The Africa Center Guest Speaker Series: Agnes Igoye and Jamie Van Leeuwen, PhD
Jamie Van Leeuwen, PhD, is the Founder & CEO of the Global Livingston Institute. Jamie founded the Global Livingston Institute in 2009 to encourage students and community leaders to think bigger and think differently about international development. He currently serves as the GLI’s Chief Executive Officer. Jamie has been traveling to East Africa for more than a decade and continues to develop innovative partnerships between GLI and members of the public, private and nonprofit sectors in Uganda. In addition to his role as GLI’s CEO, Jamie is also a Senior Advisor for Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.
In October 2014, a group of American academics and activists who doubled as musicians came together under the auspices of the Global Livingston Institute (GLI) and took an innovative approach to rural community development. This approach created both a significant public health and economic development impact on Kabale. The GLI partnered with Reach a Hand, a youth-led Ugandan NGO that focuses on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. Together they formulated a plan to produce an interactive music festival in Kabale to promote HIV-awareness, bridge cultural divides, and boost the local economy. From October 20-24, 2014, the American delegation from Colorado, Louisiana and Tennessee met with traditional Rukiga folk singers and musicians as well as headliner hip-hop stars from Rwanda and northern Uganda. In four days they coordinated an entire set list of musical collaborations, from folk to reggae to rap in five different languages.
The first concert was held on October 25, 2014, and repeated in 2015 and 2016. Throughout this period, the festival generated several unanticipated outcomes and interventions. More than 4,000 people attended the first concert; making it the largest free concert hosted in Uganda. Furthermore, 826 young people were tested for HIV and referral services for treatment. In 2015, over 7,000 Ugandans participated in the music festival. Testing services were administered throughout the day and 1,270 Ugandans received HIV testing. In 2016, using proven methods of community development and engagement, the outcomes began to have an exponential return.
· Our goal was to have 5,000 people attend each event. Instead, 14,000 people attended the festival in Lira, and 12,000 attended the festival in Kabale.
· Our goal was to distribute 15,000 condoms; Instead 150,000 condoms were distributed, including 5,000 female condoms. Classes were held on site demonstrating proper condom use throughout the day in a variety of local languages including Ruchiga, Langi Luo, and Luganda.
· Our goal was to test 4,000 people. We tested 4,195 (2,104 in Lira and 2,091 in Kabale) people for free. A total of 73 persons’ tests came out positive and all of them were linked to a continuum of medical care and counseling free of charge.
· Our goal was to have a measurable positive economic impact on the region. This festival series contributed more than $40,000 in direct impact as well as multiplier effect– please see the attached Economic Impact Statement.
· Our goal was to have at least 100 artists perform. We had performances by 126 artists from the US, Belgium, Rwanda, and Uganda:
About the Global Livingston Institute
The Global Livingston Institute (GLI) is a community-based research institute developing strategic partnerships in both East Africa and in the United States with a focus on education and social impact. Modeled after the Aspen Institute and the Rockefeller Bellagio Center, the GLI creates a place at the table for students and community leaders to innovative complex solutions to poverty. The organization is divided into two core areas of focus: Education (Listen. Think.) and Enterprises (Act.)
The Global Livingston Institute (GLI) is named after Johnston R. Livingston, a visionary, entrepreneur and philanthropist from Colorado. Jamie Van Leeuwen founded the GLI in 2009 after traveling to Uganda and Rwanda as part of the Livingston Fellowship he received from Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. During his travels, he became aware of the many people and NGOs taking actions in East Africa without truly understanding the needs of the community. He identified the need for people to do more listening and thinking before acting. Ultimately, the idea was to get students and community leaders to rethink the approach we take to international development. Since 2009, the GLI has been engaging students and community leaders in the United States and East Africa to Listen. Think. Act.