MADISON (WKOW) -- A group of eleven University of Wisconsin-Madison students studying in Uganda started a woman's soccer team that's getting national recognition and opening doors for the young woman on the team.
The students are researching community development projects on a small island in Lake Victoria. While in Madison they scraped funds together to travel to isolated Lingira, which is made up of refugee camps.
Even though the island is frequently ignored by government officials, a member of Uganda's parliament visited the island to check out the fledging soccer team.
Because of the high-ranking visitor's stop on the island, one soccer player won a coveted scholarship that previously had been nearly impossible for an island resident to receive.
"It's a huge deal that this member of parliament came to the island," says Marissa Mommaerts, a graduate student finishing her degree in international public affairs from UW-Madison's La Follette School of Public Affairs. Because of the visit, she adds, "there's been attention drawn to the island and the living conditions there."
The UW-Madison students traveled to the island through a student-run international development program offering opportunities to do meaningful research that can be applied in real-world settings.