Selective Outrage is a danger to activism in Uganda

About a week ago after that awkward, annoying and humiliating scene on our Televisions and social media Timelines; the story of FDC’s Naigaga Fatuma who was harassed by Uganda police is no longer news to Ugandans. They have now moved on to attacking a couple of artists who dinned with the president and launched the song ‘TubongaNawe’ in support of his 2016 presidential elections.

Regardless of how shameful and humiliating it was to watch Naigaga being undressed, everyone seems to have moved on, save for a few women activists who took to streets to peacefully match to parliament in solidarity with her but got interrupted. Then a couple of social media users who took to twitter and started a hashtag “#EndPoliceBrutalityUG”; tweeted for a couple of hours on 16th Oct and also moved on; I guess until another woman is stripped or embarrassed. Let’s wait for it and see. Read more

IRONY OF GENDER BASED VIOLENCE: STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN

“Gender
based violence affects both Women and Men, for every bullet that shoots a man,
kills a woman’s child ”

This is the time of the year when the entire
world pays attention to Gender based violence. 
We are back at the 16 days of Activism against gender based violence, an
annual international campaign dedicated to ending gender based violence. It
originated from the first Woman’s Global Leadership institute coordinated by
the center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Stakeholders selected the
start and end dates of the campaign to be November 25th
–International Day against violence against women, and December 10th
–International Human rights Day. The international theme for this year is “From peace in the Home to peace in the
world: Let’s Challenge militarism and end violence against women”

Experience
of a man being violated

On Saturday 24th November 2012, as
I came from the local market in my neighborhood, I heard a woman scream loudly while
pointing her fingers at a man and making utterances in one of the local
languages (Luganda) commonly spoken in central Uganda that “Gwe mbwa gwe, kik
kyolinawo?” [Translated as ‘You dog, what
do you have to show
?’]. I tried to pretend as this was totally non of my
business but could not help stop by when a group of people gathered to watch
and listen to her hurling insults at the man, who I later on discovered (Through
whispers from those who knew both) that the man in question was her husband.

They were a married couple and even had
children. The woman went ahead to scream at the top of her voice how fed-up she
was and how she very much wanted a divorce not caring about who watched and or listened.
She accused the man of so many nasty things as the gathered crowd watched and
listened ready to judge. Of course I was one of the self appointed judges
because I was part of the crowd.  But
deep down, I wanted to be as fair as possible in my judgment.  Amidst all this, I was so surprised by the
man’s reaction. He did not utter a single word despite the bitter words that
his wife was hurling at him.  When she
saw and heard no reaction from her husband and heard the reaction from the gathered
crowd that she was the problem, she decided to keep quiet. Once she was silent,
the man then said to her that, ‘All the people gathered here, that you think are
sympathizing with you, are here to listen and laugh at us, we can sort this out
privately.’

A man who looks frustrated and  a drug abuser in Kisenyi Slums of Kampala: Photo by Edward Echwalu. See Link to full blog
When I heard what the man said, I did not
know what to feel or think. I started wondering whether the woman’s reaction
was the effect of “The battered woman
syndrome
” or she was genuinely having a problem with her husband, whatever
the case was, I never got an opportunity of finding out the truth.

This is just one of thousands of abuses that
men suffer but choose to remain silent about because of the societal
expectations of a man.  A man, right from
childhood has been socialized to act strong even when overwhelmed with emotions
to an extent that even when they are violated and abused, because of the
socio-cultural beliefs, they do not speak out and conceal this emotional stress
which in most cases is passed on to their wives and children through physical
violence like beating.
In Africa, particularly Uganda, many women
are the custodian’s of culture and values and because of the gender roles, the
women aho are closer to the children instill certain values in the boy child
which values cannot easily change when he matures. For instance making utterances
like “Boys take care of themselves”, “Boys don’t cry”, “The kitchen is not a
place for boys”
etc.  While many
women might do this sub-cousciously, the impact of such statements is usually
great and negative in future when these boys grow up and turn out to be men.  We need to treat children as CHILDREN regardless
of their sex if we want to see change and live in a violent free society.

Gender
Issues  and the Society

Society assigns girls and boys, men and women
different roles, attributes, opportunities, privileges and rights that in the
end create the social differences between men and women. Gender does not
refer to women,
but to the socio-cultural perception and differentiation of
the roles, attributes and responsibilities of women and men.
Gender issues arise from the different
treatment of individuals or groups of people on the basis of social
expectations about women and men. This can mean gender discrimination in
family, workplace, oppression or subordination. The gender gaps resulting from
these practices become the `gender issues’. Gender issues also arise when
gender roles involve unequal burdens of work and unequal distribution of
resources.  Gender issues can cut across
all sectors and social settings.

Why do women
violate Fellow Women? And how come little is talked about it?

As the whole world is focusing on Gender
based violence (GBV), many people think that this effort to end GBV is meant
for only women. Gender based violence is broad and it looks at Women, men and Children.
While it’s true that woman have in most cases been victims and men
perpetuators, it is also true that very many women have also been perpetuators
not only to men but also to fellow women. However, there is very little focus is
on women who violate fellow women.
Photo by Echwalu Edward: Child bride
Today, many mothers-in-law have become nightmares
to their daughters-in-law. They want to command these daughters-in-law and
teach them how to treat their ‘sons’ in a way they think is right. At any
opportune moment, they easily hurl insults to their daughters-in-law and blame
them fro anything wrong that happens to their son(s). They have become
nightmares to many families of young women. Some have ended up divorcing or
separating while others women have asked their sons “to get married to their
mothers”.  This is rearly mentioned when
looking at GBV.
Because of the changes in gender roles and
the fact that women no longer sit at home to entirely depend on a man as the bread
winner, Modern families have resorted to hiring young girls to help out with
house chores. According to so many news outlets, these young girls are not only
mistreated but also under paid. In most cases, the young girls (Also known as
Housemaids or house Girls) are usually school dropouts or those who have never
been to school yet under aged.  They are
usually the last to go to bed late in the night and the first to a rise to a
day of hectic manual work.
At some places of work led by women, there
exists a sense of jealous and insecurity among the older and younger
Women.  For women in managerial
positions, they want to assert their authority and they never want to be
challenged especially by young women. They treat positive criticism as an
insult and they are willing to do anything to frustrate anyone’s efforts who tries
to challenge them. In extreme cases, one could easily loose a job. The good news is that education and urbanization are delivering
real independence to women to reject violence.

Some mothers have forced their daughters to get married to
wealthy men against their will. They threaten them, saying that if they do not
do as they say, the daughters will never get their blessings in their
marriages. This is emotional violence because as the girl grows up, she is
forced to court or related with only ‘Wealthy’ men regardless of how she feels
about them until she gets one that her mother approves.

Several other examples exist such as women in Polygamous
marriages who fight one another, women who are competing for a man’s attention,
female teachers in school who envy younger female students, Women who own
brothels in parts of the world especially Asia etc.
I must admit that a lot of these are attributed to the
resistance by patriarchy as an idea to change. The cultural structures that
exist in which these women are raised contribute a lot to how they behave and
respond in different situations. My appeal is that as we talk about ending
gender based violence, Let’s not turn our backs to the fact that there are
women who are violated by fellow women and desperately need someone to listen
to their cry. Men can be both perpetuators and victims and so can women.

What other circumstances do you know of where women are violent to fellow women and or to men? 

When unemployment among the youth still exists amidst opportunities

A report that was recently released by the International Labor Organization on youth unemployment indicated that almost 13% of the young worldwide
are out of work, and their situation is unlikely to improve for four years. This
report comes in at a time when Africa is experiencing lots of changes and
revolutions that are the master mind of young unemployed youth most of whom are
educated, idle but lack decent jobs and are therefore desperate to work.
“The youth unemployment crisis can be beaten
but only if job creation for young people becomes a key priority in
policy making and private sector investment picks up significantly,” says
ILO executive director, Jose Manuel Salazar
pointed out.
Poverty is pervasive on the African continent, a palpable legacy of colonialism’s
economic exploitation and a direct consequence of neo-colonialist as well,
conflict and poor governance coupled with corruption being contributing factors
as well in many African countries. Uganda, one of the African Countries, is reported to have the youngest
population as well as the highest youth unemployment in the world according to
the World Bank report on Africa. The importance of these numbers highlights the fact
that in order to achieve meaningful development, programmes and projects need
to be youth oriented. While the number of educated youth continues to grow
worldwide, there is insufficient knowledge about the use of ICTs in schools,
the distribution of ICT skills among students and the role that ICT-based
skills has in terms of future employment opportunities.
Wondering what the future holds for youth
 ‘The challenge of youth employment in Africa,
therefore, is not just to create more wage and salary jobs–important as this
may be–but to increase the productivity, and hence earnings, of the majority
of young people who will be employed in informal farms and household
enterprises’ United Nations declared 2010 the year of the youth and several global conferences
focused on the role of the youth in socio-economic development. One of such conferences
that took place in Africa was the “elearning Africa 2011” which took place in
Dar-es-salaam with a focus on “Youth, Skills & Employability”. The discussion was centred about what youth can do to earn a
descent living beyond the class room. A number of solutions focused on
entrepreneurship skills as well as Agriculture.
 When I recently asked my friends on facebook this
question “What are
the real causes of unemployment among the youth especially in Africa? Is it just
laziness and the strong desire for white colar jobs?” Below is a one of the responses that I received from
a 22 year old Frank Odongkara a software Engineering student at Makerere University in
Uganda. 
 “I don’t think it’s laziness and
even though I used to curse the “school-should-make-white-collar”
mindset, I think it’s kinda the way things should be. Not everyone can and
should be an entrepreneur. Our major problem is investment climate; I can
personally testify to that and I believe there are thousands of Africans who
have undergone and are undergoing what I am experiencing. Today for example, we
have many folks seriously investing in Real Estate and hardly any investor
interested in technology in Uganda; considering that you need many people
earning enough first, before you can sell to them houses, I’d say it’s just
plain misguided investment. Our major problem is that we do not have a kind of
wall street and business intelligence is scarce and decisions are made at home.
The youth are not lazy and the problem is not the government either; the major
problem is that the majority of African business folks with huge bundles of
money are uneducated
.”
Do you agree with Frank’s argument? What are some of
the existing opportunities that young people can tap into that have been ignore
for so long?  

The Gender “digital divide”:World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2012

“If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we
educate a girl, we educate a family and
a whole nation.” African proverb

Today is World Telecommunication and Information
Society Day 2012. The theme for 2012 is “Women
and Girls in ICT.”
Gender equality is a basic human right enshrined in the
U.N. Charter.  The United Nations
designates May 17 to remind the world each year of the benefits that the
Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) can bring
to societies and economies worldwide.
Talking to female student teachers in Bushenyi on role of  ICT4Eudcation

May 17 also marks the anniversary of the creation of the International
Telecommunication Union, the United Nations’
specialized agency for information and communications technologies. Along with
other activities, the agency strives to improve access to ICTs to underserved
communities worldwide.Access to ICTs,
the United Nations says, empowers women and girls to take their rightful place
as equals in the world. 
“Despite
the obvious benefits, many girls never even consider a career  in ICTs.  There is a lack of awareness
among students, teachers and parents on what a career in ICT could offer.
 Attitudes can change when girls are invited into companies and government
agencies to meet  ICT professionals and
see what life is like on the job”.
 http://girlsinict.org/
For this reason, ITU members agreed to recognize
Girls in ICT Days on the 4th Thursday of every April in ITU Plenipotentiary
Resolution 70 (Guadalajara, 2010)
Information Communication Technology
(ICT) has the potential to transform social, economic, and political life
globally. ICT presents unique and timely opportunities for women
and girls. It promises better economic prospects, fuller political
participation, communication with the outside world, easy access to
information, and an enhanced ability to acquire education and skills and to
transcend social restrictions. ICT is especially important to poor women
because it can provide increased access to resources, the absence of which
defines poverty. Hence, ICTs are tools that facilitate access to a variety of
development resources.

However, the uneven
distribution of ICT within societies and across the globe is resulting in a
“digital divide” between those who have access to information resources and
those who do not. Women’s lower levels of literacy and education relative to
men as well as negative attitudes towards girls’ achievement in science
and mathematics, contribute to the gender dimension of the digital divide. In
addition, women across the world enjoy a lower degree of economic security than
men and face gender-related constraints on their time and mobility. Without
access to information technology, an understanding of its significance, and the
ability to use it for social and economic gain, women in the developing world
will be further marginalized from the mainstream of their communities, their
countries, and the world (Nancy Hafkin and Nancy Taggart 2003) [1].

According to the
MDGs established in 2000 at the United Nations Millennium Summit and signed by
189 heads of state around the world, a list of eight overarching goals for
developing countries to achieve by 2015 is outlined. Among this list, Goal 3a
is to ‘eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education,
preferably by 2005, and at all
levels by 2015’. Indicator 9, to
measure the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, is the ratio
of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
Boys too need the ICT skills. I spoke to some at a youth  camp-2011
However, the
targets set by MDGs and other global foras have largely been missed on the African
continent. According to Peninah Mlama, Executive director of the Forum for African
Women Educationalists (FAWE), “A lot of girls are dropping out of school or
not
being sent at all because of the poverty of parents. Traditional
cultural attitudes are still
very strong, especially in rural areas. The
little money parents have to scrounge for
sending children to school is
seen as too big an investment to risk on the girl child”
 

The uneven
distribution of Information and communication Technologies (ICTs) within
societies and across the globe has resulted in a ‘DIGITAL DIVIDE’ between those
who have access to information resources and those who do not. Women’s low
levels of literacy and education relative to men as well as the negative
attitude towards girls achievement in science related fields contributes to the
gender dimension of the digital divide. Women still have a low degree of
economic security than men and face gender related constraints on their time
and mobility. They are therefore less likely to access, use and participate in
shaping the course of ICTs compared to their male counterparts
In Uganda more men than women access/make
use of ICTs because most ICT infrastructure is in the urban areas or townships,
whereas majority of the women/populations live in the rural areas. 
Given women and girls multiple roles
and heavy domestic responsibilities, their leisure hours are few and therefore
need tools that can effectively reduce the
“distance” between them as individuals and institutions thereby making sharing
of information and knowledge easier and more effective. ICTs come in handy.
 Referance
[1] Nancy Hafkin
and Nancy Taggart (2003), An Analytical Study on Gender, Information Technology
and Developing Countries, Office of Women in Development, USAID, Washington DC.

Trending our own Story: Uganda Speaks

I am priviledged to be part of a group of  young Ugandan bloggers, journalists and filmmakers, working under the collective
“Uganda Speaks”. We recently traveled to Northern Uganda to document stories of survivors of the LRA and will be releasing a video online looking at the
LRA and its impact from our own perspective to make sure that the voices of those that were affected by this war are heard.

Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb reports from northern Uganda about the process of our documeting these stories.

I am a visible child from Northern Uganda. Who are the “Invisible Children”?

Having grown up in Northern
Uganda, Lango sub region to be more specific and studied at St. Mary’s College
Aboke, a school from which Joseph Kony’s rebels abducted 139 girls in ordinary
level, the name Kony is not new to me.
For the 4 years that I spent in
that school (1999-2002), together with other students, I remember praying the
Rosary at the School Grotto on daily basis and in the process, reading out the
names of the 30 girl who had remained in captivity after Sr. Rachelle an
Italian Nun together with a Ugandan teacher John Bosco rescued only 109 of them.
An annual date (10th
Oct) was set aside and dedicated to prayers for all the captives. All we did
on that day, was pray for the girls to be realized from captivity. For all those
four years, I had never heard of an organisation called “Invisible children”A (Was founded later) But all I heard, were the stories from some of the girls and children who had
escaped from captivity. In 2002 alone, I could count the number of days I spent
at school as we kept on going back home because of the threats and rumours from the
villagers around (Abongodero and otwal areas) that the rebels wanted to abduct
more girls.
#Stopkony:
A joke or a wakeup call?
I had traveled to western
Uganda for field work on issues of Maternal health when I first read a tweet using
my mobile phones from @Natabaalo a journalist friend here in Uganda on Tuesday 06/03/2012
with the hash tag (#stopkony). For a moment, I treated it as a joke until I
read many more talking about ‘Uganda’ and ‘Kony’ as topics trending worldwide
on twitter. Being a social media enthusiast, I rushed to facebook to cross
check and find out if a similar discussion was going on.  I was shocked to find a video shared on my
wall by an old girl of St. Mary’s College Aboke (Bernadette Manisula
Nagita
) who works as a communications person with Invisible
Children here in Uganda. This was the message that accompanied the video that
has now gone Viral.

Trusting you will do more
than just watch….help spread the word…..
I watched the video and sent
her my feeback  So what exactly
am I supposed to do with this video? Share? Not me dear.
For the first 5 minutes I had
no idea what the video was about until I later on saw the old images of LRA and
attentively listened.
As the discussion grew on
twitter, I realised that the internet has indeed become part of everyday life
and has played an increasing role in the delivery of news about issues that
concern citizen. Today, a new form of internet journalism –Citizen Journalism
has taken root and many ordinary citizens have learnt how to argument, report
and fact-check videos like #Kony2012.
Just like @RosebellK another
Journalist in Peace & Conflict here in Uganda, I have problems with this video because it not only tarnishes
Ugandan’s image but also undermines the effort that different Governments and
peace lovers like ArchBishop Baptist Odama of Gulu put in, to have peace talks that could
bring this war to an end. It totally portrays the hopelessness of Ugandans to
help themselves out of this situation and the intervention of some Americans who
“care” so much about the plight of the children in Northern Uganda. I tend to
think that it is a one man show video. “Invisible children might be advocating
for a good Cause but used a very wrong Approach” like @jssozi put it.
I hardly doubt that the people
of Northern, Eastern and West Nile regions in Uganda, the most affected
by this war have any idea that a video talking about their plight has gone
viral on the internet. It’s 2012 and the people of Northern and eastern Uganda
are in the post conflict era and re-settling. Why doesn’t the video at least give a
brief  highlight of this current situation rather than threaten the entire globe with out-dated
information? Does “Invisible Children” have an idea what impression of Uganda
has been portrayed to a world that still believes Idi Amin is alive and still terrorising
us? What will happen to our tourism sector?  Below are some of the interesting
reactions;
  • James  Akena: (Reuters PhotoJournalist in Uganda from Gulu)
    reacting to BBC Qn:
What will
happen if Joseph Kony is not killed or captured by December 31st? My government
and its military commanders gave many deadlines for capturing or killing this
madman several times and they failed. Equally these young Americans trying out
to become famous out of sufering of my people will surely fail as well!!! James
Akena.
  • Marcus
    Wagenaar(From Netherlands but working in Uganda)
“To all who have watched the video KONY 2012 that
has made the rounds of the internet: Uganda is a very safe place (I live there)
and was voted top 1 tourist destination for 2012 by Lonely Planet. The Lords
Resistance Army (LRA) was defeated in 2006 and the
Nothern region of Uganda has been stable and safe ever since. (I’ve been
there twice in the last 12 months). And the most important thing: JOSEPH KONY
IS NOT IN UGANDA, I repeat, he is NOT in Uganda. Please don’t let internet
propaganda shape your opinion about a far away country you know nothing about.”
  • James
    Wire(Ugandan)
“InvisibleChildren is
probably paving way for some foreign interests that want 2 monitor Uganda ‘s
oil under the pretext of military aid.”

“The invisible Children effort 2 commercialise
the Kony atrocities is a disgrace to us in Uganda. They must be seeking
relevance. #KONY2012”

Invisible
Children either has to make another video that depicts the real truth and the
real issues or apologize to the people of Uganda and the VISIBLE CHILDREN affected
by war for such a misrepresentation. For now, our focus is on the nodding head disease.

Working to bridge the ‘Gender digital divide’ in Uganda

Women in Technology Uganda (WITU), held it’s very first meeting of
the year 2012 0n 17th Feb with the theme “Ugandan Women in Technology:
Opportunities and Challenges
” at Makerere
University in Kampala Uganda. Women in Technology is a forum that we founded with
a focus on finding real solutions to the long-standing problems of how to
attract, retain and advance more women in the IT industry.
The
uneven distribution of Information and communication Technologies (ICTs) within
societies and across the globe is resulting in a ‘DIGITAL DIVIDE’ between those
who have access to information resources and those who do not. Women’ low
levels of literacy and education relative to men as well as the negative
attitude towards girls achievement in science related fields contributes to the
gender dimension of the digital divide. Women
still have a low degree of economic security than men and face gender related
constraints on their time and mobility. They are therefore less likely to
access, use and participate in shaping the course of ICTs compared to their
male counterparts
The Status of
Women and ICTs in Uganda
In
Uganda, Women’s awareness and usage of ICTs is nearly three times less than
that of men (2006 ResearchICTAfrica ). An assessment of the Rural communication
and Development Fund(RCDF) from a gender perspective undertaken by women of
Uganda Network in 2007 revealed that the fact that women are key consumers in
the privately owned computer training centres had nothing to do with gender
targeting. Many of these females went for secretarial training or to learn
elementary computer skills like Microsoft office applications to enhance their
gender stereotyped roles of secretary.  Women
who were employed as trainers or lab attendants were the minority. As far as
ownership management and control of private ICT business centres, Women were
generally few. The study also revealed that although RCDF support to various
ICT projects had facilitated further spread of ICT facilities and services to
the less privileged areas and its communities, women have benefited less from
the projects as compared to their male counterparts. Without
access to information technology, an understanding of its significance and
ability to use it fo social and economic gain, Women are likely to be further
marginalized from the mainstream of their communities, their country and the
world (Nancy Hafkin and Nancy Taggart 2003).

Meet our speakers
of the Feb 2012 Meetup
We tackled the opportunities and challenges that women in technology face, how we can explore these and solve the challenges to increase the number of women technologists in Uganda. We had amazing young women who shared their experiences.  Barbara Birungi gave an overview of what WITU is and why it exists, she shared the vision, mission and purpose. She also welcomed all the members to the first meeting of the year. The sessions were chaired by Lynn Kirabo and Maureen Agena

Rosebell Kagumire a Multimedia Journalist and Human right
Activists works at Chanel 16 and runs a blog http://rosebellkagumire.com/
spoke about “Women and Media”. She shared her work experience at the daily Monitor with participants. Rosebell acknowledged that Technology and especially
social media has increased opportunities for citizen to speak out and for
journalists to share ideas and opinion beyond the newsroom.
She said that ordinary people without professional
Journalism training can now use tools of modern Technology and the global
distribution of internet to create, fact check and argument media. Rosebell
believes that tools like twitter are now changing the “Agenda Setting” function
of the media.  Follow her on twitter
@RosebellK
Eunice Namirembe a Program manager at  Text to Change and ICT4D specialist talked
about the “opportunities of Mobile Technology for women”. She said that it is
evident that there is a huge difference in terms of access, use, application and
control of mobile phones between men and women. Whereas, we all agree that ICTs
can enable both men and women to gain stronger voice in their communities and
that mobile phones can specifically offer women flexibility in time and space,
this is far from reality for many rural women here in Uganda. A big gender gap
exists in accessing communication services. More men than women access/make use
of ICTs because most ICT infrastructure is in the urban areas, where areas
majority of the women/rural populations live in the rural areas.
Given women’s multiple roles and
heavy domestic responsibilities, their leisure hours are few and therefore need
a tool that can effectively reduce the “distance”
between them as individuals and institutions thereby making sharing of
information and knowledge easier and more effective. The mobile phone comes in
handy. Follow
her on twitter @gnayeunie

Evelyn Namara an entrepreneur, programmer and AfNOGChix
trainer working with Solar sisters shared her experience from AfNOGChix on
“Training Women in Technology”. She said that AfNOGChix was inspired by
the desire to share technical challenges in setting up, building and running IP
networks on the African continent. As a result, some of the pioneer Network
Operators came together and established a network of key operators on the
continent. The Africa
Network Operators Group (AfNOG) is a forum for the exchange of technical
information, and aims to promote discussion of implementation issues that
require community cooperation. The reason as to why a lot of focus was on women
was because Few women applied for the main AfNOG events;Women are a bit intimidated learning with male
students;
Women were hesistant to asked questions
and finally Women usually relied on Male participants to finish up assignments. AFNOG therefore
solves all these issues and bridges the gap by having women trained by women. Follow her on twitter @enamara

Esther Patricia Akello an employee of Bank of Uganda who is
so passionate about Information Security shared with us “what it means to work
in a male dominated profession”. Esther said that, there are few women who
study technology related courses and practice what they studied professionally.
She attributed all this to the cultural socialization of women and the notion
that women are made to believe that they cannot think or work technically. At
the meeting, Esther encouraged young ladies who are passionate about technology
to own up and stop complaining about the few numbers but rather make a
difference and excel in their IT related professions. Follow her on twitter @ekisesta

Last but not least
was the Google ambassador and Appscircus 2012 Kampala winner Christine Ampire. As
a second year software engineering student, Christine joined the AppsCircus
competition and developed a mobile application called MafutaGo that saw her win
in Kampala. Together with her team, she attended the recent Mobile World Congress in in
Barcelona and they won the RingMater ward. http://thenextweb.com/mwc/2012/02/27/the-mobile-premier-awards-announce-winners-at-mwc/
She said that the secret to all this was the spirit of teamwork and commitment
regardless of your gender. She said that young girls have to get rid of fear if
they are to excel in Technology. Follow her on twitter @axtine831

I
strongly believe that women’s participation in the creation of technology will
strengthen the workforce, raise the standard of living for many women, and help
to assure that technology addresses women’s needs and expands the possibilities
for their lives.
The
sponsors; UGOuganda, PC Techmagazine and Makerere University (Faculty of CIT)
Photos by: Javie Ssozi

Maureen Agena is one of the 12 Young Social Activists to watch out for in 2012

Compiling a list of 12 Young social activists to watch out for in 2012 was an herculean task. As much as possible, we wanted a list that would demonstrate reach, focus on young people who have had a track record of contributing to development in their societies and who are poised to make much more contributions in the coming year. We dug deep into existing networks on the continent, read through the profile of several young men and women and sough recommendation from adult allies who have worked with amazing young people on the continent. From an initial list of 31, we pruned down and settled on the final 12, their records and achievements speak for them.
Full list here: http://youthhubafrica.org/2012/02/27/12-young-social-activists-to-watch-out-for-in-2012/

UGANDAN TEACHERS DEMAND SALARY RISE

“It’s Government’s responsibility to explore all possible ways in which
it can meet its commitment to Education while still maintaining macro-Economics
stability” says James Twehayo the National vice chairperson of Uganda National Teachers
Union (UNATU).
While many public servants in
Uganda seem to be comfortable with their salaries, the teachers on the other
hand are asking Government to increase their salary by 100%. This demand for
salary rise comes in at a time when Uganda is experiencing Runaway
inflation currently rated at 18%. While it is true that all civil servants and
people in other professions are products of education, it is very unfortunate
that this category of very important people who contribute to the welfare of
the Nation by educating the masses is not being well taken care of.
I was privileged to speak to Ms.
Teopista Birungi Mayanja, the General Secretary of Uganda National teachers Union
(UNATU) and a board member of Education International to find out why the
teachers want to lay down their tools if their demands for Salary rise are
not fulfilled by the Government of Uganda.
What is UNATU?
Uganda National Teachers Union
(UNATU) was registered in March 2003 following a merger between Uganda Nationa
Teachers Association(UTA) and Uganda National union of teachers (UNUT). UNATU
is a statutory Organisation registered under the trade Union Act. Currently,
the Union has 80,000 registered memebers out of an approximate potential of
160,000 teachers on Governmant payroll. 
It is affiliated to Education Internaional and
Pan African teachers Centre-PATC
Ms. Birungi emphasised that the theme of UNATU strategic plan is “Teachers
and Quality education, the strategy for change” and that’s why the focus is on
the role of teachers to offer quality public education.  She said that 
this is achieved through 5 strategic areas of intervention:
·        Teacher’s development which mainly focuses on
professionalism and welfare of teachers
     Enhancing access to Quality education for the
children where Access Verses Quality. Much as it is Government’s policy to
increase on the number of children accessing education, it’s also important to
consider the quality of education in terms of content and output.
     Responding to socio-economic and development
issues that affect education like Gender, Nutrition and conflict.  Specifically attending to the role of female
teachers through the Gender and Women empowerment program as well as ‘Support
Education of girls’ programs. This is achieved through trainings, awareness
creation and development of  mobilization skills.
Ms Teopista Birungi Mayanja UNATU General Secretary at her office -Teachers house building, Bombo Rd.

Is there any Role that Civil Society Organisations are playing?

She says that Civil society
Movements are still lacking in this noble cause; it’s important for different
groups and stake holders like parents, churches, tax payer and children to come
together and raise their voices towards national development issues like this
one, because directly or indirectly, it affects each one of us. The government
of Uganda needs to make a lot of reforms especially in the Public service pay.
She also adds that the teachers’ strike is not only about Salary rise but
the general welfare of all teachers in Uganda whose role towards sustainable
development cannot be ignored.

Conclusion
To the children, learners and
Youth, please do understand the issues related to learning and act now.
To Tax payers, please take p your
responsibility.
To Government institutions; It’s
not only the president who represents government. The president is a team
leader or captain but there is a bigger team which include parliament,
ministries and other institutions. Give priority to National development
through human resource development. Do not postpone implementation of policies
that support the education system to avoid sacrificing the learners within a
given regime.
And the elite parents who think
that they can take their children to private/ international schools and have
them admitted to University, must understand that these children cannot work in
isolation in future, so the  majority of
the masses who did not get a similar opportunity will always “pull” them down
because they  will work with them in
future.  Teachers’ working conditions are our issues, what we do to the teachers
is what we choose to put to our children” says Teopista.

Youth, Skills & Employability at the 6th eLearning Conference in Dar es Salaam.

eLearning Africa is a conference and exhibition organised by ICWE GmbH that focuses on information and communication technologies (ICTs) for development, education and training in Africa. Serving as a pan-African platform, eLearning Africa links a network of decision-makers from governments and administrations with universities, schools, governmental and private training providers, industry and important partners in development cooperation. Each year a different country hosts the event. This year’s conference took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 24th to 28th May 2011 with the theme “Youth, Skills & Employability” and attracted delegates from 90 countries around the world.
This year’s event just like that of 2010 in Zambia was characterized by a photo competition.  The public was called upon  to capture photos on how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can nurture talent, skills and innovation across Africa. The public was invited to send in photos that depict outstanding achievements in Africa – empowered by ICTs – or that show innovative ways in which ICTs can foster the development of people, communities and society.  With over 120 images submitted, the following winner emerged 
Blogging and Technology camps for Vulnerable groups
I was privileged to chair a session on “How blogging and Technology camps can empower people at risk, women, girls” The session looked at the story of research about the way ICTs influence how girls and boys, women and men relate to each other in African schools. It also examined how blogs, technology camps and literacy programs can improve the livelihood of rural women, support groups at risk and enable the empowerment of girls.  It includes the following presenters:
Oreoluwa Abiodun Somulu from Nigeria: “Building Blocks: The W.TEC Girls Technology Camp”.
Steven Ouma Otieno from Kenya: “Positive Blogging for groups most at risk”.
Judith Sama from cameroon: Urban-Rural Gender Digital Divide in Selected Schools in Central Africa”
John Stephen Olouch from Kenya on the Role of ICT and Literacy in Achieving Sustainable Livelihoods Among Women, Southern Kenya.
African Women and ICT


Talk with Maureen Agena by Batier

For details about the 6th eLearning conference, please visit: