it said, that “If your dreams don’t scare you that aren’t big enough.” The fact that someone like me, who lost everything in my childhood, I get to work on creating a leadership program that when successful has potential of not only redefining but also transform Uganda’s education and leadership landscape, by affording equal opportunities to all Ugandan children ability to attain a high quality education that enables them to have long life opportunities, is beyond what I could have imagined.

Anything that you’d like to share that allow the readers to know more about you and/or get in touch if they have questions?

A couple of things — to share 1) one of Teach for Uganda — please feel free to visit our social media and reach out to us.

One other one — I would love to share with them — my journey as shared at the Moth Radio Talk show at the Wooly Mammoth Theatre in Washington DC