At a young age, Arinaitwe lost his parents and four siblings to infectious diseases, which included HIV/AIDS in rural western Uganda. As an “AIDS orphan” (a phrase which he uses critically), he experienced the often-problematic international development system first hand. In his essay, he wrote, “I encountered a republic of NGOs claiming their legitimacy in my home country, and defining ‘AIDS orphans’ like myself with their own narratives and agendas.” He is a 2015 Global Fellow at Acumen where he worked at LabourNet, a social enterprise in Bangalore, India with a mission of educating, skilling and employing over 10 million workers by 2020. He is also a 2012-2013 Global Health Corps Fellow and continues to represent GHC as Uganda’s alumni president.
Currently, Arinaitwe is CEO and co-founder of Teach For Uganda, which recruits and develops Uganda’s most promising graduates and young professionals who commit two years to teach in high need classrooms across the country. As alumni, TFU fellows continue developing a movement of leaders working towards ending educational inequity in Uganda. James believes that Uganda’s social stability and future economic prospects depend on the way we educate her children.