Making the World a Better Place, One Village at a Time

December 2, 2013
By Jenny Li Fowler, HKS Communications

Shawn Cheung MC/MPA 2014 believes in helping villagers help themselves. As founder of Raising the Village (RTV), Cheung came to Harvard Kennedy School in part to help further this cause.

Raising the Village is a non-profit organization that provides critical infrastructure, tools, and training to villages in Uganda recovering from a variety of catastrophic events such as violent conflict, the AIDS epidemic, and drought.

With the help of RTV, residents in remote villages have the opportunity to achieve their own goals. RTV’s mission is to put key pieces in place to allow a struggling village to get beyond mere survival mode and grow into a thriving community.

“Through my classmates, the classroom, and the many other opportunities to learn – such as visiting speakers, study groups and the like – I have been able to translate a great deal to further Raising The Village's growth as an innovator in community development,” says Cheung. “By enhancing RTV's methodology, trying differing approaches and ideas, establishing a network of sector leaders, and growing in my own personal understanding of leadership – the Kennedy School has opened up new opportunities for the organization to achieve its mission.”

Cheung says he enjoys the challenges of the Kennedy School's Mid-Career MPA program.

“It has been a humbling experience to have classmates and professors with such great experience and wealth of knowledge,” he remarks. “Even though many are world-renown experts in their fields, they take the time to consider everyone's opinion and perspective with great humility. The passion and commitment they have is inspiring.”

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