2012 was a great year , especially in the growth of the use of Social Media in Uganda. This is evident by the increase in internet usage in Uganda as well. According to internetworldstats.com up to 30.06.2012, Uganda had 4,376,672 internet users. That makes it the third in East Africa after Kenya and Tanzania respectively. But it is a leap from the 3,200,000 internet users in 2010. I do not know how accurate these stats are, but they are somewhat a reflection of the growth.
Last year I was amazed about how many Social Change projects in Uganda were run by Social Media platforms, mainly Twitter and Facebook. They are so many: but I will highlight those that stood out in no particular order.This took place on January 17 2012 in Kikube Village, Masindi District. The Conference was initially aimed at giving voice to the poor people, those that are directly affected by the Millennium Development Goals. (MDG). The conversation for 2012 was mainly about rural electrification and voice was given to the local people: the school going children, the teachers, the parents, the farmers, the small business owners : those that are affected by poor service delivery. During this conference, 15 year old girls in Masindi were given the opportunity to chat with 15 year old girls in America via @GirlUp a UN foundation initiative that unites girls from around the world. This was done on Twitter. The girls exchanged views and ideas on fashion, daily house hold chores, school ups and downs (especially how hard and easy maths is as a subject.) The accounts are captured in the following blog posts : AfricaOnTheBlog, BusinessFightsPoverty, EthnicSupplies, ThinkingDifferent
Kisenyi Photo ShootI think that we often take things for granted. Like the fact that we are able to have a picture of ourselves taken, either by an amateur photographer like our friends or siblings, or by a professional photographer. A few tweeps (people on Twitter) led by Andy Kristian and coordinated by yours truly on January 28 2012 went down to Ugandan's biggest slum to give the children, mothers and fathers an opportunity to have their pictures taken. The results were mind blowing and are captured n the following blogs: Andy Kristian , Rosebell Kagumire , Edward Echwalu and Ruth Aine . 2013 Edition is in the works. Details to soon follow.
" It started out as a facebook page and ended up as a family and lifestyle with the possible dream of changing the world in our own way. We didn't take poverty away or put an end to war...Diseases shall still remain and we don't have the power to stop natural disasters..but if there is one thing we did very well...it is LOVE!!"Those are the humbling words of Esther Kalenzi the founder of 40 Days over 40 smiles initiative. I am still in awe of how this little army started. It started on February 27 2012. Esther Kalenzi woke up and decided that she was going to bring the joy of Jesus Christ's ressurection to those little children that have no home and no one to call family. This she envisioned would be fulfilled if 'we all made sacrifices during lent.' 10 months down the road, the charity is still running on Facebook and it has grown from just a page of 'Facebookers' to a family. (Detailed Interview with Esther to soon follow). Some of the blogs on this campaign : ProggieUg, DailyMonitor, Bree, Kuzic.
On June 25 2012, disaster struck in Bududa, eastern Uganda. Two villages were buried after heavy rain triggered land slides. As always, many were left homeless with no way in which to fend themselves. Ugandans on Twitter have always been advocates for African solutions to African problems. And this time round, they took matters into their own hands, all for good. Led by @jssozi, @maureenagena, @enamara and @Azronn, meetings were set up and a campaign launched to help support these victims. At the end of the campaign, over 4 million Uganda Shillings had been raised alongside an assortment of clothes. The money was used to buy soap, salt, jerrycans and blankets. The heart felt stories were captured as always: UgandaSpeaks, Rosebell's Blog, RuthAine.
|One of the pictures from www.myuganda256.com|
You will realize that most of these events and stories shared here never make it to mainstream media. They are tales of people that give of their time and resources selflessly just to bring about change. They are life changing. That for me is what makes social change an amazing venture. No fireworks, no applause, sometimes no one to say thank you but never the less getting the task at hand done and done well.
As the year begins, I am excited for what is in store, especially that which I cannot see yet. But the 40 Days 40 smiles is still on-going and so is #MyUganda256. Get involved and make the world a better place.
Here's to 2013, Cheers everybody. Blessings.