Peter Ogik will work on his project to leverage the media to change perceptions of disability during his fellowship at the Institute on Disability and Human Development (IDHD), which is hosted at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).
Peter is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors and co-founder of Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism (SNUPA) in Jinja, eastern Uganda. SNUPA prides itself in being “an organization for persons with albinism, run by persons with albinism”. Peter himself has lived experience of growing up as a person with albinism in a poor community. As Chairperson of SNUPA, Peter campaigns for the betterment of the lives of people like him. He provides support for persons with albinism who have faced abuses, oversees projects, and leads national advocacy (with employment being a priority issue). He has been highly successful in using the media to combat stigma, which he considers to be the biggest barrier that the community of persons with albinism faces.
The foundation of Peter’s leadership lies in his personal experiences, but his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Social Administration has helped provide an academic lens through which he frames such events in his life. In addition to his work with SNUPA, Peter has extensive experience in general disability advocacy within government. He has served as the Chairperson of the Jinja District Local Government Council for Disability, and the Chairperson for Youth at the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU).
Peter’s Fellowship project aims to use the media to change public perceptions and reduce stigma against persons with albinism, a shift that he believes will lead to higher rates of employment within the community. The outcomes of the project include: higher media coverage on albinism, more positive attitudes towards persons with albinism in local communities, and an increase in citizen journalist skills to increase employment prospects. While the project is primarily concerned with the employment of persons with albinism, Peter is clear in his belief “that leadership means reaching beyond the concerns of my impairment group and collaborating with brothers and sisters across the disability movement”. He is excited for the opportunities to design this venture that will be made available to him through the Fellowship.