Wednesday, May 31, 2017

WE CAN MAKE IT IF OUR RIGHTS ARE RESPECTED BY GOVERNMENT


" We were removed from the forest and just thrown on the outskirts, until some NGOs came here and supported us these things you see here" The King of the Batwa Chieftain in Bundibugyo District reiterated and shaking his head during a community meeting with the Batwa Community in Ntandi Town Council, Bundibugyo District on 30th May, 2017.  A joint team of RWECO including RICNET, RIDE AFRICA and KALI had organised the meeting at which the Ntandi Town Coucncil Local Council (LCIII) chairperson was put to task as to why the Batwa were not considered in the operation wealth creation program. In response the LCIII chairperson, immediately pledged to give maize and potato stems to the Batwa who were willing to go to the garden even when they had no space at their community.

Despite the challenges, the Batwa community are welcoming, have a rich cultural history which is not documented and have almost lost their lutwa language.

King Zito Geffrey lead the Batwa in a traditional dance,  May 30th, 2017



Women and children participating in the dance as  sign of appreciation to RWECO

Not all was lost as the Batwa Community have formed a Community based organistion that they called Batwa Community Tukulakulane Association ( BACOTA). The LCIII chairperson pledged also to support the Batwa if they could register their CBO so as to benefit from government programs like youth livelihoods and women's fund. It was noted that the Batwa through the CBO would lobby other development partners to support their agenda on human rights promotion.
We talk Human Rights now:  the Chairperson of the Batwa Women's Council listening the translation of human rights in Lubwisi

Children, youth and adults and elderly were all assembled in the Roman Catholic Church as main hall for training: 30th May, 2017
While the Batwa are listed as one of the indigenous communities of Uganda ( 1995 Constitution), their history is doted with a life not well led: why long story of our ancestral home was taken away from us, but cant you settle here now was the question many people have asked, but where? if no one was concerned about our plight, our life has changed, intermarriage no more lutwa language, not even a single word written in the history of Uganda about the lutwa language, unless otherwise. We cant continue lamenting what was available must be documented like the cultural heritage. When UWA as asked about the Batwa trail in Semuliki National Park,  they noted that about 6 Batwa guides were identified but the problem was that they dont know the English "Queen's Language"

Thats why RWECO has questioned the integration program of the Batwa community in Bundibugyo district.

RWECO team
Charles Kaliba
Geofrey Bwambale
Micah Mutahunga
Farridah  Ihunde
Jimmy  Odyek

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

KASESE DISTRICT TEACHERS RETOOLED IN PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN



Kasese district local government and RWECO have signed an MoU to retool teachers in prevention of violence against children. RWECO facilitated the Office of the District Education department to carry out the training in 8 Primary schools in the first phase in  Kitswamba SDA, Nkaiga, Kyanya, Karusandara SDA, Ibuga, Kenyange Muslim, Kiburara and St. Johns Bukangara. Teachers trained were 113 (65m, 48f) on prevention of VAC and alternative punishments, handling of deviant pupils who are usually victims of VAC. Two staff of the education were assigned to work with RWECO: Ms. Harriet Kahangwa focal person for FAWE and Mr. Richard the regional FAWE officer. The training was conducted at every school and all teachers were targeted as suggested by the D.E.O that other than holding a central training, the teachers needed the skills in prevention of VAC since it was already provided for in the education department workplan but had no funds. 
The teachers who were trained appreciated the knowledge and skills gained,they called for more refresher trainings in the field of VAC prevention since as parents they were faced with a double challenges  " we as teachers face a double challenge, we spend the whole day with children even when we reach home, we spend more time with children, all our lives is talking and shouting to children"
Teachers posing for a photo after the training, with the FAWE regional focal person
 On other hand, the teachers refresher training was also tailored to the professional code of conduct of teachers, thus as part of professional development the training was timely.
Ms. Harriet second from right,posing with teachers after the training
 From the refresher training of teachers, it was realised that violence against children was common and happens most often in communities including school settings:


Causes of violence against children include: Bad cultural beliefs and practices such as child marriage, child labor, denial of education to girl children among others continue to undermine the implementation and enforcement of child protection laws in Uganda.
Societal acceptance of violence against children as a way of correcting them and enforcing discipline is a common perception especially among parents and guardians.
Immoral behaviors and practices such as violence in the families and communities sometimes make children become violent such as bullying and gang fighting.
Increasing levels of drug and addictive alcohol drinking resulting to domestic violence which puts children as the most vulnerable group.
Poverty; where some girls are forced into prostitution and child labor so as to earn a living that puts them at a risk of HIV/AIDS and early pregnancies it also exposes learners to high levels of vulnerabilities.
Corruption and belief in bribery where parents of children who are offended do not report or with draw cases when they know that the offender is capable of giving them a bribe or dowry, even in courts of law corruption also leads to unfair judgment.
Over dependency on single bread winner and lack of economic empowerment of women which fuels domestic violence this has a lot of effects on children.
Ignorance about children’s rights, war and displacement, divorce / broken families Poor upbringing of the children by the parents causes violence in schools.  Like poor dressing code of parents affects children and sharing of small rooms with children.
Absenteeism  or irregularities of both teachers and pupils, Negative attitude of both , parents, teachers and pupils towards education in certain areas, Late coming for both pupils and teachers, Illiteracy, peer influence , Transfer of anger , Negligence , Orphanage status , long illness and Parenting gaps
Exposure of children to sexual activities like pornography and kind of houses we  stay in,  when a teacher does not take remedial teaching, Poor attendance leads to school lack of control and cheating of the content, inadequate preparation like schemes and lesson plans causes violence.
The teachers appreciated the efforts RWECO has put to reduce on violence against children and adolescents in schools and surrounding communities, the teachers agreed to the following alternative punishments. Form school family initiative where pupils from P1-P7  are divided  among the teachers and set a day in a week for sitting and handle their psycho-social issues , drop the cane and use other alternative means of punishments like  pupil can be sent out to the head teachers office for 5 minutes, apology verbal , letter writing to the teacher offended , having cards in class and then given to  talkative, a  teacher can withdraw privileges of these children like denial pupils to play in the school football team for a week , detention for instance one missing exams it can be given to him or her during games time when others are playing. behavior contract between a teacher and pupils, community service like if there is an elderly person around the school the pupil can clean the compound, demerit box be put in place, students court like deciding for the talkative to sit on the front chair near the teachers are among the alternative punishment.


The trained teachers were thus called upon to be agents of change and children's rights activists 

Compiled by
Margret Kidima
Project Officer CRVP

Thursday, March 23, 2017

PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN IS POSSIBLE WITH COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION




 Prevention of violence against children is possible with the participation of the community and parents as primary actors. RWECO with support from the Children's Rights Violence Prevention Fund ( CRVP-FUND) piloted a one year project that ended in 2016 that with concrete evidence of what it takes by the parents participation in their children's education. That was evidenced when 8 out of the 15 participating  primary schools in Kasese district started providing mid day meals to the pupils. What was reported by the teachers wast that, pupils become more attentive in class, late coming after lunch reduced, concentration of learners and more girls finished the term as compared to when some initiatives were done like training the girls in local re-usable sanitary towels ( Nkaiga, Ibuga, Mundongo, St. John's Bukangara, Kitwamba S.D.A primary school teachers gave the testimony). With that evidence at hand, RWECO will continue with the project for the next three years with funding of Euros 329, 644/ from CRVP-Fund. An inception meeting for staff was held, a meeting with the Kasese District Education Department to brief the staff about the project was also held at which a refresher training of teachers from the participating schools was mooted. The D.E.O.'s office together with FAWE focal person and RWECO will conduct the one training per school in order to allow all the teachers in the school to participate. 

Meanwhile, RWECO held a round table meeting with Nyabaghole Agness  Asimawe Ithungu at her palace in Kampala given that the Kasese Palaca is out of reach. The round table meeting with the Queen was an entry point on how RWECO will continue working with the Nyabahgole Foundation -Embaale ya'Nyabaghole tailored at empowering the girl child.

Other activities  included:
 Orientation workshop for CRVP-Fund partners on parenting 
RWECO staff and CRVP-Fund partners at LandMark View Hotel, Muyenga-Kampala, 20-21st, March, 2017
About the project: Community Driven Approach to prevent violence against Children and adolescents in Kasese district, Rwenzori Region.
 
Problem statement
Violence against children in Kasese district is reported to be increasing because of:  conflicts and human rights violations, economic break down in families, Unemployment and high dependency on single bread winner, the existence of single parent households, increasing trends of polygamy, while structural violence as a result of state actions or inactions,
Peer pressure because of trying out new technologies, exposure to bad things including pornography.   Women’s lack of or limited capacity to economic resources is a recipe for violence in all forms and has been linked to violence against children in Kasese district, children are looked at as a household tools for economic empowerment thus being exploited, provide cheap labor in the informal sector, While in the pastoral communities, children fill the gap of adult males by taking on the role of grazing thus denying these young children education and sometimes health services.  At the fishing and salt mining areas, children are held up in the vicious cycle of violence are involved in drug abuse.
Long term out -come Enhanced Positive parenting practices at family and community levels and Creating violence free learning environment at school by 2019. By end of the three years ( 2017-2019) the project will have reached  3200 children ( 1920 girls, 1280 boys),  2400 adolescents ( 1600 girls, 800 boys) 1600 women, 1000 men, 32 community leaders and 35 government officials
Short term outcome Strengthened use of positive parenting practices at family level by 2019. The target for this outcome is, 32 model couples, 5 households per sub-county, 4 religious institutions, 1 cultural institution, Strengthened ,application of   community-driven approaches to prevent violence against children. The target for this outcome is 8 women and men groups each of 30 members ( 20f, 10m), Strengthened VAC prevention in 16 Schools with pupils, teachers and parents are participating in school programs.  The target for this outcome is 200 pupils, 10 teachers and  150 parents per school, RWECO and Partners capacity to deliver on their mandate strengthened
The project will be implemented by consortium members that is KALI, RIDE-AFRICA , RICNET , Good Hope Foundation for Rural Development and one partner Kasese Guide Radio.

RWECO Team:
Margret  Kidima

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Human reality of Kasese Attack on the Civilians ( royal guards)

video 
The recent clashes and Rwenzururu royal guards that started on 24th November 2016 in Kamabale, Karangura-Kabarole Districts reached its zenith on 27th November 2016 with the attack of the Rwenzururu King palace in Buhikira-Kasese Municipality.
within the four days, over 116 civilian (most of which kings royal guards) and 16 police officer, 136 civilians arrested according to official sources but the exact number of the victims who died may never be known.
At least 52 unidentified bodies of people killed on 27th Nov. attack at the kings palace buried Sunday 4th december 2016 at Kihara army barracks, Nyamwamba Division, Kasese Municipality.
  video
These victims have been talked about as just number but the video attached give the real human face to the conflict.

video


The Kasese attack has been referred to as genocide,  massacre, armed conflict, attack on terrorists or militias, senseless murder and dehumanizing violence. The professional  Soliders Maj.Gen Mugisha(RTD) Muntu and Brig Kasirye Gwanga  have faulted the operation.Brig Kasirye  interview is below: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/UPDF---Kasese--killings--Ggwanga/688334-3473720-fjbgpiz/index.html 

video
Allot will be written  about the facts and fiction of the Kasese attack http://allafrica.com/stories/201611300008.html ,   http://allafrica.com/stories/201611300139.html but the hearts of relatives remains bleeding and the orphans left behind with no care and support.