Where Theory Meets Reality

Currently, I am enrolled in Development Management, a graduate course in the MPA program where our final project is to design a detailed proposal for an education system in Southern Sudan. Although we have been doing a lot of research, reading and listening to guest speakers, the entire concept of implementation still seemed so foreign to me. I was having great difficulty understanding the fact that even today, many millions of people still face civil war, violence and uncertainty on a daily basis.

What helped me to understand this current predicament was my current internship where I work with politically active individuals in Nigeria, Liberia and Uganda. Although these countries do not all directly border Sudan, they are still subject to its influences. Unrest in one country may easily lead to problems in another due to displaced persons, demographic pressures and shortage of supplies.

This is exactly what is happening to Northern Uganda. Due to the upcoming referendum in Sudan as well as the volumes of people leaving Sudan, it has begun to greatly affect the political stability and upcoming elections of Uganda. For example, illegal polling stations have been set up along the border in an attempt to intimidate voters who cross from one country to another. Furthermore, the most rural inhabitants of the countries may not have sufficient knowledge about the elections nor a place in which to vote. Overall, there is much opposition to the manner in which the elections will occur.

With our own mid-term elections just around the corner, it is easy to take for granted the safe and secure polling places that are set up around the US. It is not considered dangerous to cast a vote in this country; unfortunately, that is still not the case universally. Although free and fair Ugandan elections are a lofty goal that will require a lot of work, it is comforting knowing that I am able to contribute in some small part to its accomplishment.

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