Thursday, September 20, 2012

KIU takes the spotlight during ACFODE's Central Region Debate Tournament

How can a member of Government state that gender equality should be emphasized instead of affirmative action? In saying this, Government has failed to realize that affirmative action is a component of gender equality, once you cater for affirmative action; you are taking care of gender equality. This is why as opposition we are saying that affirmative action should not be scrapped noted Kilenga Joseph Africa –Deputy Leader of opposition final debate.

Women who go to the Parliament on the woman MP seat are always under looked by their male counter parts .Unlike those who go on the direct seat who are even more respected and their views are listened to. It is for this reason that we are proposing that affirmative action should be scrapped; answred back Esther Nasseke – the Prime minister for the final debate round.

A team brainstorming on ideas before a debate round.

These were some of the numerous arguments that were raised on  Day 2 of the inter institutional central region debate tournament organized by ACFODE with support from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. The competition was held at Nob view hotel, Ntinda between the 7th and 8th of September 2012. The theme of the debate tournament was: Gender equality and Good Governance.  The debates used the British Parliamentary format and brought together students from 5 institutions of higher learning namely; Ndejje University, Kampala International University, Makerere University Business School, Nkumba University and Muteesa 1 Royal University.

One of the female debaters fronting her opinion.

The inter-institutional debate approach is a strategy that ACFODE  has used since 2010 promotes to engage youth in discussing and understanding gender issues in relation to good governance in Uganda. Through this approach, students' capacity to research, analyze gender issues, and to lobby are enhanced. The September tournament covered a range of motions like;

  • This house should abolish the woman seat in Parliament,
  • This house believes the youth movement has failed gender equality
  • This house would recognize cohabitation as marriage
  • This house believes that economic growth is more important than gender equality
  • This house will legalize prostitution
  • This house believes that girls who get pregnant is school should be expelled and;
  • This house will scrap off Affirmative action. 
Throughout the debate rounds, some students exhibited good argumentation skills while others needed improvement as their arguments  were riddled with fallacies. For instance, while debating the motion “This house believes the youth movement has failed gender equality,” most students understood the youth movement as comprising only youth organizations. Therefore, as the debates ensued, those who had not researched well or had loop holes in their arguments were dropped in favour of those who were good at putting their points forward.

During the award giving ceremony, ACFODE's Executive Director  Ms Regina Bafaki thanked the debaters for fully committing to the activity. She expressed her appreciation for the level of debating that was exhibited by the debaters. While addressing the debaters, Ms. Bafaki noted that“If all Parliamentarians had passed through this process before going to the parliament, they would be making better deliberations and policies while in Parliament.”

The debaters thanked ACFODE for having reached out to the them as this enabled them have a clear picture of what women organizations like ACFODE are doing as regards promotion of gender equality through policy formulation, research, advocacy, mentoring, and capacity building. They noted that participating in this innovative activity had enabled them to understand how debating nurtures one into a good leader by imparting on them various skills. They hence vowed to become gender advocates in their institutions and to set up active debate clubs in order to carry on the debating culture.

To view a pictorial of the whole event; please click on the link below;

Daphine Agaba
Programs Assistant
Action For Development

Thursday, September 13, 2012

“Democracy Fairs” and the “Democracy Torch” received in the Districts under the EU supported ACFODE-KAS Project

Following its auspicious launch by the Chief Justice Hon. Benjamin Odoki, ACFODE and KAS through the project, “Action for Strengthening Good Governance and Accountability” begun their campaign to ensure that the “Democracy Torch” is truly embraced for the purpose for which it was created. Throughout the months of August and September 2012, the Torch, which is being passed through the 11 districts of project implementation, will be received by district leadership as a symbol for mobilizing citizens and leaders to draw their attention to issues of democratic governance and accountability in the districts. “Democracy Fairs” are also being conducted in the districts in order to facilitate interaction between leaders and citizens.

During these fairs, ACFODE and KAS as well as other stakeholders dealing with democracy, good governance and accountability in the district will display a wide range of educative materials that will inform citizens about the concepts of democracy, good governance and accountability. The “Democracy Fairs” and reception of the “Democracy Torch” are part of a campaign for popularizing and demystifying democratic principles, good governance and accountability at the local level. So far “Democracy Fairs” and the reception of the “Democracy Torch” have been successfully conducted in the districts of Jinja, Kiboga, Mbarara, Masaka, Kabale and Kisoro. Below are some highlights:

In Jinja, the Torch was received on 17th August 2012 and it was welcomed by the District Speaker who led a procession through the City Center accompanied by a brass band, motor bike riders popularly known as “Boda bodas” and representatives from Women’s Groups in the district. The procession marched from Dunlop to the Mayor’s Gardens at the Jinja Municipal Council Headquarters which was the venue of the “Democracy Fair.” The event was attended by the various political and non political actors in the district who included among others; the Vice Chairperson L.C.V, The Mayor of Jinja, Councilors, religious leaders, other civil society actors as well as exhibitors such as Uganda Human Rights Commission, Women Rights Initiative, Uganda Red Cross Society and PEFO. The business community was also represented by private institutions such as Orient Bank.

An equally receptive District Leadership welcomed the “Democracy Torch” in Kiboga District on 23rd August 2012 in an informative and lively “Democracy Fair” which was presided over by the LCV Chairperson, Kiboga District and was attended by 14 of the 19 District Councilors, the District Inspector of Police as well as Civil Society Organisations such as the Kiboga District NGO/CBO Forum, Kiboga Epi Centre Rural Bank, Action for Rural Women’s Empowerment, ALUWE Life Club and FOWEPLACK/Democracy for all Children.

On 29th and 31st August, the Torch was then passed on to the Districts of Mbarara and Masaka respectively and with no less zeal, the Project Team proceeded to the Districts of Kabale and Kisoro where even more enthusiasm to embrace these two activities under the project was exhibited by District leadership, civil society as well as other community members.

In Kabale for example, over 300 people participated in the ''Democracy Fair” which was held on Tuesday 4th September 2012 at the Kabale Stadium. In attendance was; the Vice Chairperson LC V Hon. Mary Bebwajuba who presided over the event, The District Speaker; Hon. Pastori Twinomuhangi who led the marching procession through the District as the Torch was being exhibited to the residents of Kabale, Secretary for Education and Health; Hon. Loy Zikampereza, Chairman LC III; Mr. Sentoro Byamugisha. The Police Standard Unit of the District was also represented by the D/ASP Jack Mugisha. The event culminated in the reception of the Torch by the various stakeholders in democracy promotion who collectively vowed to work together towards deepening democracy in Kabale District.

Kisoro District also registered a significant turn up for the fair as residents flocked the Mayor’s Gardens where the event was held to interact with the district leaders who were present. The District Speaker Hon. Amos Hakizimana moderated an open dialogue between the citizens and the leaders which brought to light issues such as the need to create mechanisms that will protect watchdogs such as the media and civil society actors working in democracy promotion in the district. Also emphasized was the need to continue in the fight to bring an end to sexualized violence in Kisoro District. Students who were present for the event made this appeal to the District Police leadership who were also in attendance. It was resolved that all stake holders including ACFODE which runs a project specifically addressing this issue in the district needed to aggressively work together to ensure that this problem is purged from the district.

Over the next 3 weeks the “Democracy Fairs” and reception of the “Democracy Torch” will take place in the districts of Arua, Lira, Pader, Soroti and Pallisa.

Watch this space for regular updates on these activities as well as others under the project, “Action for Strengthening Good Governance and Accountability”

Compiled by:
Sheila Kinaheirwe
Project Officer, ACFODE
Under the EU Supported Project; “Action for Strengthening Good Governance and Accountability.”

Monday, September 10, 2012

ACFODE Weekly News Round Up


A FORMER teacher at Muteesa I Memorial Primary School in Wakiso district, Vincent Bisegerwa, could soon face charges of indecent assault and defilement. According to the Police, 18 pupils say Bisegerwa defiled them. How It Started One morning, a pupil confi ded in the senior woman, Sarah Akia, that Bisegerwa had defi led her. "At first, I thought it was a joke,'' Akia told New Vision.

"I asked her whether she could testify against the teacher and she agreed." Akia said she talked to Bisegerwa about the matter and later reported it to the headmaster, Stephen Galiwango. "I interviewed the girl and went to the concerned offi ce at the district, but did not get any help. I was advised to go to the Police," Galiwango said.
Asked why it took long for him to find out about the vice, he said Bisegerwa was cunning and often threatened his victims. Read more


Thirty year-old Sherinah Mutesi was at her stall near Busega roundabout when she heard the news, at around 3pm, that the Katikiiro of Buganda had been stopped from going to Bugerere in Kayunga District. She says a group of boda boda cyclists started riding around aimlessly, burning tyres and tables on the roads which was almost sealed off from traffic. As the commotion intensified, they were forced to close their shops. The next day, Mutesi (pictured) thought the chaos had died down and that business would go on as usual. So she opened her stall at around 8am.

Mutesi had no idea that the whole of Busega area had been declared a "No-Go" zone because of the previous evening's chaos. She recalls that immediately she opened her shop, she saw military men beating whoever the eye could catch.  "Wherever you tried to run, you would be pushed back by the canes. They were so many that I lost count of the ones I received. I was eight months pregnant but I did not feel any pain until after two days. At 10pm that night, I felt something like labour pains," she says, adding that about two hours later, she produced a dead foetus. She did not return to her shop until two weeks later. Asked if she sought any compensation from any government institution, she says she would have loved to report to the police but her husband stopped her from pursuing the case. Read more


The Police in central district of Kiboga are investigating a case in which a woman is suspected to have murdered her husband and went into hiding. Emmanuel Mivule Ssebulime, 40, was discovered dead in their marital bed in Bamusuta village, Kiboga town, on Wednesday morning. The wife identified as Justine Nakawungu is being sought by the Police in connection with the matter. The district CID chief Godfrey Emojong said their daughter discovered the body at around 8am.

Police said the couple was reported to have had a bitter domestic quarrel on Tuesday night. Emojongo said that Nakawungu took off with three of their children. The area LC1 chairperson Susan Musisi said the couple had of late got into deep misunderstandings Nakawungu accusing her husband of extra marital sexual engagements. Emojongo said it was highly suspected that the deceased was poisoned during supper on Tuesday night.  Read more


The school term opened to a tragic beginning in Kampala yesterday as a three-year-old girl drowned on her first day at school. Sunshine Barasa died on her first day at her school located in the Kampala suburb of Bukoto, police confirmed last evening.

She was the daughter of Ministry of Works Engineer Andrew Barasa.   Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Ibin Ssekumbi confirmed the incident but said he did not have details by the time this newspaper contacted him Read more


Pacara Sub-county Councillor Job Mundara has requested the Adjumani District health office to carry out an investigation to verify his independent findings that at least seven pregnant mothers died in the maternity ward of Adjumani hospital in one day in the month of May.
Presenting his findings to the district's Social Services Committee yesterday, Mr Mundara said there is a problem in Adjumani hospital. "I have comprehensive evidence to support these findings. We all have to closely monitor and supervise how the hospital is fairing in terms of service delivery," Mr Mundara said.

Although he did not readily disclose details of his findings, Mr Mundara suggested that the district secretary for health makes a quick follow up of his report since there is urgent need to check the operation of the general hospital. The shocking report which caught majority of the councillors and the technical officers by surprise has generated numerous discussions. When the LC5 chairperson, Mr Nixon Owole, inquired if the statement was authentic because it was 'painful news to him', Mr Mundara assured members that his report was accurate.  The medical superintendent, Dr Dominic Drametu, however, denied the report, saying only four people died of maternal death last year. He confirmed that two mothers died of bleeding, one woman died following an abortion, while another died of a ruptured uterus. "I am not sure whether the findings are true, unless the rest of the deaths occurred in a place I do not know," Mr Drametu said. Read more


Gender activists have pledged to translate human rights laws into Arabic language to help fight sexual and gender-based violence among Muslim communities.  The activists, under the Muslim Centre for Justice and Law (MCJL) - an NGO, said many Muslims lack clear understanding of English --a language in which most laws are written.  Addressing journalists in Iganga recently, Mr Jafer Ssenganda, the chairperson MCJL, said rural Muslims are ignorant about their rights and other people's rights because they do not understands English.

"We have focused on relevant articles and sections concerning sexual and gender based violence and Chapter IV of the Constitution to release Muslims from all forms of oppression once they read the human right laws in a language they understand." Ms Sauda Nayiga, a counsellor with MCJL, said fighting violence should be by all communities, adding that the vice affects mostly women. She said the police, church leaders, politicians and local leaders should also join hands in spreading the law on gender-based violence. The project to fight the vice in Muslim communities started last year in different regions and is being concluded in the eastern region. Read more


The testimonies from the five young women recently rescued from sex slavery in Iraq were so heartrending that many members of parliament in the committee room shed a tear.
 As they narrated their accounts of repeated rape, sodomy, subjection to electric shocks, cigarettes burns in Iraq where they had gone in search for better opportunities, MPs on the committee on Gender, Labor and Social Development on Tuesday were seen wiping away tears.

"I literary became mad because I was overworked, fed poorly and the many men in the sprawling mansion took turns sleeping with me when and how they wanted without my consent", Noor Namazzi told the MPs.
 "I left my stall in Owino and my family in search of a better life but I lost it all because even my husband decided to marry another woman in my absence," Namazzi chocked, as she fought back tears. Read more


Jacent is a 40-year-old primary school teacher and a resident of Buwunga Sub-county, Masaka District, who went for HIV testing to ascertain her status in 2009. On finding out that she was positive, Jacent enrolled for ARVs at Uganda Cares Clinic in Masaka and has undergoing medication ever since. However, she says her husband has refused to go for treatment after realising that he, too, was infected. Jacent says her husband is putting her life and that of their four children at risk, after he refused to follow her advice and use a condom as she was instructed by the counsellors.  

"Every night, I am sexually harassed because he does not want to use condoms," she said. As a mother, she is worried that if she died now, no body would take care of her school-going children.  Jacent is one of more than 1,000 women living with HIV enrolled to acquire ARVs in Masaka District, who are complaining about their husbands that force them to have unprotected sex. The women fear that this may lead them to acquire more HIV-positive strains. The women, who are undergoing treatment at Uganda Cares Clinic, formally made the complaint to the District Speaker, Ms Phoebe Kyewalyanga, on Thursday last week. Read more


When I set out to unearth why some women shun contraceptives, I thought it would be a story I could do without running after many women. For me the reasons seemed like they would point to the same thing I have heard time and again, "the fear of side effects". Yes, most women I talked to highlighted the fear of getting complications from taking certain contraceptives as reason for shunning contraceptive use, but what other women shared made me realise the effort to encourage use of contraceptives is going to take more than significant financial pledges and other promises.

"I am not married," one of the ladies in the group I ambushed on a ladies night out, said. Prompting, I asked if she was saving sex for marriage, giggles and murmurs are what followed. "I am as good as one abstaining. Sex is a once in a while thing," she said before lady two interrupted to explain that sex once or twice a week meant it was rare hence she saw no need of using contraceptives. "It is unlikely that one will get pregnant with such inconsistency," the other added. One of the ladies revealed that although she may negotiate condom use, she is likely to have sex when the condoms run out. Baffled by the idea of young, working, seemingly informed women not planning to have a child yet shunning contraceptives basing on those ideas, I knew it was no longer the obvious. Read more


It is almost taboo to discuss abortion in Uganda, yet some 300,000 women seek abortion in Uganda with about 85,000 receiving treatment from complications of unsafe abortions. The Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR) commissioned research to explain the existing law, and the results are carried in a report titled: A Technical Guide to Understanding the Legal and Policy Framework of Termination of Pregnancy in Uganda. Shifa Mwesigye talked to CRR's Africa Regional Director, Elisa Slattery, about their findings.

You have just compiled a report on the abortion law in Uganda. What are the key findings?

The report is a mapping and analysis of the legal and policy framework around abortion in Uganda. We decided to do the research because in many places in Commonwealth East Africa, abortion laws are interpreted as wholly restrictive, prohibiting abortion entirely. This is not the case, and so a lack of clarity around the abortion law is one of the main barriers to safe abortion services. We thought it would be important to get a clear picture of what the actual legal and policy framework is. Read more


For the past three days, the newspapers have been awash with reports of a two and a half year old who drowned in a swimming pool at Acorn International School. Initial reports state that Sunshine Barasa drowned during the morning break and her body was discovered floating in the pool with the school's swimming pool attendant nowhere in sight. According to news reports, the child's parents warned the school administration twice about the potential danger this swimming pool (which apparently was still under construction and not gazetted) could be to the children. Police have attributed the incident to negligence by the school administration who failed to monitor one of their pupils causing her death.

The Uganda Law Society whose mandate it is to assist the public in all matters touching, ancillary or incidental to the law, will not sit back but speak out just like it always has, against such unacceptable conduct by the authorities we entrust our children with.  What went wrong and issues of liability. This incident no doubt screams negligence and is essentially a breach of trust whereby the school that was entrusted with the care and safety of this child failed to ensure her safety nor heed the warnings of her parents; resulting in her death. Schools are placed with a duty of care and owe it to children in their custody. Read more


Many girls, upon completing secondary school, aspire to join university, but still face the hurdle of not accessing higher education. Though they are intellectually able, they cannot afford university education and financial costs involved because of their disadvantaged background. A mother expecting to deliver a child, hear its first cry and hold it, does not live to see the moment. She is another statistic in Uganda's high maternity rate. At the other end, bringing up children is a challenge as fathers and mothers lack the time to instill in them values they would have desired.

These are the issues concerning women and children that Her Royal Highness, Sylvia Nagginda, the Queen of Buganda, is passionate about. As such, she champions the causes, or adds her voice, for a society in which development goes hand in hand with equity, modernity that does not trample the good traditional values, and progress that does not leave the vulnerable - the women, the girls, the children- behind.  Focusing on the nation's foundation
Nagginda's main focus is on early childhood care and development, girl child education, vocational training and youth employment for the youth, women empowerment of women, and health issues particularly but not limited to childhood diseases, nutrition, and HIV/Aids. Read more


Stomach ulcers are one ailment that has troubled so many people, without them understanding why it seems to persist or what even causes it in the first place. Doctors will tell you that this type of ulcers is caused by a germ called Helicobacter Pylori or as it is more commonly known H.Pylori "H.Pylori as a zoogenic bacteria which means that it is spread through eating of meat of animals which are infected with it," Dr Nabukenya Sengoba, a doctor at Victoria Medical Centre explains. This means that the root cause of ulcers is eating meat which has this bacterium.

And considering how much we love our meat, it is not suprising that the ulcers have become more common today. To make sure meat is free of the bacteria, it should be thoroughly cooked, by boiling or frying it, which brings us to mchomo or roasted meat. This delicious meat is a good source of H.Pylori since heat does not get to every part of the meat as it is being roasted. The bacteria itself has no signs or symptoms but once it stays in your body for a long time, it leads to atrophic gastritis. Dr Nabukenya explains that this is chronic inflammation of the stomach's lining, which we like to refer as wounds on the stomach. This is the point at which doctors say you have ulcers. Read more


There is an increase in Uganda of people needing kidney transplants. There are radio adverts and newspaper articles, telling the never-ending story of dialysis and a much-needed trip to New Delhi for a transplant.  Dr Eyoku Simon Peter, a nephrologist (kidney doctor) at Mulago National Referral Hospital, says there is evidence of a change in the causes of kidney injury.

Change in causes

Acute kidney infection to the glomeruli, located in the cortex, where the first filtration in our bodies takes place, used to be the most common and when not diagnosed early and managed, sent a lot of people to theatres for kidney transplants.  Acute glomerulo-nephritis is mostly caused by ischaemia, a loss of oxygen supply. Therefore, anaemic and sicklers (people with sickle cell anaemia) were at risk. Also, there were a lot of cases following operations, and accidents due to the intensive blood loss. Today, diabetes and hypertension, usually occurring together, are the most common, accounting for 47 per cent of AKI while HIV/Aids accounts for 29 per cent. The remaining 24 per cent is AKI due to damage to the glomeruli. Read more


The First Lady Janet Museveni Thursday launched vaccination drive targeting over 140,000 girls against cervical cancer at Anyeke primary school in the northern district of Oyam. The vaccination drive targets girls between 10 -13 years and is to be conducted in 12 districts. The launch was witnessed by Members of Parliament, ministers, dignitaries from donor partners and district officials in Lango sub region.

Mrs. Museveni commended the ministry of health for the cervical cancer vaccination. Health minister Dr Christine Ondoa said government is committed to delivery of health services to the people of Uganda which include immunization, malaria control, HIV/AIDS, non-communicable diseases   like cancer. She assured the public that the vaccine used is safe and it has been approved by World Health Organization and over 125 countries Worldwide have used it. Read more


Medical workers in Kamuli Mission Hospital in Kamuli district are stranded with a teenage student who delivered triplets by Caesarean section. Jamawa Babirye, aged 15, delivered triplets last Monday night after a relative dumped her in the maternity ward the previous evening and vanished. She is a student of Lubiri Secondary School in Kampala.

"We're happy that the operation was successful but concerned about the wellbeing of the mother and the babies," Rose Thumithor, the hospital administrator said on Wednesday. The visibly weary young mother told New Vision that her woes started last year when she met Farouk Nkaja who impregnated her. He is a draper in St. Balikuddembe market (Owino) in Kampala. When Babirye went for a scan some weeks later and found out that she was carrying triplets, Nkaja denied responsibility for the pregnancy. Read more


A 17-year study of about 30,000 middle-aged people found belly fat to be a leading cause of type 2 diabetes. Waist size and one's body mass index (BMI) have also been previously linked to the increased risk of high blood pressure, clogging of the arteries and heart attack. Researchers have found waist size to be more useful than BMI in predicting diabetes. Obesity is a well-known risk factor for diabetes, but these findings will help identify high-risk individuals, who, though not obese, are still vulnerable to the condition because of large amounts of mid-section fat.

BMI is a ratio of an individual's height to weight. This system has been under question as it fails to distinguish muscle from body fat and, most importantly, where the fat is located in the body. Waist circumference measures the amount of belly fat and how it is distributed throughout the body. Excess belly fat and organs Belly fat is a direct reflection of the amount of fat surrounding the vital organs. Read more


The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Saturday launched a HIV/AIDS workplace policy as a response to the Government's call to protect the health of its workforce. JSC chairman, retired Principal Judge James Munange Ogoola presided over the occasion that was held at Farmers House, Kampala. Commissioners Henry Kyemba, Grace Oburu and the secretary to the JSC, Kagole-Kivumbi attended the function. Other dignitaries included the Ministry of Public Service Principal Assistant Secretary Geoffrey Ettedu, Juliet Katushabe of AIDS Control Programme, Lydia Mubiru, a MoH counselor and many others.

Ogoola said that the JSC was keen to ensure that the employers, employees and, the consumers of the services rendered and the immediate community are all healthy to ensure productivity and national development.  He said that by launching the workplace policy on the scourge, the Commission had the aim of assisting its staff and other employees to become more open on their status and live a better life. The Commission's two counselors would liaise with the Ministry of Health and AIDS Control Programme counselors to effectively carry out a tangible noble job. Read more


Government has started registering all the people residing in Kampala as a measure to curb the high crime rate in the city and its neighbouring areas. All residents have to register with their Local Councils in all divisions starting this month. The outgoing Residential District Commissioner Alice Muwanguzi said registration is already on going in some divisions.

The move which was initiated by RDCs and other security organizations last month is aimed at collecting personal data of all residents for easy identification in case of crime and other related security concerns.  "We have already given out forms to various local councils in various divisions. Some like in Nakawa have started registration. We urge all people to respond positively," she said. Muwanguzi revealed this while handing over office to her successor Samuel Mpimbaza Hashaka at the Housing Finance building in Kampala. Read more


Children affected and infected with HIV/AIDS are calling for a special representative in parliament to express their problems and also lobby for their needs. Petitioning parliament recently, the children aged between 8, 11, 15, and above, said their representative in parliament should be a youth living with HIV and above 18 years.

"On behalf of all the children of Uganda, who are affected and infected with HIV/AIDS we request that this is implemented for an HIV free generation," said Paul Namanya one of the petitioners. The children said; "Many of us have acquired HIV/AIDS through defilement, we are sexually abused by people in our communities and our own parents and relatives who go unpunished even when we report".  Presenting their petition to the deputy speaker of parliament, Jacob Oulanyah one of the children Catherine Nakidde said; "our family members discriminate against us, they don't want to eat with us, they tell us that we are useless because we are HIV positive". Read more


Member of Parliament for Soroti municipality and former minister of state for Health, Capt George Mike Mukula, has asked for more time to secure documents from government officials, on which he intends to base his defence against allegations that he embezzled Shs 210m. The extension, which the anti-corruption chief magistrate's court granted on Friday, will also allow his lawyer, Atenyi Tibeijuka, whom he recently hired to boost his legal team, to study the file and determine the number of witnesses he intends to call in the marathon three-day defence.

"The witnesses may include, but [will not be] limited to the First Lady and minister for Karamoja, Janet Museveni; the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Health, Dr Asuman Lukwago; some of my co-accused persons who have so far been acquitted; and others, as my defence team may determine," Mukula told The Observer shortly after his request for adjournment had been granted. Read more


Despite the increased budget allocation to maternal health under the Primary Health Care programmes through the district health centres, Uganda may not achieve the Millennium Development Goal, a report by the Auditor General's office has revealed. The June 2011 report says district funding towards the same has been increasing progressively from Shs123.5 billion in 2008/09 to Shs192.9 billion in 2010/11 but with little success.  The Ministry of Health set a road map for accelerating reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality to ensure that a proportion of women attending antenatal care visits rises to 60 per cent by 2010 and 75 per cent by 2015.

However, the Auditor General's report puts the proportion of pregnant mothers attending all four ANC visits at 38.9 per cent in 2008/9, 36.3 per cent in 2009/10 and 34.1 per cent in 2010/11, hence a gradual decline. "The MoH objective of attaining 60 per cent of women attending all four Ante Natal Care visits by 2010 was not attained. Going by this trend, achieving 75 per cent by 2015 may also not be achieved. This will hinder achieving the MDG objective on reducing maternal and infant Mortality in the country," part of the report reads. Read more


Last July, at the London Summit on Family Planning, several; African Heads of State made commitments to improve the funding of Family Planning for poor women in their countries. The summit, sponsored by the British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, lay emphasis on the ongoing lack of family planning services for millions of poor women in the developing world. It solicited for global support to increase funding to match the unmet need for family planning. Leaders made unprecedented commitments financially and politically to strengthen their family planning programmes. Going forward, the challenge for all stakeholders will be to ensure that financial pledges made by donors and developing country governments materialise and that individual women's needs and rights remain at the core of the implementation phase.

Speech by H. E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda at Summit, July 11, 2012 I wish to thank the Government of the United Kingdom, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other partners for organising this summit. The issue of population in Africa must be put in a proper context and discussed accurately without complacence, exaggeration or panic. Africa is the origin of man (five million years ago) and is also the cradle of civilization (Egypt). Until 100,000 years ago, all humans lived only in Africa. When the Diaspora of humans out of Africa started, however, the out of Africa population grew much faster than we the stayees. About 100,000 years ago, the population in Africa was one million people while that out of Africa was just a few hundreds. Read more


Approximately 200,000 Ugandan women are currently suffering from obstetric fistula, an official has confirmed. According to health minister Dr Christine Ondoa, the problem has arisen because many females do not receive suitable care when they are giving birth, UG Pulse reports.

She has therefore confirmed efforts are being launched to improve healthcare provision for expectant mothers in Uganda. Dr Ondoa said this will include an awareness campaign across the country that will focus on safe mother hood. Figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that obstetric fistula currently affects many thousands of women across the globe. Read more


Prudence Ukkonika, K-Roma; Bella Wine and juice

THE LESSON: In business, you need patience and determination, and to know that sometimes you have to make losses to ensure sustained growth through assured quality. In 2003, I went to the Catholic mission in Lira, and a man taught me a wine recipe he had learnt from an Italian. That year, I made my first batch of wine using Shs30,000 worth of passion fruits, a small blender, five kilos of sugar and two jerry cans, from the confines of my home in Kampala, but a relative later rented me a house, where I operated.
I needed to present taxi invoices in the supermarkets where I marketed the wine, then packaged in plastic containers, so, I had to register my company and that is how K-Roma was born. I soon started buying sugar in bags, and fruits direct from farmers.

I attended business workshops and also did a diploma and degree course in business administration. My son, who now does the book keeping, was in A-Level then, but he did a course in commerce when he joined university, so my company had more expertise. I started selling organic fruit juice to supplement the wine. When the business started growing, rent and financial sustenance became my biggest challenge. A grant of Shs200m from Uganda Industrial Research who I presented with my business proposal and challenges was what bailed me out and saw me well on my way. With the grant, I rented bigger premises in Wandegeya and improved packaging. Today, the business makes enough money to meet our costs. The company now makes varying profits, which I inject back into the business so that I do not have to take loans. Read more

Sandra Nassali & Esther Namitala
Public Relations & Communications Department
Action For Development

Monday, September 3, 2012

ACFODE Weekly News Round Up

Most cases of domestic violence incidents such as the ones the press have been reporting about result in deaths, and this impacts negatively on many more people, especially those who the deceased lives behind. Even when the violence does not end in homicide, it often tears marriages or families apart. In recent months, we have had stories in the media of a mother either committing suicide, infanticide or abandoning her responsibility due to a number of reasons. The latest incident unfolded on Tuesday, when a 35-year-old mother Gonza Nanteza threw herself from a cliff and drowned with her six-month-old daughter. According to reports, she committed suicide after she allegedly found her husband in their marital bed with another woman.

Gonza's story is not an isolated case as it is becoming a trend. Reasons behind such horrific incidents are always related to infidelity, sexual violence, and domestic violence, among others. These acts beg the question as to whether the campaign against domestic violence and respect for women's rights is yielding any fruit. It also begs the question as to whether it is time to change the approach in fighting this vice.
The police investigation reports show that homicide has increased in the last three years. It also reports there were 159 cases of domestic violence in 2011. The glitch is that domestic violence programmes are not keeping pace with the demand for related services. Read more


Resorting to Islamic teachings urging protection of women and children rights, Ugandan officials have called on Muslim scholars to spread a message of gender equality to curb domestic violence in southern Uganda's Busoga region. "Gender based Violence cases are ranked high in Busoga sub region," Joshua Kitakule, the Secretary General of the Inter Religious Council (IRC), told New Vision newspaper on Tuesday, August 28. "So it is the religious leaders to take on with the opportunity of training their followers the dangers accrued to the vice so that it is reduced in the region." Kitakule made the call during a two-day training for senior Muslim religious leaders in Busoga sub region in Bugiri district on Saturday.

He urged Muslim scholars to advise followers to be kind and considerate to their wives in their homes. "A lot of women and men seek assistance in domestic violence cases at Police, NGOs and local leaders like village L.C chairpersons," Kitakule said. "But it is your duty as Muslim leaders to encourage them to work as a team between husband and wife in their various homes in order to build a good family despite one's religion." Scholars were also urged to encourage parents to inculcate discipline into their children at home right from childhood until they are grown up. "Uganda will soon celebrate 50 years of existence so things you do must show that you are elders and respectable in your homes," Kitakule said. Read more


As Parliament debates the Marriage and Divorce Bill, women MPs are divided on whether to scrap cohabitation clauses in the Bill or leave them in. The divisions manifested during a two-day workshop to discuss the Bill held at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala starting Friday.

Cohabitation, dowry and marital rape emerged as the major issues in the Bill, which are still contentious despite the fact that the committee on legal and parliamentary affairs that was tasked to study the Bill has its report almost ready. While some MPs advocated for scrapping of cohabitation from the Bill, others insisted it should remain. Those in favour of doing away with it argued that cohabitation is not a form of marriage and therefore has nothing to do with marriage or divorce – the subjects of the Bill. They proposed that there should be a separate law on cohabitation. Read more


The adage 'Too much love kills' may not be false afterall, since it came into action on Tuesday when a 35-year-old businesswoman threw herself from a cliff and drowned with her six-month-old daughter. The problem started two weeks back when 35-year-old Gonza Nanteza of Lwamunnyo Island in Division B Entebbe Municipality allegedly found her husband in their marital bed with another woman. "On finding her husband, she picked his shoes and threw them in the lake, which angered him and he started beating her up, the incident climaxing with the woman drowning herself," Ms Abdul Lukenge, a neighbour and witness, said. Mr Lukenge said Nanteza has always been crying and threatening to do something bad after her husband, Emmanuel Byaruhanga, betrayed her trust.

The neighbour, who claims that he was Nanteza's best friend, says she decided to end her life two weeks before the incident and was always loudly playing the local hit 'Abantu Bakoowu' literally meaning 'people are tired'. "She once asked me if a baby can drown in the lake and I told her babies don't drown but I didn't read into what she was gearing at until the sudden occurrence," Mr Lukenge said. Mr Exepedito Sekanjako, another witness, said from the time Mr Byaruhanga allegedly assaulted his wife, she was acting frustrated, saying the baby would not grow and her days on earth were numbered. "On Monday, she went around collecting money from whoever owed her, saying she doesn't want to die and leave people with her money," Mr Sekanjako said. He added that Nanteza also distanced herself from people prior to her suicide. Read more


Muslim leaders have been urged to mentor and train their followers to continue curbing domestic violence in Busoga sub region. The Secretary General of the Inter Religious Council (IRC) Joshua Kitakule made the call during a two day out reach gender based violence training for senior Muslim religious leaders in Busoga sub region at GIL GAL guest house in Bugiri district on Saturday. "Gender based Violence cases are ranked high in Busoga sub region so it is the religious leaders to take on with the opportunity of training their followers the dangers accrued to the vice so that it is reduced in the region," Kitakule said.

He added that they should urge their followers to be kind and considerate to their wives in their homes instead of battering them up before their children whenever they are in the wrong. "A lot of women and men seek assistance in domestic violence cases at Police, NGOs and local leaders like village L.C chairpersons but it is your duty as Muslim leaders to encourage them to work as a team between husband and wife in their various homes in order to build a good family despite one's religion," Kitakule said. Read more


I am impressed by the Uganda Health Marketing Group's diarrhoea treatment advert where a female pediatrician is used to promote the treatment. We are used to adverts both in the electronic and print media depicting women in traditional roles of mothering and caring for homes. Many times, women are used to advertise detergent powders while washing clothes, cooking oil while baking chapatis, etc.

There is the famous one for Blue band where a mother on a boda boda takes buttered bread to her daughter on her way to school. Such adverts often ignore the positive roles women play in society and this may not be very inspiring to young girls. As we invest more in girls' education, we need to continuously encourage them to aspire for professional jobs, including in the non-traditional areas for women. One reason we still have few females joining science courses is due to no deliberate encouragement of girls to venture in sciences. Let us use such adverts to portray women positively. Read more


Experts have revealed that 35, 000 abortions in Uganda are induced every year which leads to the death of children before or after delivery. Obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Charles Kiggundu, confirmed these figures saying, "There are over two million conceptions in Uganda every year. 200,000 to 300,000 of these miscarry or abort spontaneously but 350,000 abortions in Uganda are induced," he said.

He spoke during a breakfast meeting convened by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Centre for Human Rights and Development in Kampala yesterday, to discuss the laws and policies on abortion in Uganda. "90,000 of the induced abortions end up with severe complications but only a half of them access post abortion services," Dr. Charles said. "Only half of the women with complications seek medical care. A few survive but many others die," he added.Read more


Civil society organisations have asked the Government to clarify the existing laws on abortion. According to them, the existing laws are grossly misunderstood to the extent that women who should access abortion services are blocked and stigmatized.This was at a workshop organised by the Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and the Centre for Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) at the Serena Hotel in Kampala.

Quoting mortality statistics, they said that Uganda loses more than 6000 mother annually to pregnancy related causes and 26% of them are due to unsafe abortions. They said that a number of those who survive get scarred for life that they are unable to have children. Judith Akol, the Regional director of Reproductive Health Rights said that in Uganda, lack of information on abortion related laws and policies is fueling differing understanding of the issue to the detriment of those who should be benefitting from them. Read more


We advocate for human rights from almost all aspects of life but abortion is one act against human rights that some people are steadily advocated for. There have been debates on whether to legalise medical abortion directly or indirectly. The law in Uganda is still protective against abortion unless the pregnancy poses a health risk to the mother /child. However, with technological improvement as well as more research being done, doctors will agree that with most pregnancy-related risks, a mother and child can both be saved. Ethically, when doctors are dealing with pregnant women, they are in effect dealing with two patients who they must save. An unborn child is a human being.

Rape and incest are very traumatic and should be handled very carefully not to inflict more pain on the victims. When victims of these disheartening acts opt for abortion first, they get exposed to the numerous consequences of abortion such as guilt, high likelihood of damaging the reproductive organs, excessive bleeding, and in extremes, death. Besides, the abortion processes - whether medical or traditional - are not only very brutal to the mother, but also the unborn child. The unborn child does not deserve to die for the acts of their father. Abortion actually protects the perpetrators of these crimes since some of the evidence; the child, is done away with. Read more


Women legislators from southern and eastern Africa want their parliaments to improve the debate on the maternal and child health. Meeting in Kampala this week during the Southern and East African Parliamentary Alliance of Committees of Health (SEAPACOH) assembly, the MPs said they specifically wanted the country's budgets to be informed by the debates on maternal and child health. The meeting brought together MPs from Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Botswana, Mali, Nigeria, Namibia and Malawi.

"To a great extent, parliamentary debates and committee meetings on maternal and child health should be held in advance of budget drafting, so the budget can be informed by them," Dr Blessing Chebundo, the SEAPACOH chairman said. They also want sufficient funds directed to the most vulnerable groups, including the poorest households, rural communities and minority groups. The guest of honour, First Lady Janet Museveni, advised the MPs to identify practical ways of domesticating resolutions on issues affecting the health of women and children. Read more


Cases of obstetric fistula are on the rise in Uganda, a specialist based in the nation says. According to health minister Dr Christine Ondoa, neglected labour is the reason for the increase in the condition. As many as 200,000 women in Uganda are thought to suffer from obstetric fistula, reports Ultimate Media.

Dr Ondoa pointed out that it is women who give birth at an early age or relatively late in life who have high chances of developing fistula when they give birth. Health equipment has now been donated to Uganda in a bid to reduce the number of cases of obstetric fistula in the country. It is believed close to 2,000 new cases of obstetric fistula are recorded in Uganda every year. Figures from the World Health Organization suggest the condition - which is claimed to be highly preventable - affects between 50,000 and 100,000 women around the world every year. Read more


The Kaliro district chairman, Wycliffe Ibanda, has hailed the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, for spearheading the fight against corruption in Parliament. "Mama, we are behind you because of what you are doing and if all leaders emulated you, then we would receive medicine even in our health facilities here," Ibanda said. Ibanda was among scores of leaders in the district who welcomed Kadaga at Kyani primary school in Bumamya sub-county. The speaker was in the district to launch a campaign against malaria. At least two mosquito nets will be distributed to each household.

Junior Environment Minister Flavia Munaba Nabugere, agreed with Ibanda, saying that Kadaga is never biased. "I want to assure you that our mother here is an accommodative woman who listens to all members in the House irrespective of gender, age or political affiliation and I believe that is a rare quality among most leaders," Munaba noted. Before she arrived at the venue, Kadaga had been mobbed by a jubilant crowd which was happy to see her. The Speaker, who was expected at Kyani at 12 p.m., arrived after 3 p.m. but about 3,000 people patiently braved the scotching sun to have a glimpse of her. Read more


Don't believe it when your woman says she can't run for this or the other reason, or she cannot drive, or cannot do this or that. Either she doesn't want you to know she can do it, or the time for her to show it is not yet due. On the flip side, there are things she will only do in your presence, but away from you, she is the dignified, gentle soul, who is the envy of the other rowdy women. Do you remember the day a centipede wandered into your bedroom and your wife saw it? Even before she could explain what had happened, she was up on the wardrobe top, her perfume bottles, hand-held mirrors and other things she uses in her facial fine art, flying all over the place.

This, while she screamed incoherently, waving her arms about like an insane windmill? Remember that day? Well, that picture of a terrified, helpless child she painted was entirely for your benefit. One day, in your absence, it was a shiny, black snake that entered the house. Being alone, she got dead scared alright but, keeping her eye on the lethal reptile, she tiptoed to the store, where she picked a metallic rod, returned and sought the snake from behind the telly stand where it was hidden and hit it right where it stood no chance of survival - on the head. You never got to know for two reasons - one, she took it out herself and two, why should she tell you, yet the day she sees a gecko, she will need your help? Read more


A woman who sued the Government over the shooting of her husband by Policemen leading to his death in 2008 has been awarded sh25m compensation by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC). A tribunal sitting at the commission's Jinja office presided over by Commissioner Fauzat Mariam Wangadya, ordered Government to pay Salima Akia Atan the money as general damages for violation of her husband Rashid Atan's right to life. "The sh25m will carry interest at court rate with effect from August 23, 2013 until full payment is made," Wangadya stressed in her judgement dated August 24, 2012.

Akia, 47, a resident of Adal village in Apopong sub-county, Pallisa district, sued the Attorney General in June 2008 accusing the Police of killing her husband. In her complaint Akia said A Police officer identified only as Mugwa attached to Apopong Police post accompanied by eight colleagues, all armed with guns, stormed their home on June 8, 2008 at 2.00am, to arrest Atan following an assault case lodged against him by one Tukei. She added that the Policemen ordered Atan to open the door but he did not comply forcing them to kick it open and entered. She said as Atan complied with a directive to move out of the house, Mugwa shot him in the right hip. Read more

Healthcare professionals, lawyers, policymakers, and reproductive health advocates are gathering today in Kampala to discuss abortion laws and policies in Uganda, addressing current misunderstandings of the country's position and discussing strategies to reduce unsafe abortions. Representatives from the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development are leading the discussion. Uganda's laws and policies addressing abortion are unclear, confusing, and often contradictory. Consequently, although abortion is legal to preserve the life or mental or physical health of a woman and in cases of sexual assault, many people--including health care professionals--are under the impression that abortion is illegal.

"The true content and scope of Uganda's abortion laws needs to be clarified and publicized if health care providers are to be able to provide the critical reproductive health services that are every woman's fundamental human right," said Elisa Slattery, regional director for Africa at the Center for Reproductive Rights. "The government must broaden access to information among health care professionals and the public at large. It's the only way to ensure the safe provision of reproductive health care, and stop unsafe abortion from killing and disabling women in Uganda," said Moses Mulumba, executive director of the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development. Read more


Medical workers in Kamuli Mission Hospital in Kamuli district are stranded with a teenage student who delivered triplets by Caesarean section. Jamawa Babirye, aged 15, delivered triplets last Monday night after a relative dumped her in the maternity ward the previous evening and vanished.

She is a student of Lubiri Secondary School in Kampala. "We're happy that the operation was successful but concerned about the wellbeing of the mother and the babies," Rose Thumithor, the hospital administrator said on Wednesday. The visibly weary young mother told New Vision that her woes started last year when she met Farouk Nkaja who impregnated her. He is a draper in St. Balikuddembe market (Owino) in Kampala. Read more


After failing to convince the government to set a minimum wage for Uganda's labour force over the last two decades, male unionists have now given a chance to their female counterparts to spearhead the campaign. Launching what is being dubbed as the "re-energised" campaign for a minimum wage in Kampala over the weekend, the National Organisation of Trade Unions (Notu) secretary for women said they are ready to take up the challenge of the fight to achieve a minimum wage. "As women, we are naturally more persuasive than men and there is no office we shall enter and they refuse to listen to us," Ms Victoria Nanteza said.

Unionists have for long been pushing President Museveni's various administrations to fix the minimum wage at Shs250,000 to protect workers from exploitation. Their efforts have, however, met with steady resistance from the government, amid lobbying by some private sector interests. In the early years of the campaign for a minimum wage, the government's main response was that because the country's economy was still emerging from years of destruction caused by devastating civil strife, it would be unwise to do anything which would discourage potential investors from setting up shop in Uganda. Read more


Few years ago world leaders promised a commitment strategically aimed at achieving a set targets as clearly drafted and earmarked by United Nations Council. During this worldly assembly, the basic tasks were; reducing extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education, halting the spread of HIV/Aids, malaria and other deadly diseases before 2015. Almost two years left to meet the designated deadline, the then paper work has not been essentially given massive attention especially in Africa where the impact is felt much. In his rare address to mark the BBC 70th anniversary, the former United Nations Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan, said: "These are minimum, achievable goals, with a clear deadline: 2015.

They are achievable, not by holding more world conferences, but by people like you, in every country, coming together and taking action." This necessarily meant that every individual should be concerned and action should prevail without fail. However, many African countries have not conclusively laid out policies to smartly combine the international privileges got from the donor community with the local efforts to outclass these evils affecting the continent. Only such sacrifices have been diverted to wrong pockets through corruption. Read more


Menstrual periods can be messy time, so a lot of thinking and research is being put in to make the days as normal as possible. As such, various kinds of sanitary material have been made: there are disposable pads, reusable pads, cotton pads, tampon, among many others. Add to ths list, menstrual cup, also known as the moon cup. In Uganda, the menstrual cup which has only but recently been introduced on the market is the latest addition to the table of alternatives that women can use to take care of themselves during their menstrual periods. It is not so available on the local market that a couple of gynaecologists in the country that we talked to were not familiar with it.

Its form

The menstrual cup takes the form of a funnel when held upwards and of a bell when held upside down. It is made of non-latex medical-grade silicone so it feels like hard but flexible rubber. It is in two sizes: small and big. The small one is recommended for women that have never had a normal birth and the big one for women that have had a normal birth.

How it works

Unlike sanitary towels, pads and tampons that work in a way that they absorb the menstrual flow, the cup like the name suggests, collects the fluids.
It holds up to 30ml and most women, according to Dr Mike Kagawa, a gynaecologist at Mulago Hospital, can produce between 60ml and 80ml during their periods. On average, menstruation periods last four days which comes to about 16ml of flow daily. Read more


Walking through downtown in Kampala city can be so flabbergasting. The areas of Owino market, Kikuubo, Old Taxi Park, Luuwum and Ben Kiwanuka streets are parts of the city always crowded and busy. I went down town over the weekend and I was filled with amazement upon seeing how women were especially engaged in doing business. It is a common scene hawking, drumming, clapping, whistling, calling buyers for merchandise and services.Women are engaged in all kinds of petty trade such as food vending, sweeping the streets, garbage collection, sales, taxi drivers, taxi drivers, security guards, hair salon vending, baby sitters, bar maids, among others.

On Luwuum street above the old taxi park, a number of young women line up in strategic points of buildings such as Majestic Plaza in the crowded verandahs of the street, softly call on passerby women for a hair do in Luganda, the native language in Kampala. "Nyabo, jangu osibe enviri, ebei enungi" meaning, madam come I plait your hair at a good price". Some women act as 'middlemen' for saloon owners. Many women have recently informally trained in hair dressing but have no capital to begin a saloon; therefore plaiting is the easiest because it only requires a comb to work on a client. On average plaiting one person 'pencil' hair style goes for about 20,000= (8 US $) which takes 4 hours. On a typical busy day in Kampala, women are seen with piles of plates of food delivered to clients in their work places in shops, stalls etc at a commission fee from the restaurant business owners.Read more


Women in rural areas in developing countries are not equally vulnerable to climate change. A woman's resilience to the various impacts of climate change depends on her social status, her access to resources, and involvement in social networks. In some cases, one woman can be more resilient than her neighbour, and even be more resilient than some men in her village. Women are also not necessarily victims of climate change but can contribute to finding solutions on how to cope with climate change. The same applies for men. But in order to adress the gender-based needs and differences that exist, more information from the ground is required.

The newly released Working Paper Participatory gender-sensitive approaches for addressing key climate change-related research issues moves from theory to practice through the testing of pre-prepared participatory research tools in Bangladesh, Ghana and Uganda. The tools were first developed in the gender-manual "Gender and Climate Change Research in Agriculture and Food Security for Rural Development" (PDF) released earlier this year, together with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The rationale behind the manual and the field tests was to get a better understanding of the reality female and male farmers face, and find gender-differences that impede climate change adaptation in developing countries. Read more


In a move that MPs on the Appointments Committee have described as bullish and unacceptable, President Museveni telephoned Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Monday and asked her to ensure that Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere was approved as minister. Kadaga made this revelation during a closed-door discussion with members of the committee on Monday shortly before Kabwegyere, the newly appointed minister of Gender, Labour and Social Affairs, appeared for vetting, sources on the committee told The Observer. "Hon Kadaga said the President called her [asking] that we approve Kabwegyere], saying he would later move him to another docket," one source told us.

Prior to Kabwegyere's appearance, a group of women, led by Oyam South MP Betty Amongi, also chairperson of Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA), had reportedly petitioned the Speaker, saying Kabwegyere, the former MP for Igara East, was unfit for his appointment because he is insensitive to gender issues. The group included women rights activists Miria Matembe, Irene Ovonji, Jackie Asiimwe, and Sarah Kiyingi. They said Kabwegyere frustrated the Domestic Relations Bill and would not be the right person to head the gender ministry. The activists also met the government Chief Whip, Justine Kasule Lumumba, to reiterate their rejection of Kabwegyere. Sources told us that Lumumba informed the President about the women's petition, prompting the urgent call to Kadaga to lobby for Kabwegyere's approval. Read more


As candidates for the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidency hit the campaign trail, Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA) President Beti Olive Namisango Kamya has shown her soft spot for one. Kamya on Sunday, August 26, described Nandala Mafabi as her political role model, whose mobilization skills are likely to change the trend of politics in the country. This was at a fundraising function for St Andrew's Church of Uganda in Lwamaggwa sub-county, Rakai district, where Mafabi was Kamya's special guest. The church, which requires about Shs 39m for renovation, was started by Kamya's grandfather who was a catechist, the late Andrew Kamya, in 1897.

To keep her family legacy alive, Kamya holds an annual event here at which she hosts politicians and business personalities to support development projects, including the church and schools named after her late father, Samson Kalibbala Kamya. Kamya, who was once Mafabi's colleague in both Reform Agenda and later FDC before she acrimoniously left the party to form UFA, described Parliament's Leader of Opposition as her close buddy. She said she is proud to have been a founder member of FDC and still admires Mafabi's leadership and mobilization skills. The function came days after Kamya called for a free and fair FDC election, asking outgoing FDC president Dr Kizza Besigye not to support any candidate as it may bias delegates. Read more


When Joan Nsungwa, 33, gave birth to a bouncing baby boy three years ago, little did she know that the health of her child would soon deteriorate. "When Miracle Asinguza was three weeks old, he started vomiting and got persistent fever before the head started swelling gradually," she says sadly before bursting into tears. Nsungwa, a peasant farmer, does not know the illness that threatens the life of her child. She is also not sure of whether she can raise the money for the treatment. She has abandoned farming, her main source of livelihood to pay attention to her child. Unfortunately, there is little or no progress in improving Asinguza's health.
"The head continues to swell and I have not raised any money for treatment," she adds.

She keeps walking around the streets of Hoima town fundraising for her child's treatment but few have come to her rescue. "When I'm lucky, I get between Shs2,000 to Shs5,000 a day," she says as she repeatedly weeps while looking at the head of her child. After realising there is little hope in raising the money, the family has taken Asinguza back to their home in Buswekera North LCI in Busiisi Division of Hoima municipality, about six kilometres away from Hoima town. Asinguza's father William Kitakule, 62, is a subsistence farmer just like the mother who also keeps complaining about his own deteriorating health. Read more


"Fortunate Mbabazi, a mother of two started using food supplements before breast feeding her child for the recommended six months. "I gave birth to my first born child to a normal birth, but when it came to breastfeeding him, I rarely used to follow what mothers were supposed to do which was breast feed the child for six months. When I delivered, they took us through steps of breastfeeding and the doctors told us that we were supposed to breast feed the child exclusively for six months. But when I got home, I started using food supplements before the six months.

This was due to laziness on my part. This not only put the baby at risk because his intestines were not yet used to these other food supplements but I also failed to produce enough milk for him, which I later learnt came as a result of not breast feeding him enough. I did not know that even stress can limit breast milk production. When I took long without breast feeding, I started getting nipple problems. However, when it came to my second born, I visited a clinic that specialises in breastfeeding where I was told the only solution to the little breast milk and painful nipples was to actually breastfeed the child. Now with my second born whom I breast feed exclusively, I no longer feel the pains I used to feel, and the child is also responding well. The baby is actually healthy. It is so true that as the baby continues to suckle, the milk production also increases." Read more


Doctors insist there is no situation where a woman who has delivered fails to produce breast milk for their babies. It is rather that most women fail, especially psychologically, to rightly stimulate production, writes Christine Katende. Almost all nursing mothers have a fear - that they will not have enough breast milk for their babies. Therefore mothers give it as a reason for stopping to breast feed or introducing supplementary foods to the baby at an early stage. According to Dr Nelson Ssewagudde, a gynecologist, a mother needs to know that breast milk is produced from stored energy formed during pregnancy. He says the first thing every nursing mother should do is determine whether her supply is low or not.
"There are really few incidences where a mother fails to produce breast milk completely, at least they shall not have enough but it shall be there," notes the doctor.

Encourage demand

The doctor explains that with breastfeeding, the brain is stimulated to produce more milk with an increase in demand for the milk, so the first thing to do to stimulate production is continue placing the baby on the breast to suckle. The demand, to the brain, is demonstrated by milk being gotten out of the breast, either by suckling or expressing the milk out of the breast. "The more important thing is how the baby feeds and how it is positioned while suckling the breast. The longer a baby nurses at the mother's breast, the more milk will be produced and it is one of the best ways breast milk can be stimulated," he explains. Read more


"I can make for you a mix for your face. It is going to work to brighten your complexion and smoothen it, "A promise every woman wants to hear and the sales girl at the beauty shop, one of those high end ones scattered in the city centre, knew this when trying to sell me her wonder face creams. I was curious on what was contained in that concoction, and Ms Salesgirl listed several creams, lotions and tubes which made this wonder-mix. Now mixing several products wouldn't be the worst crime committed by the beauty industry and even if the doctor or some other learned folk may have something to say about combining the different active ingredients in the various lotions, there shouldn't be something life threatening. Except that on that list were two or three medicinal tubes, the type that you only use with a prescription and I am pretty sure only for the period you have a diagnosed skin affliction.

"To have it in a cream you are supposed to use daily" did not make any sense, not to mention it could be dangerous and I did not hesitate to point this out. Miss Sales Lady, after a long suffering sigh, explained that the magic of the whole mix lay in these ingredients. And several other substances that I suspect contain hydroquinone or mercury. Now, I must admit there was a bit of my world famous "you are dead to me look", for implying my skin is not smooth or bright enough (like the next woman, even if it is not I do not want to hear it). For trying to sell me cancer in a jar ,I had no words, especially when I thought how many other gullible women, keen on achieving that perfect complexion and trusting the beauty shop, have bought the cream. That this unscrupulous saleslady has the guts to do her pitch means she gets away with it and that because there are several women seeking the very solutions she offers health implications notwithstanding. Read more



In the same era where a lecturer openly protested against teaching a female student in a mathesmatics class, one girl went ahead to become the first female doctor in the region, changing the course of history that women were not meant to have an education, let alone study sciences, writes Robert Mugagga. There was a time when a male tutor at the university walked out of class in protest because there was a female student that chose to offer mathematics. Vowing not to come back unless she left, he teased about whether she had mistaken the class for a labour ward. Little wonder therefore that during that time, there were hardly in women in the science professions like medicine or engineering. The highest rank women would attain in medicine was that of a nurse, which has seen people in the villages still refer to even female doctors as nurses while referring to male nurses to as Doctor.

A child is born

It was about that era that in Kampala suburbs of Nsambya, a modest and little known couple-Joseph Lule, a school teacher, and Maria Magadalena Lule, a house wife-gave birth to the first of their later to be 13 children, a bouncing baby girl. It was this girl, named Josephine Nambooze, that would later make history by becoming the first female doctor, not only in Uganda, but in the whole of East and Central Africa. One of her siblings, James Ssekajugo, a doctor himself working with the ministry of health, says of his sister as having been a brilliant sister that inspired academic brilliance in the rest of them. it therefore came as no surprise when she later earned herself a scholarship to Mt St Mary's Namagunga for her secondary education from St Joseph Nsambya where Nambooze attended her primary school. Read more


Having seen her mother breastfeed her siblings, she knew breast milk was the only food a mother should give her baby. When she became a mother in 2004, Josephine Nalugo, an infant and young child feeding counsellor and director at Children In Africa, Uganda breastfeeding project got excited. "I looked forward to many things, including breastfeeding, which I did without any challenges during maternity leave," she recalls. Nalugo, a mother of two girls, says after her leave ended, she was torn between work and taking care of her baby. She recalls requesting her boss to work half day so she could have the afternoon to care for the baby. Fortunately, her boss did not object.

When Nalugo took her baby for immunisation, it turned out that she had not gained any weight, which worried her. "The nurses advised me to express milk and leave it home, but I did not know how to do it. I read about expressing milk and learnt how to do it." Nalugo recalls being pressured by her friends to feed the baby on formula. "I was forced to buy formula, but when I mixed it and tasted it, it was tasteless. I broke down and cried. I abandoned formula and continued to express breast milk, especially when I returned home in the evenings after work and every morning," she recounts. When her daughter was about two months, Nalugo visited her parents in Nkonkonjeru in Buikwe district to learn how they managed to breastfeed 10 children. Read more

Sandra Nassali & Esther Namitala
Public Relations & Communications Office
Action For Development (ACFODE)