Archive for March, 2012

As the world celebrates the international women’s day on March 8, the Uganda women’s movement  have  vowed to untie Uganda from the indignity  that  has befallen the children and mothers in Northern Uganda  due to neglect  and failed health care system that has resulted into severe suffering of children because of nodding disease.

Little is known about the nodding disease which mainly affects children between the ages 5 to 15 years and it is a mentally and physically disabling.  When a child is affected by it, his/her growth becomes completely and permanently stunted as well and the growth of the brain is also stunted, leading to mental retardation of the victim. In Uganda it has so far affected over 3000 children and 200 have already died.

Up to now science has failed to establish its causes. “the disease has no name and everything about it is speculated. There is no scientific proof of what causes it and how it can be cured”. Hon. Beatrice Anywar Woman Member of Parliament Kitgum District said.

Beatrice further said that  she first reported the  case of nodding disease  in 1998 and again in 2009 to the ministry of Health  and  nothing was done about until  this month when she decided  to bring  25 children  suffering from  nodding disease to  Mulago Hospital Kampala for medical attention.

On Monday the women movement visited the children in Mulago and passed on a few items which included blankets among others.

On March 7 the women’s movement  in solidarity and support of  the mothers whose children are suffering from nodding disease  called a press conference to   call on government  of Uganda  to act and  put in place intensive programmes to address the nodding disease and support  families and children affected by the disease.

The women movement is also concerned about the inhuman and rudimental way of how the parents have been reduced to tying  their children  on a trees in order to save them from injury. The women  tied themselves on the trees as symbol and support to mothers that have been reduced to tying their children on trees.

These are some of the photos taken during  the press conference

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This week, a 30 minute Video by the Invisible Children, a nonprofit organization based in USA with a campaign message “Stop Kony2012” appeared on the internet.  The video’s premise is that people in America – and the world beyond have the power to stop Kony  by raising support for his capture.  In this controversial film, the maker introduces a young boy from Acholi called Jacob whom he  says  “I first met this boy  in Uganda, Central African Republic and  he was running for his life”. This shows  ignorance in this film. The film has since generated a heated debate in the cyber space especially  twitter and facebook. The KONY2012 campaign video has been viewed over 32 million online   and the topics #StopKony and #KONY2012 are trending on twitter.

According to Rosebell Kagumire, the communications  officer at Isis-WICCE and a prominent blogger  the   video  simplifies the story of millions of people in Northern Uganda and makes out a narrative that is often heard about Africa – about how hopeless people are in terms of conflict and that  only people off this continent can help.Yet this is not  entirely true: there are have been  local initiatives to end this war people like Betty Bigombe  who went into the bush to try and convince Kony to come out of the bush.

The film  also   shows the situation in Northern Uganda eight  years back which is contrary to the current situation.  Since then, many things have changed; people  are now back to their  homes, children are going to school and several economic activities are taking place at the same time  peace building and post conflict recovery processes are  also going on.

Another Ugandan blogger Ssozi Javie commented that   “if you don’t speak for yourself, someone will speak for you”. This is exactly what Jason Russell, the founder of the Invisible Children is doing – speaking for a bunch of voiceless Ugandans”.

It is also reported that  the filmmaker  talked to nearly every person  he  could  in Washington as an attempt to get the United States to stop Kony, which was responded to in October 2011 by President Obama who sent a group of 100 specially trained military soldiers to Uganda to find Kony who has been hiding in the jungle.

The movement, dubbed Kony 2012, is set to attract the top 20 celebrities and the top 12 individuals in politics, as Russell views them as “a crucial aspect to spreading the word and getting the world involved.” It is again reported that the video was mentioned by White House spokesman Jay Carney on Thursday during his briefing.

The website, Kony2012.com was created by the Invisible Children to sell t-shirts, bracelets, and posters to raise the awareness of Kony and make him a household name in the United States. Russell states that funds are used in Uganda to create schools and other buildings for children as well as promote the campaign and provide resources for tracking down and arresting Kony.

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