As the Women Protection and Empowerment Learning Advisor at the International Rescue Committee Uganda, Doreen feels fortunate to be able to serve women and girls at a level in which she knows she can influence policy change. An advocate for women and girls’ rights, she has her eyes set on the international scene, where she can reach even more women and girls and support them to thrive.

Doreen is from Kitgum District in Northern Uganda, a region badly affected by civil war between 1987 and 2006/2008 that resulted in atrocities that caused many members from the Acholi community to be moved to internally displaced peoples’ (IDP) camps.

The camps were associated with malnutrition, social breakdown, and mental health disorders and they became breeding grounds for disease. After the expulsion of the LRA in 2008 by the government forces, people in the region began to return to their villages and rebuild their society. Today, the region still suffers the effects of the civil war and has high levels of poverty, and challenges associated with water, sanitation, and disease. There are high levels of child and maternal mortality rate.

Doreen does not believe she would have made it this far in her career had it not been for the Master’s scholarship she was awarded in 2011. It meant she was able to pursue a Master of Science in International Development at the University of Bath in the UK, an experience, she says, that did not leave her the same. From exposing her to global issues, to understanding how she could relay her knowledge to issues back home, the opportunity inspired and prepared her to make an impact on the lives of people and communities in need.

“As a formerly displaced person, I found myself inclined to serve the refugee and host community population,” she says, “because I believe they deserve to be as comfortable as they can be, especially women and girls.”

She was fortunate to secure a job with the International Rescue Committee when she returned to Uganda, where she served as a manager in one of the refugee settlements, before being promoted to Women Protection and Empowerment Learning Advisor.

Doreen understands the value of the scholarship and of education in being able to pursue her career, and looks forward to supporting other young people, particularly women, like her to pursue further studies. “I am forever grateful to Windle; I am optimistic about a future of effecting change and empowering women and girls to speak up against violence, especially gender-based violence.”

Doreen was awarded a scholarship through The Postgraduate Programme from Windle Trust International and Windle International Uganda in 2011.