Grace Arach is first Ugan­dan to re­ceive Kather­ine Flem­ing Award

An­nual Coady cel­e­bra­tion reaches 19 years

The Casket - - Local - RICHARD MACKEN­ZIE richard­mac@the­cas­

For the first time in its 19-year his­tory, the Kather­ine Flem­ing In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Award was pre­sented to a per­son from Uganda.

Grace Arach, founder and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Foun­da­tion for Women Af­fected by Con­flicts (FOWAC), was pre­sented with the award by a brother (Ge­orge Flem­ing Jr.) and son

(Alex Zutt) of the late Flem­ing; a 1985 St. F.X. grad­u­ate, “who ded­i­cated her life to sup­port­ing the elim­i­na­tion of child poverty in Africa.”

Flem­ing passed away in 1999 at the age of 36.

The pre­sen­ta­tion was made, as it has been tra­di­tion­ally, at the Coady In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute’s Den­nis Hall as part of St. F.X. Home­com­ing Week­end ac­tiv­i­ties. It took place Satur­day (Sept. 29) morn­ing.

“Bring­ing Kather­ine’s story to light has ex­plored my story and, I re­quest to let you know that, her story will never re­main silent in my heart and in my do­ing,” Arach said, as part of her ac­cep­tance speech.

“I will con­tinue with my em­pow­er­ment strug­gle to ed­u­cate, men­tor, and build [up] women be­cause, I know, there is no for­mula de­signed to re­al­ize ul­ti­mate fe­male gen­der jus­tice.”

Arach, cur­rently par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Coady In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute’s Di­ploma in De­vel­op­ment Lead­er­ship pro­gram, said she is mo­ti­vated in her work by per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences.

“Draw­ing from my own ex­pe­ri­ence, I am a liv­ing ex­am­ple of those un­priv­i­leged girls who of­ten end up be­ing sold as sex slaves, weapons of war or sources of liveli­hood to a fam­ily,” she said.

“The or­ga­ni­za­tion was founded in 2007 to re­spond to the plight of war af­fect­ing women and girls, through creative means of psy­choso­cial sup­port, liveli­hood and ad­vo­cacy. As of now, FOWAC has touched the lives of more than 6,000 vul­ner­a­ble, dis­ad­van­taged and at risk women, girls and chil­dren.”

Talk­ing to the Cas­ket fol­low­ing the cer­e­mony, of­fi­cially ti­tled Cof­fee with Coady, Arach said she is very “happy” and deeply “hum­bled” to have been cho­sen for the Flem­ing Award.

“This has opened my heart,” she said, her ap­pre­ci­a­tion com­ing out in a joy­ous tone.

“This award given to me, this schol­ar­ship, with­out it, I wouldn’t have been here be­cause I couldn’t have af­forded to be. The peo­ple I work with, the peo­ple I sup­port, this will also ben­e­fit them.”

Arach talked about a mes­sage she wanted to con­vey while at the podium.

“It’s im­por­tant that each and ev­ery one who is con­cerned about the sit­u­a­tion of women and chil­dren get up and, in their dif­fer­ent ca­pac­i­ties, give a hand,” she said. “Not only in terms of money, but in terms of men­tor­ship, in terms of ed­u­ca­tion and, then, in terms of build­ing con­fi­dence in them.”

She added that a coun­try that treats their women badly has poor re­sults.

“Be­cause women give life and if we want a qual­ity life, we need to give this to women,” she said. “That is the most im­por­tant thing; give peace to women.”

Arach said her ed­u­ca­tion at the Coady has been ex­cel­lent.

“There are things I never ex­pected to learn from this in­sti­tu­tion,” she said. “But it’s like they know ev­ery­thing that hap­pens in our coun­ties, are able to re­late [to our sit­u­a­tions] ev­ery­thing they give us … it’s gen­uine.”

Richard Macken­zie

Alex Zutt (left), a son of the late Kather­ine Flem­ing, as well as Ge­orge Flem­ing Jr., Kather­ine’s brother, present Coady In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute Di­ploma in De­vel­op­ment Lead­er­ship pro­gram par­tic­i­pant Grace Arach with the Kather­ine Flem­ing In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Award, dur­ing the Sept. 29 cer­e­mony.

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