Victoria Nalongo Namusisi, Visiting Pitt Through Oct. 24, Is Focus of Documentary Being Filmed in Pittsburgh

Issue Date: 
October 22, 2012

Victoria Nalongo Namusisi, a fisherman’s daughter who has become a leader in Uganda through her roles as a journalist, government official, and founder of an orphanage, is the subject of a documentary currently being filmed in Pittsburgh through a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Ford Institute for Human Security. Namusisi is visiting Pittsburgh through Wednesday, Oct. 24, as a speaker for the Ford Institute.

Victoria Nalongo Namusisi, who shares a name with the waters that her father fished to support his family—Africa’s Lake Victoria—is being filmed by Dormont, Pa.-filmmaker Leonard Lies as she meets with Pitt students, dines at Pitt professor Louis A. Picard’s home, and tours Pittsburgh organizations Global Links and The Children’s Institute during her Pittsburgh visit. Her lecture for the Ford Institute, “Fighting for Peace, Caring for Children,” was delivered Oct. 16 in Posvar Hall.

Namusisi is the founder and director of Bright Kids Uganda, a children’s home in the city of Entebbe that she established in 2000. Student interns from the University of Pittsburgh have worked at the home, which houses more than 60 children affected by violent conflicts in northern Uganda, poverty, and/or the HIV epidemic. Picard, professor of public and international affairs and director of Pitt’s Ford Institute for Human Security, serves on the board of Bright Kids Uganda.

Namusisi worked as a presidential and parliamentary reporter in Uganda until 1991, when the Ugandan president appointed her resident district commissioner. She later became head of administration and logistics with the president’s office and worked in war-torn northern Uganda to help with reconciliation and reconstruction after the devastation caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army terrorist group. While visiting Internally Displaced Peoples camps there, she was inspired to open a children’s home to help ensure that the next generation of Ugandans were productive members of society.

The documentary, which has a working title Nalongo Owabaana Abangi, meaning “mother of many children” in Namusisi’s native language of Lugandan, will include footage already filmed in Uganda. Leonard Lies, owner of Dream Catchers Films, Inc., in Dormont, Pa., is producing and directing the film.

The Ford Institute for Human Security is part of Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. It is dedicated to advancing the study and practice of human security by conducting policy-oriented academic research, providing resources on human security to a broad audience, and reaching out to a network of scholars and organizations engaged in human security work.