Tuesday, June 21, 2016

CHILDREN SPEAK OUT ON ZERO VIOLANCE AGAINST CHILDREN



          
The Day of the African Child (DAC) was commemorated  on 16 June by Member States of the African Union (AU), and its Partners. That  occasion was  firstly a commemoration to recall the 1976 uprisings in Soweto, when a protest by school children in South Africa against apartheid-inspired education resulted into public killing of these unarmed young protesters by police officials.
The theme for 2016  commemoration was , “Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all children’s rights”. The 2016 DAC was unique in that it gave  the Rwenzori region an opportunity to reflect on causes and nature of the conflicts that had happened and thereafter design appropriate strategies for lasting peace in the region. The importance of Article 22 and other relevant provisions of the African Children‘s Charter and other relevant African human rights instruments in safeguarding girls and boys in Africa from conflicts and crises and their attendant consequences;

The children spoke out about Zero Violence against children  by parents, guardians, step parents and teachers in the following ways. That once there was  domestic violence between the two parents, it should not affect them. Their basic needs should continue being provided for , suffering sexual abuse by parents when there is separation , child laboring, child human sacrifice, corporal punishments in schools  and teachers raping  has led some drop out of school hence live miserable life.  One girl pupil gave a testimony about teachers , "once a teacher asks you for sexual intercourse and you don’t adhere, he will subject you to beating every day and ensures that particular pupil fails P.7’’.   That  affects them and become vulnerable to multiple problems.
Therefore the children do make a strong appeal to all parents and stake holders for proper parenting and justice when implementing  cases concerning them because some perpetrators usually connive with parents of survivors and we strongly believe that once professionalism is well practices, the law will take its course on the culprits.


During the commemoration on 16th June 2016, at Itojo Primary school in Ntoroko district, the function began with Roadshow Band match of all pupils the leaders from the different districts led by the RDC Ntoroko Mr. Isingoma Wilson as the chief Guest. Other guests were the RDC Bundibugyo, RDC representative of Kasese, the district chairpersons of  Kasese,  Ntoroko, other guests were the  District Education Officer Kasese, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kasese and the District Community Development Officer Kasese among others. Different presentation of pupils from different districts included Kasese, Bundibugyo, Kabarole and Ntoroko the host. RWECO had four schools from their project area that included Mundongo, Ibuga , Kiburara  and  Kanyatsi Primary’s . 

Margret Kidima
RWECO

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ENSURING EVERY COIN COUNT: RWECO FINANCE OFFICE RETOOLING WORKSHOP

Governance and Accountability has a cost attached in form of training and equipping staff with the right tools and skills. While, its easy to fault other systems, at RWECO we have walked the talk by retooling and equipping Finance Officers with the current accounting packages. A seasoned Finance Consultant with background in  Law and Finance Officer of Rwenzori Anti-Corruption Coalition (RAC), Mr. Dan Katorogo accepted to share his knowledge and skills with the 5 RWECO Finance Officers from: KALI, GHFRD, RIDE AFRICA, RICNET & KGR. It was hands on training in Financial discipline, budget compliance and application of accounting soft ware.
Mr. Dan ( standing right in checked shirt) giving instructions on the next step
RWECO finance officers following the instructions to enter the figures in quick books and generating reports

RWECO

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

THE PRICE OF PEACE IS PEACE- PEACE IN UGANDA IS PEACE IN THE RWENZORI REGION

The price of peace is peace!! The Rwenzori region has been in the news following the post- election violence episodes that have left both citizens and government ask who is responsible for master minding the attacks. I will use this space to write about the need for peace and its relationship to development work.

In the academia and contemporary world, we all talk of peace and development, that has been witnessed in the Rwenzori Region, as we drew near the Easter Season, Kasese district usually celebrates such periods with the world read tourists are usually spotted in the district and that means money has exchanged hands right from the farmer of yellow bananas, dodo, tomatoes, mangoes, name it  to the Hotel operator, and equally entry to the national parks leaves a mark to the people neighboring the protected areas. Government gives back 20% of the gate collections to the communities, but all sectors lost at the height of the attacks as tourists both local and international cancelled their travel plans to the troubled region.

Some scholars argue that out of conflict we forge development, i will argue that its at a cost of loss of lives and property. People are tone apart even fearing their own shadows, conflicts in all its forms is bad; talk of inter state conflict or intra conflicts- the Rwenzori region presents a mix of inter tribal and intra tribal conflicts and print media have reported 40 lives lost. Where are  the children and women at that stage? we see hundreds of women and children in Bundibugyo district struggling for a living yet they have a right to live in a peaceful environment, where is development when thousands of coffee trees, banana plants and cocoa trees are cut down as anger boils to highest level.

As we journey through this hard times, the religious leaders have held ecumenical prayers to preach peace, the cultural leaders are calling on their subjects to live in peaceful co-existence, development practitioners are arguing government to assure them of peace since we need each other to existence as human beings, we need to identify ourselves as Ugandans. The price of Peace is Peace - peace will bread development, conflict will tear away development.

This piece of work is part of the work in progress about the Rwenzori region conflicts
Jimmy B. Odyek
Policy Analysts

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do



Let the beauty of what you love be what you do:-Rumi
After finishing my university in science in Information Technology at Uganda Martyrs University in May 2015 I took my Internship at RWECO in order to match knowledge and practise of application o IT.   The five month internship period was very interesting with satisfying experience and a best place of its kind in practicing my IT knowledge and getting hands on skills. 
 
Miss Babra Masika Arinaitwe during one o her IT training sessions
At RWECO  I was place at the Kasese district E-society resource centre. Waking up every morning to the thought of sharing knowledge and learning something new is exquisite especially when it involves hands on. During my time at RWECO I learnt more about networking, computer maintenance, soft and hard ware. Like my supervisor normally say, being an Information Technology (IT) specialist is like being a medical doctor, you can’t say you know it all and very perfect because each day is a new learning experience since we face different computer related challenges.
RWECO (Rwenzori Consortium for Civic Competence) is a consortium of four organisations namely: KALI, Good Hope for Rural Development- Kiburara and RICNET, RIDE-AFRICA. RWECO and all the four member organisations were accredited by the electoral commission to observe the presidential and parliamentary elections on 18th February, 2016 and the local government elections that followed. RWECO applied ICT tools to report on the election observations that were done by telephone SMS and the online platform. Where both short term and long term observers reported post-election violence through SMS to 0788929022 and plotted on http://hrcp.or.ug/main. The on line platform also allows reports of any human rights abuse and conflicts in Rwenzori regions.
THE ACTIVITIES PARTICIPATED IN.
On 11th march 2016 I participated in a one day training workshop on ICT-enabled access to information and government accountability by Kasese District Local Government (KDLG) in partnership with Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and South Africa (CIPESA) at Verina Gardens hotel Kasese municipality  
During the training we had different facilitators presenting on issues like; how KDLG promotes access to information, access to information law in Uganda, how ICT is used for citizen participation elsewhere in Uganda.
The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable but the power of many working together is better: - Gloria Macapagal
I participated in group work where different questions were discussed in a participatory manner and thereafter presentations were made to the rest of the participants.  Thus: presentations were very impeccable
On 18th March 2016 I participated in a field visit to Kakindo women’s group in Maliba sub county Kasese district with one of the donors of RWECO from the East African children’s Fund. The field trip was led   the coordinator RWECO Mr Baluku Jimmy Odyek with some staff members from RWECO, RIDE Africa, Guide radio. While in maliba we visited Kakindo women’s group demonstration gardens and Nkaiga Primary school.
At Kakindo women’s group we were welcomed and briefed about their activities and objectives which include, but not limited to: creating public awareness on HIV/AIDS through drama and radio talk shows, practising kitchen gardening, involvement in savings and credit scheme and sensitisation against domestic violence.   They conducted a neighbouring  assembly presided over by a speaker where different stake holders in the community like the LC1, police, parents, and other members of the community participated by addressing issues about causes of violence against children at household and community level, how to prevent it and where to report forms of violence against children.
One of the members of Kakindo women group explains how they prepare and plant crops in the kitchen garden using ridges.
They also demonstrated how to make local reusable sanitary pads. The main leading cause of school drop outs among the girl child in Maliba Sub County is due to lack of sanitary pads to use during their menstrual periods since most of the people in the sub county are low income earners or peasants and can’t afford a packet of sanitary pad of shillings 3000 per month especially in circumstances where you find parents having like five girls in need of sanitary pads. Kakindo women’s group was taught how to make local reusable sanitary pads by RIDE Africa, and of which sanitary pads are given to the girl child in schools and in the community.  They train some girls in making local reusable sanitary pads for themselves and that has increased the accessibility of sanitary pads among the girl children in the entire community in the area.
The Kakindo women’s group members later took us to some of their demonstration gardens where they prepare nursery beds and kitchen gardening. They were given seeds by RIDE Africa, and each member took a different species of seeds to plant in a nursery bed, and thereafter the seedlings are supplied to other members so that they all plant in their respective kitchen gardens.

We later visited Nkaiga Primary School in the same sub county. The staff members welcomed us and the pupils sung, recited a poem and acted a play about violence against children.

In the afternoon, RWECO staff led by their Coordinator, together with the Executive Director of East African Children’s Fund Mr Fassil Mariam visited Agape of Hope in Nyamwamba division, Kasese Municipality. Agape of Hope main goal is to empower the youth and the young mothers with knowledge and skills in hair dressing, tailoring and hand craft.  Agape of Hope works with schools and community to address issues of youth reproductive health and menstrual hygiene management.
Gratitude to my supervisor Mr Mumbere Samuel Mkamba and the entire staff of RWECO in particular the Coordinator Mr Jimmy Odyek , the E-Society staff, I thank you for the help you have rendered to me during my stay at RWECO.

BABRA MASIKA ARINAITWE
Bsc IT (UMU)
   





Monday, February 29, 2016

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE POST ELECTION ENVIRONMENT IN THE RWENZORI REGION, WESTERN UGANDA




29th February, 2016
PRESS STATEMENT ON THE POST ELECTION ENVIRONMENT IN THE RWENZORI REGION
RWENZORI CONSORTIUM FOR CIVIC COMPETENCE (RWECO) & the members : KALI, GOOD HOPE FOUNDATION FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT, RIDE AFRICA AND RICNET were accredited  as election observers during the Presidential and Parliamentary  on 18th Feb, 2016 & local council elections on 24th Feb. 2016. RWECO and her members deployed a team of 150 as short term observers and long term observers in Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge and Kasese districts of Western Uganda. RWECO also deployed online platform where comments from observers were remitted through  SMS and plotted on  http://hrcp.or.ug/main .  From 17th Feb, to 28th Feb, 2016, 164 messages were verified and viewed on the online platform.  We commend the Electoral commission that accredited RWECO and her members during the elections.
However, as Ruwenzori region based observers, we note with concern the post -election violence that ensured during and after the elections on 18th and 24th Feb. 2016.   RWECO condemns the post- election violence that were reported  between   18th  -19th  Feb, 2016 at Kasese district Electoral Commission tally center at Kasese district Multi-purpose Hall, located in Nyakasanga, Kasese-Fort Portal Road.  RWECO also condemns the post- election violence that was observed and reported in Bundibugyo District between 24th -27th Feb, 2016 after the election of district chairpersons and district councilors.  These acts are either driven by personal egos and not accepting the outcome of the elections.  Uganda is a democratic country for which we embrace both national and international standards of election observations and democratic processes for which citizens should welcome the out- come of the electoral process. We wish therefore to state that:
1.       All acts of post- election violence be condemned by all actors and Uganda Police take the necessary steps to ensure that peace prevails  in the region and country at large;
2.       RWECO and her members also appeals to the candidates who lost the elections to use peaceful and lawful means to address their demands not by inciting  violence in the community;
3.       We also appeal to all stakeholders including, Police, state organs, Religious leaders, Cultural leaders and the media to join hands and give the citizens a message of hope that beyond elections, there is a life to live;
4.       Police bring the perpetrators of post- election violence to face the law of the land.
Thank you


Jimmy Baluku Odyek
Coordinator

Friday, January 15, 2016

RWECO ROOTS FOR EMBAALE YA NYABAGHOLE

Violence against children manifests in many ways among which is denial of education as a result of lack of sanitary towels for the girl child as was reported by the girls who participated in the baseline survey conducted by RWECO in Nov 2015. To bridge the gap, RWECO has partnered with EMBAALE YA NYABAGHOLE to train 100 girls and boys in making local sanitary pads. That was agreed upon when a team from RWECO met with Nyabaghole of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu on 7th January 2016 at Buhikira Palace, Kasese Municipality. The RWECO team was led by Ms. Margret Kidima, other participants were: Ms. Evelyn Kenyana Abwooli (RICNET), Ms. Benedate Mulibanda (KGR) and Gilbert Masereka (KALI) and Samuel Masereka (GHFRD).

Nyabaghole Agness Ithungu Asimawe ( 3rd from left), and RWECO team led by Ms. Margret Kidima (2nd left)

Nyabaghole Agnes, welcomed the RWECO team for choosing to join her in the struggle of training the youth the cultural values and other integrated aspects of life. The Nyabaghole explained the purpose of the "EMBAALE YA NYABAGHOLE" to the team as a family parliament where the family members discuss and share about the family values, education and other development concerns. Nyabaghole Agnes also said that, children are at a loss if they are not guided right from the young stage and that nobody would wish to see his/her children being in a violent environment, "The Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu is built on the strength of the people, whose rights must be protected especially the children- these are the vanguards of our future" RWECO and Nyabahgole Foundation will be training the youth in making local sanitary pads on 19th January 2016 and Nyabaghole has pledged to be  present during the training. She called upon RWECO to work with the cultural institution in order to foster development and peaceful co-existence in the region.






















RWECO team presenting their profiles to Nyabahgole at Buhikara Palace, Kasese Municipality, 7th January, 2016.



RWECO
Ms. Margret Kidima
Ms. Evelyne Kenyana
Ms. Benadate Mulibanda
Mr. Gilbert Masereka