Alumni Spotlight - Arnold Kawuba '06
Arnold Kawuba is a 2006 graduate of Lexington Christian Academy. After graduating from LCA, Arnold went on to Drew University, where he earned his degree in Political Science. From there, he went on to get his M.A. in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Arnold moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in January 2013 to work as a Reports Officer in the World Food Programme, the food aid agency of the United Nations. There, his job is simply “to tell the story of the Congolese people to the world and let the world hear the plight of the men, women and children that have suffered for far too long.” Arnold says at the end of the day he wants “to be their voice and advocate through his reports. As an organization we fight to make sure that malnutrition and hunger is no longer a reality among the refugees and internally displaced people that we humbly serve.”
What motivates you to work for the United Nations, specifically in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
I’m inspired on a daily basis by the people I serve. The woman who has been subject to rape all her life, the innocent children who have never seen a day out of a refugee camp and men who have never seen a day of peace in their lives. This is my motivation. Until we can tell a different story, one that is characterized by peace and stability, we have to keep on with the fight. We have to get it right and there is no other way out. The world is finally waking up and realizing that this country has been in trouble for the last decade and too many lives have been lost while too many have suffered for far too long. The history of the DRC is at crossroads; we live at a time of heightened hope and I want to be part of this history. The curse of the Congo is being reversed. The United Nations is going on the offense and we all as a global community must capitalize on this moment.
What are some difficulties you see in your role and working for the World Food Programme?
There are a lot of logistical difficulties in getting food to the people. The main one being that DRC is a landlocked country. Getting food to the DRC could sometimes take over 6 months depending on where it is coming from. DRC is also characterized by high levels of insecurity land. These logistics, compounded by impassable roads sometimes means that food can take 6 months or longer.
The other difficulty is that you don’t want to create dependencies. The country will never be able to thrive if they’re not a part of the solution. My hope is that we create resilience among the poor so that one day they are the first responders to their own problems. Food assistance agencies should be the last resort; this is the DRC we want; this is the DRC I want. It’s all about aid vs. assistance. We can’t afford to keep dumping aid; we need to be smarter. We need to create those synergies that will eventually bring us from humanitarian assistance to eventual development. We don’t want to just put a band-aid on the problem but rather heal the actual wound. The way I perceive humanitarian assistance is that our goal as brothers and sisters to those less fortunate than us is that we need to put ourselves out of business. We should do such a good job that these countries don’t need outside assistance.
In what ways, if any, did LCA influence your current career the choices you’ve made?
It all started with LCA. My family is originally from Uganda and LCA was our first point of contact in America. Without LCA, I never would have gone to Drew and decided that International Relations was what I wanted to study. I had great support from people like Mrs. Schuhmacher and many more LCA faculty, staff, friends and families who helped my family in difficult situations and teachers who invested in me.
What is it that would change the DRC?
The DRC needs the global attention that it deserves. We have all witnessed what happens when the world finally stands up and says “enough is enough”. The World needs to say NO to rape, NO to violence, NO to suffering and NO to poverty in the DRC. We have started to see this through recent political developments at the international level; what we need now is to keep this momentum going and ensure that there is mutual accountability from both the international community and the Government of the DRC. This is the right moment in DRC’s history and we must capitalize on this very unique opportunity.
Secondly, we have to keep in mind that change in the DRC is necessary because of that woman who is raped every day, that child that died of hunger and that young boy that knows nothing other than the gun. This is what it is about and we as a global community are accountable to these people who have suffered for so long. If this is the mindset that we take on, there will be change in the DRC.
Lastly, the DRC needs good governance, respect for the rule of law and human rights. These are key principals for any state to function properly and without them we are going nowhere. The government of DRC is making enormous efforts in this regard but as a global community it is our responsibility to encourage and keep the government accountable.