Meet Dennis Uba, Programme Manager

Dennis Uba

We sat down with Dennis Uba, our Programme Manager for Kiribati to learn more about his background and what he's looking forward to bringing to ChildFund.

ChildFund (CF): Dennis, why do you want to help children and young people?

Dennis Uba (DU): The youth is indeed our future. It’s a cliché because it is true. In the Pacific and many parts of Asia where I come from, there is a youth bulge with the children and youth now comprising more than half of the population in several countries. Sadly, there are limited opportunities for employment exacerbated by decreasing quality of education (and worse fewer opportunities to access them) for many of these young people. I myself benefitted from scholarships for my high school and college education and I hope to pay forward by working towards improving the lives of other people.

CF: Briefly, tell us about your skills and experience, what you are bringing to ChildFund and to the children we serve?

DU: After university, I briefly worked with the Jesuits in the Philippines in their social justice apostolate among farmers, urban poor, and the labor sector. That involvement inspired me to devote the next five years in working among the civil society organizations in the country who were advocating for land reform and promoting upland farmers and indigenous people’s rights. I then spent 8 years working out of HK and Bangkok for the social justice and peace arm of the Catholic churches from 23 countries promoting human development in Asia. From Asia, I moved to the Pacific and spent 12 years living in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands leading local teams working towards community development, prevention of violence against women and children, as well as responding to humanitarian disasters.

CF: What does work at ChildFund bring to you?

DU: I left Wellington in 2010 to work in PNG and the Solomons so it’s been a long while since I was involved in supporting communities and local organizations from the head office of development organizations. I hope to be a “voice from the field” while here at ChildFund while also learning how to better bridge the increasing divide between support groups like us and our local partners. Development and humanitarian work is ever evolving and I’m keen to continue learning while with ChildFund NZ, mindful of the complex realities on the ground where our support and partnership is most needed.

CF: What are your hobbies?

DU: I’m a movie buff (which helped sustain me while in the field for a long time) but also like to travel. In my previous “life” I travelled the entire PNG Highlands, from Tari in Hela Province in the west to Madang in the eastern coast as well as all over Bougainville Island. I learned a lot from living in 7 countries in the course of my development career. Before leaving NZ a decade ago, I’ve gone from Cape Reinga to Bluff but hope to explore other interesting towns in between now that I’m back.