The nonprofit KUZA takes its name from a Swahili word that encompasses a handful of verbs – to flourish, educate, raise up, develop, praise, exalt, foster and make grow.

And this mission of KUZA is like its name – multi-layered, ambitious and forward-looking. Their team works to improve the lives of select young Ugandans by training them to be leaders and visionaries. They do this through two programs: the KUZA Discipleship Program and the KUZA Leadership Program.

But first, students need to complete a highly competitive application, knowing that of the hundreds who apply, only 12 are selected annually. KUZA tries to identify youth who exemplify characteristics they feel are indicative of strong leaders. Traits they look for include integrity, academic excellence and resilience, among others.

The lucky students who are selected are funneled into excellent high schools, and later into good universities. Throughout the process they’re taken on leadership retreats, ask to do community service, receive mentorship and supported emotionally. They hope is that these students will graduate to become world-changers in Uganda.

Why is this program focused on Uganda?

KUZA believes that Uganda is on the “tipping-point,” and is ready to become a middle-income nation. This is in part because the country is making advances in reducing poverty, spreading technology and building a strong economy. Already 85 percent of the youth population is already literate.

It is the hope of the KUZA team that with young leaders at the helm, Uganda will flourish.

This week at PRP we featured KUZA as part of our award-winning Community Voices series. Interviews with select members of the nonprofit can be listened to below.

Nastacia Voisin

I’m a recent University of Portland grad and an aspiring journalist. I hail originally from Ontario, Canada. My passions and pursuits vary – currently I’m into indie films, podcasts, live storytelling and tango.
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