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10 Aug 2014

500 days to the end of 2015- MDGs 4&5 not yet realized : Mother gives birth in truck

Lwampanga sub-county is found in Nkasongola district. Getting there will take you about 3 hours from Kampala, the capital city. This was the one of the places where Save the Children held their community engagements as they publicize the Every One Campaign and also a petition to the government on behalf of mothers and children about the achievements of the MDGS 4&5.

The petition is going to be presented to the president of Uganda. It is a reminder of the commitment made by the Government of Uganda in 2000 alongside other governments on the Millennium Development Goals. The government was supposed to allocate resources, time and effort to certain areas of development. The goals were to be achieved by the year 2015.

August marks the beginning of 500 days to the end of those 15 years.  Have we done enough? Do the people know anything about the MDG’s or is it something that the government and CSO’s have kept to themselves? If the communities know, what have been the different challenges met in realizing especially MDG 4&5 that accrue to Maternal health and New born Child Health. These were some of the things that Save the Children sought to know as this community engagement was carried out.

 Right after we had arrived at Lwampanga Health Centre III before the engagement started,we saw a small pick-up truck quickly drive through to the front of the health center. The midwife that we had picked up from Nakasongola central quickly rushed and wore gloves and was headed to the back of the truck. Within seconds the resident midwife rushed through with sterilized items in a small ball. After a while I saw a child wrapped in a cloth taken into the health center labor ward that was just an empty bed. Then a man [who I later learned was the husband] helped the woman off the truck and she was taken in to the labor ward as well. All this happened in less than 5 minutes. Then the story began to unfold, and heart breaking it was. 
31 Jul 2014

Lessons from Maputo

I have just come from Maputo Mozambique, and for one it was a great experience. I was training and facilitating young people in the fields of Agriculture and Communications in Social Media tools ahead of the #RUFORUM10 conference. The Conference was convened by RUFORUM which is The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) It is a consortium of 42 universities in 19 countries that are mainly from the COMESA region and Ethiopia. 
Maputo as seen from a ship dock. Maputo is also known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean

Maputo was my 11th African city to visit. And I have found that with African cities can be a little bit predictable. Africa is Africa, there are usually no surprises apart from maybe the food and weather. The rest; traffic, garbage, dust, different English accents are usually a constant. The roasting of maize by the road side as well is not to be missed, although in Maputo I saw more of Sugarcane by the roadside. 
That said, if you are ever headed to Maputo,, be prepared for a garbage littered city, Portuguese speaking people, lovely coffee and lots of sea food. As we drove into the city, I couldn't help notice the palm trees by the ocean, something that reminded me of Abidjan. The majority of the buildings had not seen a splash of paint in awhile, I saw that in Abidjan but I was told that was because of the war. I did not quite understand the reason in regard to Maputo. People live in the city center, something that Kampala does not have. There are numerous apartments within the city center that are inhabited by locals. I found that rather fascinating. Oh, I almost forgot ; it gets dark at 5:00 pm this time of the year, that was very unique. Apparently it is winter this time of the year.
9 Jul 2014

Traditional vs Social Media : Lesson learned

Every day we talk about how relevant being online is. How traditional media is facing a huge dilemma and how Twitter is so far breaking news faster than any one could imagine. And so as a advocate of Social Media I have strong feelings for news online. And I also have a soft spot for the traditional media; after all ‘it gave birth to my instincts to join journalism.’

As I struggle to defend my position, I realize that the transition and the future is reliant on so many things. However what we need to never stop doing getting  “the basics” right as news tellers.

This is why I am saying what I am saying.

I have just come back from the brilliant Deutsche-Welle Global Media Forum for this year and most of the topics discussed revolved on the use of social media and the internet to help the media in telling the stories that need to be told. Pertinent questions were asked:
17 Jun 2014

Day of the African Child- striving to make a difference

Yesterday was the day of the African Child. The theme of the day was 'a child-friendly, quality, free, and compulsory education for all children in Africa. To help us reflect, a group of young people got together and we went to visit a school out of Kampala. They were from the Global Shapers Kampala Hub. The school or education center is called Cornerstone Education center. It is few kilometers off Mityana road; about 30 minutes’ drive from the capital Kampala. [if there is no traffic] the visit left so much emotion on our hearts and reminded us a lot of where we came from.

The Primary 4 pupils in their class
Peace Adia started out as a Sunday school teacher. She loved working with children. Her passion drove her to become a teacher and then to a head teacher of primary schools. She was not comfortable working for others she always had a wish in her heart to start a school of her own. Last year that dream came true. She started the year with 50 pupils. This year she has 97 of them and 7 teachers. There is one classroom block that is permanent and the other is a make-shift structure.  It has papyrus reeds on the sides to act as walls and is roofed with iron sheets. It is visible that this little community thrives on passion and nothing more.