Marsha Hunt is the Chief Financial Officer of Uganda Development Initiative (UDI), which works to increase education opportunities in Uganda by building schools and providing sponsorship programs, tutorials, and support to agricultural, medical and small business programs. She connected to MBBI through Rotary International at the 2015 MBBI Congress in Romania and since, has continued to be an active member of the Mediators Beyond Borders International – Los Angeles Regional Group (MBBI—LA).
Marsha’s main involvement with MBBI—LA is through their partnership with Days of Dialogue, a nonprofit organization hosting a series of community-based discussions with the people of Los Angeles and cooperating law enforcement agencies. These dialogues endeavor to uphold the principals of mutual respect and human dignity. In an effort to prevent further violence these facilitative dialogues help shape the future of our community.
Marsha serves as a facilitator with Days of Dialogue and she firsthand has seen the power of conversation between police officers and local citizens. The citizens are able to voice their concerns about their communities directly to those tasked with making those communities safer. And likewise, the police officers are receptive to these concerns and are able to prioritize the needs of the community directly.
This model of a deliberative and facilitated conversation is a main passion of Marsha. So much so that at Rotary International’s peace conferences, she is at the MBBI Booth discussing the power of the Days of Dialogue model! Rotarians continually ask her how to export this method of community reconciliation and conflict resolution skills to their communities. The future of MBBI’s and Rotary’s partnership can rely on the strengths of this moldable and adaptable project of community-based dialogue mediation.
Education for Development
Marsha is also the CFO of Uganda Development Initiative (UDI), which supports economic growth, enables children to attend school and gain an education, assists the people of Uganda in developing small business programs and provides opportunities for advancements in the Medical, Science, and Technology fields. UDI is dedicated to training teachers to continue to further this education and provide for a sustainable future for Uganda.
Since 2004, UDI has built and upgraded buildings, restrooms, sports facilities, and safe water projects. Further, UDI promotes self-sustaining farming for refugee families, growing coffee, tea and fruit trees for food and income and solar power generation is also being installed. All of these initiatives are in the Kanungu district of southwestern Uganda, bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Marsha’s interested in Uganda was originally sparked by a visit there and since that first trip; she has helped to build four elementary schools, a high school, a college, and a medical center. The Rotary Clubs of Westwood Village in California, Kabale in Uganda, and Memmingen in Germany are collaborating to help with these projects. Marsha was the president of the Westwood Village Rotary Club further combining her passions into one positive peace project. She now has an honorary doctorate from Nkumba University and continues to return to the country annually.
Check out UDI’s social media here.
Marsha is a champion of development and dialogue for community reconciliation and growth!
Article by Ben Lutz, MBBI Writer