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Showing posts from March, 2014

Buwago Parish Assembly unearths a neglected child

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The reach of the Youth Assemblies cannot be gainsaid. This I confirmed today whilst in Buwago Parish amidst 40 young men and women. I already have a mental picture of what to expect now that the youths are getting vocal thanks to engagement spaces.
The past two days have been unique and today did not disappoint. Youths were given the opportunity to drive the assembly after being taken through a 45 minute long session on the core aim of the Assemblies, now and in future. Human rights, Education and Health were pet topics for the youth and real life portrayals did not fall short either. Emotion was evident and conviction was flawless.
Swabula Nanaiga is a 5 year old girl. She wears the face of a grown up deep in thought as if distressed from something she has no control over. Actually, she is distressed. She is hungry, her back is riddled with wounds as if that is not enough for such a tender being; she’s HIV+ and homeless.
His father died while Swabula was still a toddler. They actuall…

I paid my Tax. Where are the services?

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It’s a bright morning and we are headed to a meeting on another thorny issue, well not thorny yet – Taxation! Part taking to this meeting are Local Council IIs and IIIs as well as various office holders within the Sub County, generally tax payers. We are in Ivukula sub-county. I have been in larger Namutumba for a while now and as such, the slow start and lazy walk-ins and a seldom busy registration desk are not new since I know that before long, the hall will be full to capacity. 
Poor governance is the key cause of poverty. Global citizens suffer when governments do not provide requisite services for dignified livelihood. Serious problems with governance still exist in much of Africa – but the overall situation is steadily improving. Working with governments to improve the way public resources are used is an important part of Action Aid’s intervention strategies.
The issue of TAX remission is age old, but many of us seldom interact to discuss it. Many more hardly ever interrogate wher…

Theater for Development: A fresh shift from the never ending awareness & sensitization “trainings”!

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It’s an excessively hot and dusty mid Monday morning in Namutumba District – Busiki LRP as we prepare to head off to Ivukula Sub County, one of two others within Namutumba District, in the Eastern side of Uganda. Not much comes to mind during the drive as we head to Rwatama Village not knowing that the adage “Never judge a book by its Cover” is a realization that would soon come to full sight.
Community engagements are not tasks for the faint hearted. The results are not immediately realized and getting the communities to open up is an even higher huddle to overcome. As I would soon find out, this is set to change thanks to a shift from typical trainings in the village to congregational laughter, music, dance and subsequently learnings by the young and old alike! Theatre for Development (TFD) is a great vehicle of engagement in demystifying and addressing societal ills.
The groups’ present plays that depict the exact house hold scenarios in most of Ugandan communities. The scenarios…

UPE Balance Sheet: The Making of Effective Schools

Though sub Saharan Africa has registered an increase in primary schools in last 10 years, charging of fees still remain a major barrier to progress towards attaining the UPE goal. Bolder actions are therefore still required around access, fees, quality and teachers and overly, application of efficacy in management of schools. Access to education of good quality is a fundamental human right, and its provision and relevance calls on the part of duty-bearers and rights-holders in relevant if not equal measure.
Following the adoption of education as a human right in 1997 by the Uganda Government for all its citizens for equitable sustainability, the enrollment and retention rates hurriedly improved. Education indicators thereinafter depicted a scenario of increased if not pure success. Though considered a human right, Education is not necessarily depictive of the same at the regional sphere…..It’s more of a privilege for the “financially endowed”.
A decade later following the full implem…

Youth Assemblies: A shift from conference room trainings and workshops

Action aid has initiated a 5 day long sensitization and mobilization drive in Namutumba District, specifically in Nsinze, Ivukula and Kibaale Sub Counties. Just like the national assembly, youth assemblies at these parishes converges together different gender and personalities with a common denominator – youths seeking a better life. The assemblies are one part of a five-fold programme for the youths of Namutumba to not only acquire information, but also to use the acquired information to better their lives at household and village levels as well as to part take and influence good governance at Local Government level. The assemblies are open to youths in education systems as well as those outside as they are not meant to inform or educate, rather to create a meeting platform for youths, sit, discuss and cite tangible solutions for the same problems that they face or see other youths facing. Here, age old issues as governments and governance to a phenomenon as new as Human Rights amo…

Youth Get Empowered - Economically!

Nawangisa parish situated in Kibaale Sub County is one of the localities under the “creating spaces for ACTIVISTA” programme area by ActionAid, Busiki LRP.  Similar to other Parishes, the Youth constitute the majority of the community moreover; most of them depend on menial and unsustainable ventures for income whilst those privileged enough to use their small farm acreages for livelihood, use rudimentary tools on individual basis and an even greater number does not engage in any practices for development. In Nov. 2013, I convened a  one-day Activista training forum under the Activista platform at Kibaale Sub County to empower the Youth on result-based documentation, planning, efficacy in resource use and sustaining incomes attended to by Activistas themselves. The training was anchored on first component of the HRBA methodology that details empowerment. Succinctly, the focus on; galvanizing for individual and collective action, identifying and nurturing their capacities on leadership…

What have we learnt from a 15,000 Euro Youth project support by the International Secretariat?

Since joining Busiki LRP, I have heard the Youth being christened all sorts of names. The one I hear most is, “the youth are the most disoriented and most tasking lot to work with”. Well, the Youth themselves vehemently disagree and usually give truck-loads of reasons for this, in their defense. There’s an adage that says, “Never judge a book by its cover”. Young people who are jobless, sidelined, have no opportunities, are not integrated into community issues fully and have no foundational skills are a liability and a high risk to a Country. Any Country!
Whilst still working on its baby steps in relation to Youth, Busiki LRP received 15,000 Euros to implement a Youth Project that focused on supported Youth to develop skills for economic self-reliance beyond formal employment. Not only empower and strategically anchor them for leadership, communication and most importantly, constitutionalism as well as outlets to identify and nurture their talents.
Programmatic interventions need long-…

Youth Led Programming – A Sustainable Approach

Young people who are jobless, sidelined, have no opportunities, are not integrated into community issues fully and have no foundational skills are a liability and a high risk to a country – any Country. Young people need to develop skills for economic self-reliance beyond formal employment. They need skills in leadership, communication and most importantly, constitutionalism. They need outlets to identify and nurture their talents. Three core pillars anchor the genesis of a sustained Youth engagement in any context.
a     All Rounded programming at Community Level It is prudent to initiate community programs predominantly because more often than not, the challenges and problems faced by the Youth are in the contexts of group and social insufficiencies. Such programs need to give rise to Youth oriented institutions which in turn identify and initiate cohesive ventures such as sports and education that in turn harness Youth identity, self & group confidence as empowerment and nurturi…

Coalescing YOUTH differences to plan

Failing to plan is planning to fail. My mentor once told me; if you want to achieve something; Paint a mental picture it. Understand it. Plan & work it.Youth in Namutumba have over time proved to be more divided than united despite support and recognition back to 2006 when the LRP started working in Busiki. Issues such as poverty, exploitation, early pregnancies, lack of basic skills for development and exclusion, in-effective youth adult partnerships and exclusions are some of the key blockages to realizing relevance to and by Youth.  Since I joined the LRP as an Inspirator, I have had a hard time trying to coalesce youth around the ideals of achieving economic growth, dignified livelihood and informed participation in local government processes for the youth in vain. Subsequently in Nov., 2013, I am now making a break through, albeit slowly – a relief from the on-and-off breakthrough before then.
On 5th Dec. 2013 the Youth were privileged to see what other Youth from neighboring …

Youth, Economics, Opportunities, Growth and Development

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Economic advancement can be viewed in one way or another as increasing the capabilities of an individual to lead a dignified life and subsequently be in a position to do and be what he or she chooses. Based on preordained dynamics and through interactions with each other as well as with those outside their age realms, young people are continually developing these capabilities, meaning that development is an intergenerational process that is regularly metamorphosing.
Poverty is a manageable social ill that is unfortunately ballooned by inequalities occasioned by biased/poor planning by governments’ world over. Most importantly, it’s a violation of Human Rights of all those affected.  This violation is propagated by key among many other issues lack of foundational and service infrastructure in provision of amenities such as schools, unavailable/inaccessible platforms to access and interact at local, national and global platforms and poor healthcare systems therein limiting spaces for ec…

Achieving Behavioral Change

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“Ronald is a 29 year old Youth from the Namutumba District. He was born and raised in Bulyabwita Village in Namutumba. He attended Kigalama Primary and thereafter, proceeded to Kanguluma SS for his secondary lower. He studied at Kisiki Collage and NTC Kaliro for a Diploma in Teaching and then proceeded to Makerere University for his Bachelors of Education.
Ronald lives and works in Namutumba as a Teacher as well as the District Youth Chairperson, Namutumba. His ambition has always been to involve himself in leadership and development issues right from Lower Secondary.
Since leaving Makerere University, he has been studying issues as to why the government has been “endlessly” tackling poverty, governance, Gender Based Violence and Human Rights issues but nothing has really changed. To play a part in all this, he curved leadership as his entry route in addressing these issues.
However, this has not been easy due to two main challenges; he has been unable to spur the Youths around issue…

Inspire…Advise…Mentor

Sometimes it’s the small things that can surprise you the most.  I never expected to be able to study the Ugandan culture up close and love it so much, but here at Namutumba District, everything is like new, fresh and unexploited. Being together with the community members is like reading a great book, we are still and yet moving and exploring in our minds.  Reading a good book, watching a great movie is like exploring other worlds, being transported from right where you sit.  I’ve had it the other way too, travelling thousands of miles, moving from one part of the world to the other, knowing pretty well that this is something I can do and aware that I am privileged to do it…amongst many!
All of this exploration and journeying in the larger District that is Namutumba, for me, is like sitting in a circle of people who represent the world.  We’ve got a big ball of gold yarn and we’re throwing it back and forth between us.  In the end, there’s a spider web between us, crisscrossing the cen…

My 1st Nine Month Semester...

My name is Ger. Ger Odock. I was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya’s equivalent of New York - a city that never sleeps; well, so I hear! On the whole, I am a “city boy”; used to noisy crowds, warm and polluted days, crowded streets but also lovely and insanely joyful nights. I am a huge fun of writing and public speaking and when I was younger, I wanted to become a writer or a motivational speaker the former being my unfulfilled dream whilst the latter is my work in progress. The recent past dating nine months has had me living in a less urban area; embracing, befriending, dinning, adopting cultures and learning from the less urbanite through my work with Action Aid Uganda. I have a dear friend whose company I relish despite his institutionalized approach to common issues but also, a host of very close friends who I share with my experiences, lessons in life, technical and practical knowledge in my line of work. In different settings, I share with them childhood aspirations in life as…

Sharing Meeting

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Members engaging during the meeting