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NEWS An independent publication from the 2007 Commonwealth People’s Forum, Afrikana Hotel, Kampala, Uganda.

Issue No. 2

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Commonwealth has failed on human rights By Juliana Omale - Atemi


HERE are many treaties that have been ratified by Commonwealth countries with regards to human rights. From the Commonwealth plans of action to the African Union and African Commission for People's and Human rights among other regional entities, the ratification of these treaties has been an indication of the countries' commitment to human rights. But that is all. Commitment. However, there are many gapping gaps between policy statements on human rights and implementation of the same. Civil society organisations are concerned about decisions being made by heads of state which they do not comply to. Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of the World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS) says: “There is a serious compliance deficit. It demoralises civil society when communiqués are perpetually ignored.” Naidoo adds the civil society is concerned about freedom of association, assembly and expression especially when counter terrorism measures are used selectively to curtail people's rights and privileges. The concluding statement and recommendations from the Commonwealth Human Rights Forum in Valletta, Malta in 2005 stated the need for a formal report-back to the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on the implementation of heads' commitments for human rights; that governments should ensure human rights norms are not compromised using security as an excuse; and that the Commonwealth Expert Group be set up on the future of policing. However, the reality for millions of citizens in the Commonwealth nations is contrary to the assumption of the existence of human rights values, principles and standards. Today, Naidoo will be travelling to Ethiopia in support of human rights activists Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie who have been in jail for two years awaiting trial. The two were charged with treason, genocide as well as outrage against the state for demonstrating against election irregularities in which 30 students died. “Far too many countries pay lip service to human rights issues,” says Naidoo. “This year's CHOGM must move from rhetoric to

Delegates follow proceedings at the ongoing Commonwealth People’s Forum in Kampala, Uganda.

implementation. There is no point in our governments saying all the right things which they have no intention of implementing.” This sentiment is echoed by the delegations of national human rights commissions who have been calling for greater interactions and dialogue between human rights institutions and governments. According to the chair of the Uganda

“We would like to see a situation where the terms of engagement are stipulated between human rights institutions and national governments so that we can begin to build the rapport,” Human Rights Commission, Margaret Sekaggya, the newly established Commonwealth National Human Rights Institutions' Forum will place their proposal for more autonomy within the Commonwealth. “We would like to see a situation where the terms of engagement are stipulated between human rights institutions and national governments so that we can begin to build the rapport,” says Florence Simbiri Jaoko from the Kenya National Human Rights Commission.

The chair of the Human Rights Commission in Sierra Leone, Jamesina King, says national human rights commissions must play their role in the development of their countries in the context of safeguarding the rights and privileges of their nationals. “Many of our institutions do not have adequate funding from national governments and our recommendations are not taken seriously either,” she says. “Some countries of the Commonwealth do not even have human rights commissions.” Naidoo takes issue with Commonwealth countries that view themselves as beyond reproach in the area of human rights: “The United Kingdom, Canada and Australia are exporters of human rights and democracy but their own record is dismal in prosecuting the global war on terror,” he laments. He singles out Australia's counter terrorism Bill for having ineffective human rights protections to balance its provisions. “Civil society recognises that legislation to deal with terrorism is necessary but racial and religious profiling and invasions of privacy equally undermine the tenets of democracy and the rule of law,” he notes. From a human rights perspective, civil society wants to see that legislation and policy governing them ensures freedom of association, assembly and expression remain sacred and sacrosanct because they are committed to a serious relationship and partnership with government on a basis of transparency. “This is a contract between the state and its citizens,” explains Naidoo. “If those rights are taken away you cannot make a claim to the existence of democracy.” He says the failure by governments to tap into the expertise and knowledge of civil society deprives them of free policy intelligence. “The best chance a policy stands to be successfully implemented is when there is civil society involvement.”

Published by African Woman & Child Feature Service for the Commonwealth Foundation.

Jamesina King

Kumi Waidoo

Florence Simbiri Jaoko




Wednesday, 21 November, 2007

Developing countries lose out on donor-recipient arrangements By Lydia Mirembe


NTERNATIONAL Finance, Development and Environment consultant, Sony Kapoor has condemned conditional financial aid being given to developing countries, terming it as the cause of perpetual poverty in developing countries. Presenting a paper on the changing development landscape, Kapoor said that money given as aid comes at a high cost to the recipient countries as most of it is subjected to conditional ties. Some of these funds are being challenged back through the procurement of goods and services from the donor country in the form of consultant's fees and administrative costs. Kapoor said that the situation is worsened by increased fragmentation of aid: “The number of projects funded by donors is increasing yet the amount of money given is reducing. What used to come in as a $100 chunk is trickling in five $20 pieces, most of which covers administrative costs,” he said. He added that financial aid from the donating countries is good for the receiving country, only if it is of good quality and used properly. Kapoor says corruption and capital flight are key factors that have impeded development mainly in

In order to move sub-Sahara Africa. forward, Kapoor “Many people have recommended been misled into that African believing that countries should corruption only tackle debt and happens at the repatriate stolen national level where assets. He further policemen seek small called for the bribes from bad public disclosure drivers on the road in of channels of poor countries.” money transfer However, he and how they explained, corruption operate. There also takes place at should also be international level in capital control and big institutions like tracking of Swiss banks where financial Poor People line up to take advantage of one of the donor funded projects corrupt leaders bank transactions as the money they plunder from their well as environmental taxation, named as channels through which economies. renegotiation of FDI and tougher money leaves developing “Corruption is not only black, fiscal regimes. countries. brown and yellow, it is also white. Kapoor said that all countries “Most countries are importing Grand corruption has much more should work towards achieving more than they export. Money impact on economies than petty good systems, characterised by comes in through foreign direct corruption,” he said. equity, stability, redistribution, investments but the profits are Kapoor noted that a lot of money is global public goods, good taken out by investors,” Kapoor channelled out of developing governance and sustainable said. countries, sometimes in a development. “Money should be kept in the clandestine manner, a trend known Discussing Kapoor's paper, country to circulate and generate as capital flight: “You find an item Uganda's poverty eradication economic development.” worth $1,000 exported at $100. In consultant, Augustine Nuwagaba, Among the essentials for this case $900 is taken by an said that development should be development, Kapoor named unknown person,” he said. initiated by respective countries. domestic resources, favourable Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), “Development is not initiated from policies, institutional frameworks unfavourable trade practices, the outside. It's initiated from and political stability. He said that biased international institutions, within and can only be propelled domestic resource mobilisation, dept payment, foreign exchange retention and supplementation are from the outside,” he said. reserves and remittances were all Nuwagaba called for developing key to international development.

countries to position themselves strategically in order to penetrate the global market because there is no such thing as free trade. “Developing countries are sidelined and cannot compete favourably. They are not represented on key instruments in the global economic governance. They should, therefore, increase their voice,” he said. Citing the examples of Singapore, Malaysia, Rwanda and Latin American countries, Nuwagaba said that it is possible for African countries to initiate development programmes and pursue them successfully. “Countries should know what they want and go for it,” he said. He, however, cautioned that good governance is essential for development to occur, saying, “poverty is an issue of governance. Where there is good governance there is no poverty.” Both Kapoor and Nuwagaba agreed that countries need to generate and keep their own money and then use it for national development. “We need to have our own options. We need wealth at household level before we look at the international level. We need money that comes from the country, is owned by the country and reaches every part of the country where it is needed,” Kapoor said.

Development must include sustainable urbanisation By Khadija Mohammed


ORD is out that cities are under siege and urban development must be given priority if problems like education, trade, human rights and economics are to be addressed. Ongoing sessions at different workshops during the Commonwealth People's Forum said that the conference theme ─Realising People's Potential ─though apt can only be realised through Urban Development. Speaker after speaker deliberately demonstrated that there can be no sustainable development without sustainable urbanisation. “Among the critical challenges facing cities around the world in the 21st Century are poverty, climate change and urbanisation,” said Christine Platt, President of Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP). CAP estimates that urban growth rate stands at between three to six per cent per year in at least a third of the Commonwealth countries. Africa and India were cited as regions facing urbanisation problems. For instance, India has a population of 1,149 million people out of whom only 28 per cent are urbanised. Large numbers of people have been waking up in slums where their life expectancy is dramatically less than their compatriots who live in better conditions. The most glaring fact is that even as much as these people live in urban areas, they still

lack access to basic necessities such as health facilities, clean water and sanitation, conducive environment for education and shelter. In East African, Nairobi holds a large number of slum dwellers and biggest slum in SubSahara Africa known as Kibera is located in Nairobi. At the same time, it emerged that climate change is an issue that cannot be ignored as it has contributed to unsustainable urbanisation. “Climate change can no longer be ignored as global warming is likely to impact on higher energy costs,” Platt said, adding, “The issue is rapidly becoming an area of grave concern for governments within the Commonwealth”. She said: “The poor are disproportionately vulnerable to the local impacts of climate change because they typically live in the most hazardous locations.” Climate change is likely to speed up the rate of urbanisation within some Commonwealth countries as has been with the increase in environmental refugees. Urban planning is a global agenda that needs to be put on the platform for discussion. Many cities are developing in an unsustainable manner. For this reason, there is great need to ensure that urban growth is managed in a sustainable manner and in collaboration with all stakeholders. Developed countries have managed to control the situation and have avoided carrying out rehabilitation settlements that would affect urban planning.

The Vancouver World Urban Forum III held in June last year called on planners to play an important role as change agents. It also underlined the importance of sustainability as the backbone of new forms of planning. The Vancouver Declaration was represented by 17 national planning bodies that committed themselves to promote New Urban Planning and addressed the most A man manouevres his way through raw sewage. critical issues. The Commonwealth Association of Planners ignored and that urban planning is critical has been conducting planning workshops for management of urban change. since April and will continue to do so until But the Director of International April next year. This action was taken by Programmes, Hopper Brooks, from the planners as a result of exceptional response Princes Foundation said “it is necessary for from the people at the grassroots. all stakeholders to collaborate in planning The question of who will build the new our new existing cities”. urban centre has been handled positively And Eugene Silayo from the Chuo cha Ardhi but the implementation has been left to the (University of Land)in Dar es Salaam, Commonwealth Heads of the Government Tanzania recommends that governments Meeting. review national land policies as human “Politicians and planners need to translate population is increasing at an alarming rate these steps into a lasting impact for the and land is becoming scarce. management of urban change,” said Platt. Silayo says: “Governments have to conceive The World Urban Forum has a clear plans to optimise land use so as to bring consensus that the challenges of about economic growth without lowering urbanisation across the globe cannot be quality.”

Published by African Woman & Child Feature Service for the Commonwealth Foundation.

Wednesday, 21 November, 2007

<<<< PEOPLE’S SPACE >>>>



People's Space brings Cultural gifts to the Commonwealth new face to the Forum There is a wealth of skill and knowledge in Kampala this week. People from within and without the Commonwealth have gathered to share their knowledge and opinions as part of the People's Forum. Sara Nics has been asking people from around the world what their home countries can teach the Commonwealth. Timother Mpungu (Uganda) Uganda should help other countries to know that our environment is really good. We should teach them to take care of the environment. Meaghan Curry (Canada) In Canada, anybody is welcome. People are treated equally. Everybody should live in harmony. Multiculturalism is a manta that Canada lives by.

Salome Taddesse (Ethiopia) Ethiopia can teach other countries about relationships based on mutual respect. Emilia Arthur (Ghana) There's a South African political philosophy called Ubuntu, which is essentially about humanity. I'm, because you are, because we are. My being human is linked to your being human. If the world practiced Ubuntu, there would not be a situation where I come and take your natural resources in such a way that I do not benefit while you destroy my livelihood. Ahmed Muqthadr (India) The world needs to learn about the traditional culture of India: Bharat Natyam is a very good traditional dance. Margaret Pearson (Kenya) Kenya is beginning to really empower the youth, particularly on entrepreneurial development. There are too many young people in countries all over the world who are hanging around on corners, getting into booze, drugs and crime. Kenya has made a start on that. Prerna Bomzan (Nepal) We've never been colonised. We stand for people's sovereignty.

Charles Muzahura (Uganda) We're particularly trying to shoe the originality of Uganda culture. It's the beauty of Uganda culture in particular. Andrew Fiddaman (United Kingdom) The UK can share the power of having the courage of your convictions, to be open to new ideas, to seize opportunities as they appear. The most important thing is for every country to learn each other. Umar Kawu (Nigeria) Nigeria can teach the world how to manage diversity and difference. Nigerians also have a great entrepreneurial spirit. We could also share our great hunger for knowledge. But maybe people around the world already have that. Diana Komukama (Uganda) I think Uganda is the most hospitable country in the whole world. In Uganda, we are rich in diversity, culture and beliefs. There are over 50 tribes here and we all live together. We can live with each other regardless of where you are from. It's on record that Uganda is one of the poorest countries. Despite that, it goes out of its way to achieve things. We have won awards for leading in HIV/AIDS advocacy and for promoting girls' education. The rest of the Commonwealth could learn that from Uganda.

By Sara Nics & Richard Latigo


HEN the Commonwealth People's Forum started in Kampala on Sunday, the theme it set, Realising People's Potential set the ball rolling on issues around which the conference would dwell on. One effort was to stimulate international conversations around issues that affect poor people. But in the last few years, those who organised the meeting realised that much impact could not be registered without involving the very people affected. That is why the Commonwealth Foundation and the British Council have launched a new avenue called the People's Space. This is an open, interactive area that includes cultural performances, mini-workshops, films for conversations, multimedia displays, organisers' hope, fruitful exchange of cultures, opinions and experiences. “The doors of the Commonwealth have been flung open,” declared an announcement from the Commonwealth Foundation. The Space was officially opened yesterday with singing children and local drummers heralding a new beginning. Uganda's Vice President of Uganda, Gilbert Bukenya, said he was proud that the new face of the Commonwealth was being launched in Kampala. “This People's Space must be part of future Commonwealth meetings,” an elated Bukenya said. Previous CHOGM events and other international fora have been described by participants and observers as exclusive closed door affairs only accessible to government bureaucrats. Commonwealth Foundation Director, Mark Collins said the Commonwealth Heads of Government need to hear the voices of the people in the 53 member block, and the People's Space is yet another venue for people to speak their minds. Located just outside the Hotel Africana, the Space is an open-air pavilion that will be home to countless dancers, readers, singers and performers for the next five days. The small tents will hold conversations about prosperity, health, leadership and environment among other issues. In one tent, women in traditional Ugandan dress were presenting

information about agriculture and traditional food staples in the region. In a neighbouring tent, people were seated at computers – blogging and e-mailing information about the conference to friends and family around the world. The People's Space coordinator, Anne Babinaga, who also works with the British Council, was elated with these happenings. She said the space provides an avenue for citizens to interact, participate and debate matters that are affecting their daily lives. It is also an open venue where participants in the People's, Youth, and Business forums can meet, she said. “People have to see and hear what CHOGM is. The People's Space will be a meeting place for the people – a hub of the CHOGM experience,” said Collins. Collins, who is the chairperson of this year's People's Forum, says the Space is an opportunity for

diversity of the Commonwealth through the People's Forum themes. Learning Journeys Space: A chance for Ugandan communities to network with the Fora participants before and after the journey; an opportunity to build real rapport and future conversations. Multi-Media Exchanges: Activities to enable people of the Commonwealth to be part of the proceedings through virtual media – Internet Booths, SMS & blogging. Interaction Leadership Space: A free, public taste of some of the speakers from the fora Film exchanges: Opportunities for mixed media to stimulate transformational conversations on people's forum themes. Cultural exchanges: A taste of the “uncommon” aspects of Commonwealth culture, talented artists whose expression is nontraditional in their countries.

Drum beats heralded the launch of the People’s Space people from all walks of life to make their own statements, which will be passed on to the heads of governments. From the People's Space, the delegates pass by the so-called Wall of Greatness. The billboard is a space for visitors to contribute their vision of what they would like to see of their country and the Commonwealth. Bukenya said he would like to build a permanent wall of greatness at a roundabout in downtown Kampala. “So we can know what people think about how they can change our society,” said Bukenya. Building that exchange – among citizens and with decisionmakers – is what People's Space is all about. Components of the People's Space The Commonwealth Boulevard: Opportunity for people to contribute to the strength and

Published by African Woman & Child Feature Service for the Commonwealth Foundation.

The Word Exchange: A space for literature. Welcome to Uganda: An opportunity for the host country to share its diverse culture and heritage with the rest of the Commonwealth. People's Wall of Greatness: An interactive installation that invites individuals to change how people think about their countries and the Commonwealth. Something visible and likely to attract a lot of interest as people paint and write on 'bricks' and place them where they will be displayed. The space is funded by the Commonwealth Foundation and the British Council. It is also supported by East African Breweries, Standard Chartered Bank and Uganda telecom. Over 10,000 people, including delegates to the CHOGM, and the first ladies




Wednesday, 21 November, 2007

President's call for industrialisation challenged By Namukwaya Josephine


he issue of industrialisation, agricultural development and environment continues to occupy the minds of many delegates at the Commonwealth People's Forum. Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni, on Sunday called for more industrialisation if environmental degradation is to stop. Speaking at the official launch of the Forum, Museveni, while chastising the greed of industrialists of developed countries of Europe and North America, said developing countries would only stop ravaging the environment if they were to industrialise. But reacting to the President's speech, Mama Miria Obote said Uganda needs more dams if it is to succeed with industrialisation. Mama Miria, widow to former Uganda President Milton Obote, said that industrialisation is good, but can only succeed if there is sufficient power. “More dams like Bujagali and Karuma need to be constructed if Uganda is to realise a constructive change in industrialisation.” However, Miria who is also the head of an opposition political party, Uganda People's Congress, said that as much as the President seems to be focusing on industrialisation, Uganda may not be ready if there is no major transformation in the agriculture sector, which drives the economy. “A bigger population depends on agriculture and by encouraging industrialisation the President is killing the true African culture,” Miria said. “Africans are rich simply because of farming, which means the President has to start by encouraging agro-based industries.” Male Wasswa, a delegate at the conference, also challenged the issue of industrialisation. “Resorting to industrialisation is likely to cause rural-urban migration if not done in a strategic manner. A larger population is likely to migrate from the villages to the urban centres simply because they need jobs from the city centres.” However, Debora Mutai, a community worker, thinks that by encouraging industrialisation, Museveni is in the favour of few Ugandans, and investors, who have the potential to set up industries. She said: “We are likely to see an investor in Uganda as a sole commercial farmer providing even food stuff to Ugandans.” Mutai argues that the government needs to engage the citizens in tailor made programmes especially those in small scale industries. But industrialisation of small scale industries has often failed due to irregular power supply. Miria, giving an example of Tri-star Textile Industry in Bugolobi, Kampala, claimed this factory has failed twice simply because it lacked enough raw materials. “The President's priority should be to motivate farmers with agricultural incentives like availing tractors to be used on large pieces of lands,” Miria said. “They also need to be helped in finding markets for their produce,” she added. The issue of agriculture was passionate to other delegates who said the government can only ignore agriculture at its own peril because the bigger Uganda population is constituted by women and children. “Women work tirelessly for their families and it is through agriculture that the local woman in Uganda gets to sustain her family. The pay women receive in industries is too little to sustain families, and yet the working conditions are not favourable to women agriculture sector, either.” Many delegates felt the government should mobilise its citizens to join co-operative societies that will provide them with affordable credit.

Renowned hostage negotiator decries Commonwealth's poverty levels By Commonwealth Foundation Media Team


NDERDEVELOPMENT in the Commonwealth and co-existence of wealth and poverty can only be described in one word ─it's a scandal. This is how Terry Waite, who specialises on humanitarian and diplomacy issues describes what he sees in nations that form the family that is the Commonwealth. Noting that 800 million people in the Commonwealth live on less than one dollar a day; 20 million Africans are living with HIV/AIDS; and 327 million live in the slums, Waite sent out a passionate appeal for wealth creation. Waite spoke at the opening plenary of the Commonwealth People's Forum in Kampala, Uganda on Monday to some 1,500 delegates of 600 organisations from 59 countries representing some 1.8 billion of the world's population. Hosted by the Commonwealth Foundation, the CPF brings together civil society leaders, activists and workers to define and present a people's agenda to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which opens on Saturday. “It is a scandal that so many people live on less than $365 a year – the same amount that one person in Europe would spend on an ipod,” Waite said. He observed that the Commonwealth has a wealth of resources, cultures, and experiences that make it one of the wealthy groupings in the world. “But we also share in common poverty. That is, in today's world, there are 800 million people in the Commonwealth who live on less than one dollar a day,” he explained. He, however, praised Uganda for confronting HIV/AIDS and making significant inroads in stemming the spread of the epidemic.

Terry Waite (right) is joined by the Executive Director of Commonwealth Foundation Mark Collins (left) and a delegate at the opening plenary of the Commonwealth People’s Forum “That happened because people came together. Good governance, people's participation and wealth creation belong together,” he said. He asked delegates to question why “certain countries in the world are able to lift themselves out of poverty and engage in wealth creation and why so many Africans still live in poverty”. Waite cited unfair trade agreements imposed on poor countries as one of the reasons and a major hindrance to development in the Third World. Unfortunately, he said, even the rich nations are caught up in the dynamics of international trade, which frustrate efforts to have a greater impact on development. On the issue of basic services, he noted that all children need to have proper care, education and health to empower them

Published by African Woman & Child Feature Service for the Commonwealth Foundation.

to become the next President, Archbishop or leader in various sectors. Waite used the opportunity to share his five years experience in captivity, four of which were in solitary confinement. “From the prison cell I welcomed the news of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid.” Waite, a former special envoy to the archbishop of Canterbury, was held hostage by militants in Beirut Lebanon from 1987-1991. “I never thought I would see the end of Communist regime, or the end of apartheid in South Africa,” he said. “Members of the Commonwealth can join our commonwealth to find solutions. Everybody has to be an agent of change for your own development,” he concluded, amid applause from the delegates.

Wednesday, 21 November, 2007

<<<< PICTORIAL >>>>


Commonwealth Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Forum in Pictures

Published by African Woman & Child Feature Service for the Commonwealth Foundation.





Wednesday, 21 November, 2007

Challenges facing Kenya’s urban development Kibera slum dwellers to get new houses that are not welcome

Little to gain from CHOGM, say Kampala's slum dwellers By Christopher Mason and Uthman Kiyaga



While Kibera forms the largest slum in Africa, a new development project to improve housing in an area that the most basic facilities are lacking does not go down well with the residents, writes Sara Nics KENNEDY Nyangau is standing outside a small restaurant kiosk, looking up at new apartment buildings under construction on a hilltop overlooking the expansive Kibera slums, in Nairobi, Kenya. “When they try to move people into those houses, there will be riots,” Nyangau says, almost as if he is talking to himself. The new apartments overlook the oldest part of Kibera, the largest slum in East Africa where most of the houses are built of mud and wattle; where there is no sewer system and limited access to clean water and power. The only roadways are footpaths paved with years of accumulated trash and red soil. Nyangau lives in a Kibera village called Olympic. His family's unserviced 10-foot square house is just a short walk away from the new construction. Within the next year, the Kenyan government hopes to move 600 households into the new apartments. The three-bedroom flats will have water, electricity and sewer system. Nyangau, his wife and their three children will not move to the new houses. The apartments have been promised to residents of a neighbouring village within the slum known as Soweto East. “Only well-off people will be able to afford to life there,” Nyangau says. “At the end of the day, some people will be forced to start another slum elsewhere.” As planned, 600 families from Soweto East will move into the apartments temporarily, while their current homes are razed to make way for more apartments. The same 600 families will then move into the flats back in Soweto East and their monthly payments will go towards eventual ownership of the homes. But Nyangau says he does not think the multiple moves in these villages on the east side of Kibera will go according to plan. “The rent will be much more than what they are paying now. Ninety per cent of them will not be able to pay and they will be forced to start another slum elsewhere,” Nyangau says. This housing project is one small part of the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme, a multiyear, multi-million dollar plan to improve the lives of the estimated 5.3 million Kenyans who live without adequate shelter. More than 500 million Kenyans live in Kibera alone. In a government building only a few kilometres from Kibera, the coordinator of the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme is sitting at her desk, fielding a flurry of telephone calls. Leah Muraguri says Kibera is like every other slum settlement in Kenya, with unique needs and interlocking challenges that require a holistic development approach. With so many private, business, public and non-governmental stakeholders in the slum, Muraguri says there is no way improvements can be brought to the area without the developers meeting some resistance. She says the programme is not going to displace people who live in the slums. It intends to carefully execute development plans that are specifically designed for each settlement. Despite the concerns raised by the residents,


HAFIC Kagimu is too busy hanging his laundry in the mid-day sun to notice the gleaming truck with police escorts that come screaming into Kampala from the Entebbe Airport, carrying a cargo of luxury sedans to be used during Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Despite living barely more than 100 metres from Entebbe Road, in a mud-packed house that is squeezed between the railway tracks and a putrid drainage ditch, Kagimu is a world away from that truck and what its cargo represents. When CHOGM arrives, hundreds of foreign delegates will be driving on the newly repaved Entebbe Road, passing within sight of Katwe, home to one of Kampala's largest and most disadvantaged slums. And so, within sight of CHOGM's main thoroughfare, life will go on in the slums much as it did before, experiencing little of the conference's promised benefits beyond an increased police presence that has seen many of its youth rounded-up in recent months. It is here where politicians' claims that the meeting will benefit all Ugandans is going to be put to the test. It remains to be seen whether Kampala's most impoverished residents will be affected acrossthe-board, with the government allocating 4.8 per cent of tax payers revenue to fund CHOGM's budget. "The Queen is coming to see the condition of the Ugandan people, but I don't know that she'll see the conditions of the people here," Kagimu says in an interview outside his home. "We should ask her to use the train, because then she would see our lives." With that, he smiles and gestures up to the train tracks that are a little more than an arm's length from his home. Kagimu pays Ugandan shillings 10,000 per month to rent the small mud house he shares with his family. They live in one of about half a dozen mud structures that are packed tightly against the railway's embankment. Residents say four or five trains pass by on a typical day. Sometimes, many more go barrelling by. When they pass, the trains scatter pedestrians who use the tracks as a main road. Children, no more than 11 or 12 years old, scramble to get out of the way as they struggle under the burden of heavy sacks of scrap metal and plastics they plan to sell to local recyclers. Nearby, someone has built a home through a tarp over an abandoned car. The smell of human faeces permeates the surrounding grasses. Kagimu says between 30 and 50 people live in this cramped settlement, called Cambodia. It is home to former street people, who are generally ignored by local authorities. The rest of Katwe's residents also ignore residents of Cambodia, except to complain if they find anything stolen. “The community fears them," says Paddy Kiggundu, chairman for the Katwe Two neighbourhood. This social isolation, combined with crippling poverty, means the residents have no access to outside help when one of them

falls ill. “People are dying so much from strange diseases we don't understand,” Kagimu says. Over Kagimu's shoulder, across the drainage ditch, a man lies in a shade against a brick wall. His worried wife sits next to him, watching his arms, legs and lips spasm uncontrollably with an undiagnosed sickness that first appeared two weeks ago and has steadily worsened. The family can not afford to go to see a doctor, so they spend their days sitting in the shade, hoping that maybe tomorrow he will begin feeling better. The couple came from their village in eastern Uganda about a year ago, in the hopes of getting a good job in the city. Things have not gone well. “We just want to go back home, but we don't have the money for transport," the woman says. Transport is no trouble for the international delegates who are making their way to Kampala this week. The police force has new cars and motorcycles. But the only impact for residents of Katwe has been a series of arrests in the name of cleaning up the streets ahead of the meeting. Asked whether any of them have been arrested during the sweeps and a group of about twelve youths from Katwe all raise their hands. "We want CHOGM. It is benefiting Uganda," says 21-year-old Godfrey Ssozi. "But we the youth, we do not benefit. We are arrested." Ssozi and some of his peers have been hired to do odd jobs, such as digging or carrying things needed in certain locations. On this day, they are gathered around a local water tap built by a local businessman. They are in charge of collecting Uganda Shillings 50 from anyone who wants to fill a jerry can with water. Walking through Katwe's Base Zone, one of six neighbourhoods in the settlement, women are busy cooking meat on open grills, or hanging laundry on lines strung between the homes. Children ─a conspicuously high number of them given that it is a school day ─run through the alleyways or sit in the shade. The community has a reputation for gang violence, theft and assaults. Undercover police keep a close eye on people coming and going from Katwe. On this day, they demand that visiting journalists identify themselves. The officers ask whether the journalists are aware of the dangers in Katwe and recommend hiding all valuables before entering the community. This close watch kept from the outside is symbolic of Katwe's biggest problem ─a problem facing most of Kampala and Uganda's most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The communities are almost completely isolated from the rest of the country because of their reputations for chronic poverty and instability. That isolation may be only magnified during CHOGM. A country eager to landscape its roundabouts and pave over its potholes is unlikely to put its social bumps and bruises on display for visiting dignitaries. But residents here say they want to be heard by Uganda's international visitors. "We are going to stand by the side of the road and shout to let people know about our suffering," Kiggundu says.

"We want CHOGM.

It is benefiting Uganda,


But we the youth, we


do not benefit.

We are arrested”

1. 2. 3. 4.

A footbridge in Kibera over a river of raw sewer. The expansive Kibera slum in Nairobi is also the largest in Africa; Kenney Nyangau outside his mud walled shack in the slum; The highrise apartments that the Government is building in a project that will change the face of the slum.

Muraguri is optimistic about the housing project. “For many years affordability has been an excuse for not improving the slums,” she says. “The cost of owning a house is inhibitive for almost all of us. We have to take up loans. And this is a low income person who doesn't have [access to] a loan. Surely people will not afford, but should that forever be an excuse that these people should never live in decent houses?” Muraguri says as part of the Kibera project, the government will provide a rent subsidy for the people who are moved into the temporary housing. When they move into the permanent apartments back in Soweto, she says, the government will encourage them to join housing cooperatives, so that their small monthly payments will eventually add up to home ownership. Real and perceived ownership is central to improving the lives of people who live in slum settlements, according to Daniel Vilnersson who works for UN-HABITAT, one of the nongovernmental partners to the national slum improvement programme. Vilnersson estimates that 90 per cent of Kibera residents rent their homes from middle class Kenyans who have built the structures


on government-owned land. “You don't do any maintenance on your house because you are renting it,” Vilnersson says. “I think [a sense of ownership] will go beyond taking care of your house. It will also involve taking care of the drains, taking care of the garbage.” She adds that: “We wouldn't want to have people live in such small places forever, but as the situation is now, it might be better if they have a lease for the land so that they are not squatting and also own the structure.” Vilnersson notes, in the case of Kibera, the onus of handing over ownership lies with the government. The vast majority of Kibera is built on publicly-owned land. In an evergrowing city of approximately three million people, Vilnersson says, the 600 acres of Kibera are very valuable land. Back at the Ministry of Housing office, Muraguri says her programme wants to rid people in the slums of the idea that they will be given a free house. She says the government and civil society can plan, suggest and develop some infrastructure, but they need the cooperation of people living in slum settlements to really affect change in the communities. “What I'm so keen to see is for people to accept that they need to improve themselves,”

she says. “They can still afford, by mobilising their own income, to pay off the cost [of the house.] Once security of tenure is assured, people can actually mobilise finances.” Muraguri says the Soweto housing project is unique in the slum upgrading programme. The government is not building houses in most of the five slum settlements where it is actively working. She says generally the focus is on developing social infrastructure, such as schools, resources centres and community centres. Most of the sites also include education and industrial development projects, intended to help people earn some money. Muraguri argues developing infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water and sanitation will make it possible for more commercial and industrial businesses to invest in the slum communities and hire more people. “Slum settlements have a very high potential to support the national economy,” she says. “Within the slum settlements there is a lot of informal industry. There are a lot of products and services that come from there. It's only that they don't know how to market them.” The renewed interest in improving the lives of people who live in slums has been spurred in part by the Millennium Development Goals

which targets to improve the lives of 100 million slum dwellers worldwide by 2020. The Kenyan government hopes to spend approximately US$12 billion on the programme over the next 15 years. Some of that money will come from the national budget, with the rest coming from national and international civil society organisations and the private sector. There are already countless projects of nongovernmental organisations at work in Kibera. The programme aims to track and harmonize those efforts. “If one is doing water and sanitation, you find many donors understand water is a basic need,” she says. “They will put monies there. And then another NGO will do the same. In Kibera we call them spaghetti pipes: so many pipes from several donors. As a government, we want to remove all those pipes and put one main pipe.” Vilnersson and his colleagues are focusing on two infrastructural projects in Kibera, while they wait to see how the government's plan evolves. They are building shower and toilet boxes in Soweto East and they are building part of a road into Olympic. “We're providing the basic services to make the situation better for the people living there

now,” he says. “Spending too much money, when we know the government has a plan for it, would not make sense.” Vilnersson and his colleagues, however, are careful to make it clear that while UN-HABITAT is involved in some housing pilot projects in slums elsewhere in Kenya, it is not part of the Olympic housing project. He says building permanent housing for people in Kibera is outside the agency's mandate. “Housing is huge. There are so many people in such a small area that we would have to put up highrise buildings on most of the land available just to house the people who are there now.” Based on his experience working in the settlement, Vilnersson says he understands the residents' concerns that moving people from their homes in Soweto to the temporary apartments in Olympic might stir up unrest in Kibera. “The problem is that there are only 600 flats and 70,000 people in Soweto East,” he says. “It will take an enormous time for even that village to be upgraded and when people realise that, of course, something might happen. I don't think it's unavoidable. It's just a matter of informing the community in advance about what is going to happen.”

Published by African Woman & Child Feature Service for the Commonwealth Foundation.



<<<< PEOPLEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S POTENTIAL >>>>

Wednesday, 21 November, 2007

Africa democratising, but no meaningful development Books to be Launched at O Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Space NCE again hundreds of people from 59 countries have descended on Kampala, Uganda to discuss and come up with a Plan of Action around issues that are expected to transform the livelihoods of the poor people in Commonwealth countries. Arthur Okwemba sought thoughts of Nigeria's Nkoyo Toyo on these issues that will discussed at the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

QUESTION: Are you happy with the progress made by past CHOGM meetings? NKOYO TOYO: In terms of focusing Commonwealth countries on certain issues that need attention at the national, regional, and international levels, the gatherings have done a good job. But the problem we have is, while Commonwealth countries outside Africa are registering progress, those within the region are still struggling. This is despite steady economic growth being registered in some of the countries. The problem we have and which needs to be addressed urgently is the failure of economic growth trickling down to the poor people. Hence they are not part of the transformation taking place in their country. QUESTION: How can we ensure issues discussed and agreed upon at the CHOGM meeting are translated into action? TOYO: Indeed, good statements of intent that come out during these meetings require massive efforts to bring about meaningful change in poor people's lives. But relying on the governments to do just that has not been very successful. I think changes can better happen as result of people's actions at the national and local levels than at the international level. It's the responsibility of citizens of respective Commonwealth countries to push their governments to bring about change and progress on what is agreed upon at the Commonwealth meetings. If it's good governance, then it is the people themselves to pressure their

Nkoyo Toyo governments to live up to these ideals. This is what is required in countries like Zimbabwe, which is a failed state. We need to create space for Zimbabweans to look beyond the present and bring about change, rebuild their lives and institutions. QUESTION: Has civil society within the Commonwealth People's Forum utilised this space well? TOYO: No. We as the civil society have not used the Commonwealth meetings, especially those taking place in Africa, to project our issues and influence the outcomes of Heads of Government and the international agenda. The civil societies in the South have failed to seize the advantages presented by CHOGM, to strategically force their agendas on governments' business. I think we need to address this issue as a matter of urgency if we hope to represent the views and problems of the poor in a more effective manner. QUESTION: What issues do you think need to be given priority during this CHOGM meeting? TOYO: We need to re-examine the issue that democracy leads to development. Many African countries are democratising, but we are not seeing significant development happening as an effect of this. The challenge

for African governments is to interrogate the type of democracy they need to promote. This means democracy in Africa should not be just for the sake of it, but one that brings about development. This can only happen if we let technocrats drive government business. There is also need for CHOGM to put on the agenda the role of China in the development of African countries. China's presence in Africa is leading to closure of critical textile and other industries that are unable to compete with cheap products being dumped on the continent. There can never be transformation with domestic industries dying. CHOGM needs to place this issue on its agenda. Climate change and Millennium Development Goal, among other issues, need great focus during the CHOGM meeting in Kampala. QUESTION: Good Governance is marked as one of the key ingredients in the development of African countries. What is your take on this? TOYO: While we in the civil society have been raising questions around this issue, we need to do an internal assessment of governance concerns within the civil society organisations themselves. There is need to practice good governance within our organisations, which can then have a ripple effect on other institutions within our countries. QUESTION: No meaningful development can happen without acknowledging women's role in country development. Are CHOGM members living up to this spirit? TOYO: The biggest problem is that many African countries within the Commonwealth have failed to give greater recognition to contributions women make in the transformations within their countries. As such, how much women contribute to the economic growth of their respective countries is never measured. This has led to women's issues being pushed to the periphery whenever important decisions around resource allocation and programming for development are being taken. To ensure effective participation of women in the transformation of their countries, there is need to invest in areas where women are operating in. CHOGM should come up with a plan of action on to move forward on this matter.

To be launched on Wednesday at 2.00p.m. at Power Space

To be launched on Thursday at 1.00 - 2.00p.m at Word Space.

To be launched on Thursday at 4.00p.m. at Green Space.

Releasing people's potential through the eyes of the camera By Musarait Kashmiri


AST African and South Asia film makers and screen writers now have a chance to improve their skills through a training programme being carried out in the region. The programme, known as Maisha (Kiswahili for life) provides screenwriters, filmmakers and technical crews from East Africa (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda) and South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) with access to the professional training and production resources necessary to articulate their visions. Launched in 2004 at the Zanzibar Film Festival (ZIFF), Maisha aims to preserve, cultivate and give local people a voice. It's the first programme designed to offer well structured and accessible resources to the emerging filmmakers. The highlight of Maisha's programme is a three-week Lab festival held in Kampala, Uganda every year. Those who participate in these labs receive instruction, professional support and an opportunity to have their work critiqued. They are then guided by film industry mentors from around the world.

During these labs, participants learn the basics of screenwriting, directing, cinematography and editing, working in teams to shoot their own original short films. Maisha provides services all year round that include 10-day screenwriting workshops and seven-day mini workshops that produce three to five minute shorts. Although these processes help the participants create their own films. The real purpose of the Maisha Film Lab is to foster cross-cultural exchange of ideas, longlasting professional connections and handson learning. This is designed to prepare the participants to become leaders in their own local film industry. The successes of the Maisha project are now being recognised internationally. Recently, the Commonwealth Foundation supported the production of three short films for the People's Forum in Kampala, thanks to the image Maisha project has attained. The three short films to be shown as products

of People's potentials focus on women's human rights, the girl-child, and water issues in the rural communities. For Maisha, it is always difficult to measure the impact of arts and culture programmes. However, some films have the power to shape people's perceptions about themselves and the world they live in. It may take years before Maisha's graduates develop their careers to a point where they can direct feature films that appeal to a broader audience. When they do, their stories will have a profound impact on those who see them. Those with an interest in film making and screen writing are encouraged to join Maisha Film labs. Those who qualify get full scholarship. For further information about Maisha, visit our website:

Those who participate in these labs receive instruction, professional support and an opportunity to have their work critiqued

Published by African Woman & Child Feature Service for the Commonwealth Foundation.

To be launched on Thursday at 5.30p.m. at Cultural Exchange.

To be launched on Friday at 1.30p.m. at My Roots .


Wednesday, 21 November, 2007

Governments asked to provide social security By Lydia Mirembe


ELEGATES attending the Commonwealth Forum sent a passionate appeal to their governments and the civil society to give more attention to social issues affecting the poor people. Speaking at the conclusion of the two-day Development workshop, the delegates praised the work done by the authors of the World Social Report 2007, which was officially launched at the meeting. The report focuses on the universal right to social protection and security, particularly for those who cannot access programmes such as social security funds or other safety nets. Representing the Uganda Ministry of Internal Affairs, former Member of Parliament Obiga Kanya who launched the report, called on governments to provide total security for all citizens, including the 90 per cent living in rural areas. Kanya noted that social security has for a long time been considered a matter for people retiring from civil service, leaving out other deserving cases. “Social security should also be provided for people in the informal sector,” he said. He said government efforts to provide social security are mostly directed towards people employed in the formal sector and civil service, yet they form less than 20 per cent of the population in gainful employment. Many people are engaged in informal economic activities like agricultural production, craftsmanship, retail business among others. According to Kanya, issues of social security go beyond the marginalized groups because they touch each member of society in one way or another. “This should not be seen as a responsibility of government per se. We must all work towards making life safe for everyone, whether they are in formal or informal sector. All societies must be involved, particularly organised civil society at the grassroots.” For a long time, cultural practices ensured that all members of society were catered for. Society had provisions for all groups including children, youth, women, men and the elderly. For example, through the extended family, many people's social needs were met. “But with modernisation, we have abandoned the cultures, and we are not replacing them with appropriate social safety net mechanisms. We need to go back

to our cultural norms, look at the reasoning behind them and use them to foster social security,” Kanya said. Echoing Kanya's message, the Executive Director of the Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Associations (DENIVA), Jassy Kwesiga said its high time indicators of development went beyond the economic and political to include the social. “Most people concentrate on GDP and per capita income when measuring development. But issues of social security


The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental body working to help civil society organisations promote democracy, development and cultural understanding in Commonwealth countries. Applications are invited from civil society leaders in the Commonwealth to serve as MEMBERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION CIVIL SOCIETY ADVISORY COMMITTEE To be eligible, all applicants must be nationals of Commonwealth Foundation member countries and be employed by or hold an honorary position in an established civil society organisation (including Commonwealth Associations). Please visit our website for further information and details of how to apply. Applications should reach the Commonwealth Foundation by Tuesday 5 February 2008.

The Commonwealth Foundation is currently seeking seven civil society leaders willing to serve as representatives on the Commonwealth Foundation CIVIL SOCIETY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (CSAC) The CSAC is selected so as to ensure that it contributes to the development and implementation of the Foundation's programme. It is broadly representative of the different regions of the Commonwealth and different sectors and constituencies of civil society; and maintains a balanced gender profile. Only nationals of Commonwealth Foundation member countries employed by or holding an honorary position in an established civil society organisation (including Commonwealth Associations) will be eligible to be a member of the CSAC.

like gender equity, access to basic services like health and education should also be counted,” he said. Kwesiga complained that the people most affected by social factors are the ones lacking a fall-back plan. “We in civil society should, therefore, speak for these people and highlight their plight through all possible avenues,” he said, asking all stakeholders to thoroughly examine the factors that make these groups vulnerable. He called upon governments and civil society to consider the Social Watch Report and domesticate its recommendations. “The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is an opportunity for social watchers to raise consciousness about these key issues of social protection and security as captured in the Social Watch Report.” Since its formation in 1995, the International Social Watchers Network has produced reports highlighting key social issues including education, health, water and sanitation, gender equity, sexual and reproductive health and people participation among other factors.

The Committee is comprised of fourteen members. Representation is currently required in the following Commonwealth regions / areas: 1 representative from Europe 2 representatives from Asia 1 representative from Southern Africa 2 representatives from the Pacific (at least 1 non Australia / New Zealand) 1 representative from a Commonwealth Association Selection Criteria In addition to being a national of a Commonwealth Foundation member country and being employed by an established civil society organisation, all applicants must satisfy the following criteria: 1. Familiar with the Foundation and its work; 2. Active and respected by civil society within their countries, regions, constituencies or sectors; 3. Extensive experience of networking and operating at national, regional and international levels; 4. A background of knowledge of one or more of the Foundation's core programme areas; 5. Established relationships and dialogue with their governments; 6. Willing to give their time and advice and participate in meetings on a voluntary basis. However, agreed expenses will be paid. 7. Experience with Commonwealth Associations is essential for the representative from a Commonwealth Association and would be an advantage for regional representatives.

Published by African Woman & Child Feature Service for the Commonwealth Foundation.





Wednesday, 21 November, 2007

Culture key to development By Sara Nics CULTURE is a key ingredient to realising people's potential. A Culture in Development workshop at the Commonwealth People's Forum in Kampala was told that the most critical aspects of development and transformation must involve preservation, retention and transformation of “our unique cultures”. Hazel Brown of Network of NGOs of Trinidad and Tobago for the Advancement of Women said: “You won't realise your potential until you know who you are.” The meeting brought together 52 countries from the Commonwealth and seven countries that make up the friends of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is a multitude of tribal, local and regional cultural traditions. Participants in the culture workshop are spending two days exploring the richness, opportunities and challenges inherent in such diversity. “Our previous perception of traditional cultures is that they are old, rural and backward,” says Emily Drani of the CrossCultural Foundation of Uganda. “But we are now coming to see those traditions in a new light: as generational, knowledgeable and wise.” Speakers at the workshop stressed on positive and negative aspects of culture. They said that sustainable development requires understanding and use of the unique cultures within each nation. Participants at this session took the challenge of crafting a statement about the central role of culture in development. That statement will be fed into the communiqué the Commonwealth People's Forum will deliver to leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting later this week. “This workshop signals that culture is becoming more important in and to the Commonwealth,” said Andrew Firman, programme manager for culture and diversity with the Commonwealth

Foundation. “For the first time, culture takes its rightful place next to all other development issues.” Faiz Fayyaz from Pakistan's Community Motivation and Development Organisation said development agencies must take culture into account, along with the economic, social and political state of a region. Fayyaz works in a region of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan, where more than 60 per cent of the population live in abject poverty. He said many aid and development organisations have had projects in the region fail because they did not work within the strong Pashtun culture of northern Pakistan. “Cultural sensitivity is very high in the region,” he said. “You have to be in touch with local elders. You have to include them in the planning phase.” In particular, he said, development projects must take part in the jurga, the meetings held by Pashtun elders when there are decisions to made that affect the community. “People adhere to what is decided in the jurga,” Fayyaz explained. “Even the government's policies have failed in when they have not involved the jurga.” Emily Drani told participants about projects in Uganda to explore traditional herbal and dietary practices for treatment of people with HIV/AIDS and malaria. The natural treatments are being assessed, and those with medical value will become the basis for expansion of the local agricultural industry. Drani said the value of culture goes beyond potential economic development as well. “In Uganda, there is a tendency to equate development with monetary gain,” she said. “But what about the other aspects of culture – motivation, pride, dignity – that are not measured in shillings?” Drani thinks developing countries have much to offer the world in terms of creative traditions and cultural mores. The 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was drafted, in part to

Ugandan women in their traditional attire that has transcended times. defend people's right to protect and preserve those traditions. Jim McKee of the Coalition pour la Diversité Culturelle said in a global marketplace, unique traditions are increasingly shared among nations. But as the monetary value of culture is understood, the voices of local traditions and creativity are in danger of being drowned by the cacophony of western digital media, he warned. To McKee, that danger is a particular issue in his home country of Canada, where government is required to develop and defend legislation that ensures Canadians cultural space is protected from the US media engine. But he is disappointed that many developing countries are yet to put into place such protective legislation. “There is major pressure in trade negotiations [for countries] to reduce or cease progress on national cultural policies,” McKee said. “Successful policies can help realise the potential within a country for development of cultural products. It means

that people can work in the cultural sector.” For him, only by honouring traditions and developing new cultural forms, will countries continue to have unique practices, songs, dances, films and products to share with the world. “The economy may be the engine that drives the nation,” said Hazel Brown. “But culture is the rubber that meets the global road. Our culture is more than dancing and singing, food and fête. It involves our very identity.” She says developed and developing countries need to look to their heritages as they shape their futures. “Culture is learned behaviour that can be lost,” Brown said. “There are things that we have to do to ensure that the good parts of our cultures continue, and the bad parts of our cultures are unlearned.” It is that spirit of preservation, exploration and innovation that the participants at the workshop on culture and development will try to distil into a message for the CHOGM.

Education the only goal to better life By Shifaa Said Hassan


N order to achieve wider perspectives of development, Commonwealth countries must give priority to education. Namirembe Bitamazire, Uganda's Minister for Education and Sports said different levels of education contribute to national development and all are important. Addressing a workshop on Education for Transformation at the Commonwealth People's Forum Bitamazire said the need to review contributions of education to science, technology and mathematics are linked to the achievement of Millennium Developments Goals. Bitamazire expressed confidence on capacity of Commonwealth countries to achieve education for all with the inclusion of quality of education as a key tenet. “The Commonwealth should commit to the

broader framework of 'Education for all' which includes improved quality education, adult education and literacy skill development as well as early childhood care and education,” she added. She noted that governments needed joint efforts from different stakeholders including civil society organisations "to improve the education sector for the betterment of our people and national advancement”. Speaking on the nature of education, executive director of the Foundation for Community Development in Maputo, Mozambique, Prof Narciso Matos, said all aspects of the MDGs such as hunger, reduction of child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis were interlinked with the level of education, hence education is the centre of all developments. He elaborated that addressing rural

community priorities required people with different levels of knowledge such as teachers, nurses, doctors and other professions. Matos noted that many of countries focused on primary education yet universities had the potential to drive improvements in national development and unleash the benefits of education. Matos said African Universities should focus on research, society aspirations and finding alternative solutions. He said universities should be responsible for curriculum development and study materials as well as becoming centres of knowledge for teacher training. He proposed that the state should be responsible for taking adequate measures for improvements in education in both urban and rural areas. Matos stressed that achieving MDGs targets

largely depended on everybody having access to quality education. Meanwhile, Francis Kinubi, the chairperson of Uganda National Union for the Disabled said marginalisation of persons with disability existed in many developing countries and blind people suffered exclusion in many areas including access to education. Kinubi observed that many schools did not have equipment for physically challenged persons and many of them were left behind in education programmes. He added that equipment, text books, teachers and the whole education atmosphere was not friendly to the disabled ─especially the blind. He called on Commonwealth countries to concentrate more on education for people with disability to bring about better quality of life.

Published by African Woman & Child Feature Service for the Commonwealth Foundation.

<<<< HEALTH >>>>

Wednesday, 21 November, 2007



Zambia mourns migration of health workers …. But new technology provides ray of hope By Brenda Zulu


AMBIA is weeping. She is weeping because her medical sector is almost grinding to a halt. The reason being that her hospitals are now mere shells. Over 90 per cent of doctors trained in Zambia since independence in 1964 have left the country, leaving many hospitals as mere shells. The victims of this move are the poor who cannot afford health services offered in the private sector. Most of the doctors have migrated, mainly to Europe and the United States in search of greener pastures. According to medical experts, better employment terms in the developed countries and high demand for health workers has been the reason for this move. The better pay and high quality of life compared to what they get in Zambia has seen the United States and the United Kingdom benefit from this professional migration. In recent times, those in the teaching profession have too started joining their brothers and sisters on this journey. “How can the people in government care about the health situation of the local people when they can afford to go abroad

for treatment?” poses Mercy Mukabila, a business student in Zambia. “If indeed they care about the situation in the health sector, they should have done so long ago since the situation is has gone out of hand.” But Thom Mayowe, a resident of Lusaka, says while the brain drain has been going on, Zambians continue to die from diseases that could be easily prevented, managed or treated. “How can our government account for the deaths of thousands of its people when health is not a core priority?” he asks. Those who migrate to developed countries cite various reasons for doing so: low salaries, social unrest, conflicts in the areas they work in, political upheavals and lack of housing and transport. Lack of funding from the government as well as facilities for research has left many demoralised leaving them with no option but to seek opportunities in the developed countries. In the education sector, discrimination in academic appointments and promotions are also said to be part of the factors pushing professionals to work in other countries. “As African countries, we have been subsidising foreign governments by sending

our people to work there,” says Thandiwe Daka, a widow with four children. “Our governments have failed to prioritise the plight of health workers who, consequently, have gone to seek greener pastures in the developed countries.” She says health workers in Zambia are not motivated to work hard. “Some nurses are hostile toward women, especially those handling reproductive health mantle, where the number of women who die is quite high,” says Thandiwe. Many rural hospitals lack doctors, and are at best headed by clinical officers. But there are those who are not just whining, but doing something about the problem. Some medical officials have developed a tele-health initiative to try to fill this healthcare gap. Proponents of the project say it uses video and audio services of information technology to provide health services and information in remote and understaffed locations. They further argue that it may help the government to bring health care closer to the people and reduce the problem of perennial shortage of doctors. The Zambian government appreciates this effort and is now involved in the initiative.

Indeed, the National ICT Policy lists healthcare as a key sector that could benefit from improved communications infrastructure and capacity. It says tele-health may be particularly helpful in diagnosing illnesses. To that end, the Zambian health sector has embarked on reforms including development of various aspects of health management information systems. But challenges are emerging as is outlined in the policy. According to the policy document, the hurdles include the need to develop a national communication infrastructure that can support not only basic communication, but also specialised applications such as tele-medicine. The initiative also requires more technological training for health professionals and communications technologists in rural areas. Although linking highly experienced medical personnel with small rural clinics is a key goal of the tele-medicine programme, administrators say technology can also provide health professionals with cuttingage information that takes many years to trickle down to doctors and nurses operating in the rural areas.

Commonwealth countries score poorly on safe motherhood By Redemtor Atieno


HEN the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) converges in Kampala, Uganda, at the end of this week, one issue that will take centre stage is maternal mortality. The fact that many women and girls are dying from unwanted pregnancies and in situations where their lives could have been saved cannot be ignored anymore. The magnitude of unsafe motherhood outcomes in Commonwealth countries is frightening as countries within the organisation register the highest percentages of maternal deaths. This is an issue that was raised during the Eighth Women's Affairs Ministers meeting held in Kampala in June. The meeting that preceded CHOGM called on Commonwealth governments to allocate 15 per cent of national budgets to health. It also called on governments to strengthen staff recruitment and retention of strategies. The magnitude of the problem is captured by data indicating that there are approximately 211 million global pregnancies annually, 87 million unintentional pregnancies and 46 million pregnancies that end up in induced abortion. A further 31 million pregnancies result in still births or miscarriage. “A poor woman in Africa is over 200 times more likely to die as result of pregnancy and child birth related complications than a woman in the United Kingdom,” says a 2006 Department for International Development (DFID) study. In Kenya, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Status Report for 2005 estimates that 14,700 women of reproductive age die annually from pregnancy-related complications; while between 294,000 and 414,000 suffer from disabilities caused by complications

during pregnancy and childbirth. All this translates to 414 deaths per 100,000 live births. The MDG status report indicates that at the current trend and pace, achieving MDG targets in Kenya will be an uphill task. This is due to many factors, chief among them the poor economic performance registered in the past two decades. Women and girls also lack easy access to reproductive health services. Majority do not have a say over their sexuality and sexual health rights. Other challenges that hinder achieving goal number 5 of the MDGs, which is reducing maternal mortality , include obstetric complications such as haemorrhage, sepsis, complications arising from unsafe abortion and eclampsia among others. Issues of adolescent and youth access to reproductive health services are yet to be addressed in a more elaborate way. The National Planning Coordinator at the Project Implementing Unit (MDGs) in Kenya, G.M. Mailu, says the main task for the country is to mainstream MDGs at policy, planning and budgetary levels. He says it is impossible to achieve MDGs unless governance is improved. “Kenyans have to change their attitudes and leaders must account for what they are doing because if they do wrong things, it becomes a cultural issue,” he says. Mailu says a lot of money is channelled to districts by the government but no one is monitoring its utilisation. He further reveals that constituency development committee undertakes implementation of a lot of projects without consulting relevant ministries and says this may be one reason why the projects don't succeed. But there is a ray of hope if the recently passed directive by the Ministry of Health to allow pregnant

women access free maternity services is anything to go by. Health experts say this will go a long way in reducing maternal mortality. But Mailu says achieving MDGs may not be easy because even though the government has scrapped maternity fees, there are still many other hidden costs such as charges for cards, laboratory tests and drugs, which may be beyond the women's means. For him, diversification of healthcare services to incorporate other service providers such as mission hospitals and doctors without frontiers, among others, is going to help reduce maternal deaths. Mailu says MDG goal number five will not be achieved in isolation because safe motherhood goes hand in hand with nutrition. The goal on poverty will have to be addressed when tackling safe motherhood issues. There is a high correlation between safe motherhood and education, Mailu said. “Educated mothers will decide when to conceive and seek antenatal services immediately as opposed to mothers who are illiterate.” Progress made so far In Kenya, the government launched the National Reproductive Health Services (NRHS) Delivery Strategy 1997-2010 to promote safe motherhood and child survival with the hope that it will help bring down the numbers. MDGs Needs Assessment Report 2006 for Kenya observes that the Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan (PRSP) from all districts identified safe motherhood and child survival as a priority. This made the government put in place guidelines for safe motherhood and create division of Reproductive Health to oversee all these issues. Kenya Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation puts strong emphasis on reproductive health.

Mothers who were lucky to have safe delivery. The case in Uganda Uganda's 2007 MDG progress report indicates that maternal health indicators have remained poor in the last two decades. Between 1995 and 2000 maternal mortality stagnated at 505 deaths per 100,000 live births. The 2006 Uganda Demographic Health Survey (UDHS) estimates maternal mortality to stand at 435 deaths per 100,000 live births. Although this is a small decline compared to 505 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000, it remains one of the highest in Africa. The MDG report observes that the target of reducing maternal deaths by three quarters to reach 131 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015 is not achievable in the remaining eight years. Just like in other East African countries, the report says maternal deaths are due to preventable causes such as: shortage of skilled personnel and properly equipped hospitals. Governments need to increase funding for reproductive health which has been left to donors. The Ministry of Health report titled Uganda Road Map for Reduction of Maternal and Neonatal Mortality and Mobility 2006 attributes factors

Published by African Woman & Child Feature Service for the Commonwealth Foundation.

such as shortage of drugs and essential equipments in health centres, lack of effective referral services and poorly paid staff who are demoralised as some of the contributors of high maternal mortality rates in Uganda. Progress made so far Incremental progress has been made with 42 per cent of births being assisted by skilled birth attendants; 37 per cent being assisted by a nurse or midwife and five per cent with a doctor's assistance. This is an increase from the past low ratings. The case of Tanzania Tanzania Demographic Health Survey (TDHS) indicates that at least 8,100 women die each year during delivery. The maternal mortality ratio currently stands at 578 per 100,000 live births. World Health Report 2005 attributes direct cause of maternal deaths in Tanzania to haemorrhage (28 per cent); unsafe abortions (19 per cent); eclampsia (17 per cent); infections (11 per cent) obstructed labour (11 per cent) and HIV ( 8.7 per cent) with other causes accounting for 14 per cent.




Commonwealth People's Forum extends a hand of friendship By Rosemary Okello


HE smiles and optimism that characterised the Commonwealth People's Forum launch at the Africana Hotel in Kampala, Uganda, on Monday evening spoke volumes of an event whose purpose was to connect the citizens of the Commonwealth through an act of friendship. Those who thronged the hall where the launch took place were treated to pomp and colour. The Friends of Commonwealth offered ordinary people with the opportunity to share their problems and search for solutions within the capacities existing among Commonwealth countries. The long lines of delegates who managed to sign for the Friends of Commonwealth memberships, was testimony enough that this year's Commonwealth People's Forum, in Kampala will go down in history as a conference with a difference. Mark Collins, the executive director of the Commonwealth Foundation said: “Talking about friends of Commonwealth, we are reminded that friendship comes in different sizes and shapes. Some are political, some are in civil society and some in the UN. He added: “But here at the Commonwealth we view a friend as someone who is there for you when he would rather be somewhere else. And for us this is a chance to celebrate the Commonwealth family through friendship.” The Friends of Commonwealth initiative is just that; it thrives in friendship and is about joining a large number of people who are trying to find solutions that bring a lasting impact in the lives of the Commonwealth family. The friendship idea is not new. It is based on the valuable notion that everyone can be part of a solution. Started as a dream by the Foundation, the idea is attracting people from all over the world. During the launch over 3,000 delegates signed up to be members. Launching the initiative, Uganda's Minister for Education and Sports, Geraldine N. Bitamazire, said the Forum provides a learning platform where people can share their experiences. Attended by citizens from more than 53 countries, Friends of Commonwealth initiative truly lived up to its objective of providing a friendlier and more accessible arena for exchange and dialogue. The highlight of the event was the announcement of the winner of this year's International Commonwealth Essay under the Commonwealth Writer's Prize. Lydia Adero, a 17-year-old girl from northern Uganda, emerged the winner in a competition which attracted 6,000 entries worldwide. As she picked her prize, Lydia could not hide her

Lydia Adera receives her certificate, for having been the best in essay writing within the Commonwealth from Uganda’s Minister for Education Geraldine Bitamazire. Looking on is Stuart Mole of Royal Commonwealth Society Watches joy. Her parents were equally elated. The prize was given at the Friends of the Commonwealth launch. The occasion was historic as it was the first time such an initiative was taking place in the history of the Commonwealth. Bitamazire lauded the Commonwealth Writer's Programme for providing a unique opportunity for young people to learn about the organisation. David Robert of the Commonwealth Society, commended the programme for giving children access to quality literature through the classroom as well as enabling them utilise new technologies to enhance their reading skills. He said the competition is open to every child in a Commonwealth country. Robert was happy that the winner is from Uganda but quick to add that the victory “was not by design and has made the launch a memorable event”. Adera on receiving her award said: “I feel very happy to be honoured among equals in this ceremony and to know that my simple essay has been recognised all over the world over.” “This has given me hope, that I can change society in my capacity as a young person and also as an ordinary person,” Adera said, adding, in future I would like to become a journalist or an engineer.” Adera's parents who joined her at the ceremony shared her joy. “I cannot believe that my last born child is being recognised globally. This is a really honour to me,” said Adera's

father. Before the official launch, delegates both young and old, women and men, government officials and representatives of civil society signed their names to be part of this global imitative where the only qualification requires one offering whatever one has. One delegate commented: “The fact that a mere simple peasant like me can be part of an international network of friends with a purpose of being part of a global solution is an act of friendship beyond measure.” Gordon, a delegate from UK added: “It is nice to see so many people in the room joining a worthy cause without any pressure or a gun on your head.” Babiryne Emay from Uganda said: “For the first time I have a chance to decide by myself on how I can help the needy through this initiative.” According to Paul Easton, Friends of Commonwealth project manager, most of the time people gather together to support themselves. However since the initiative was mooted it has already touched many lives. This has been through an outreach reading project in conjunction with the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Capturing the festive mood in the hall, Terry Waite, former special envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “What Friends of Commonwealth means is being able to lend a hand to a person in need through whatever resources.”

Editorial Board Project Coordinator: Rosemary Okello-Orlale Editorial Coordinator: Fatma Alloo - TAMWA Editors: Arthur Okwemba, Yvonne Achieng, Juliana Omale-Atemi and Sara Nics. Journalists: Brenda Zulu (Zambia), Khadija Mohammed ( Tanzania), Shifaa Hassan (Tanzania), Jane Kenyi (Uganda), Lydia Mirembe (Uganda), Josephine Namukwaya (Uganda), Joyce Gunura (Uganda), Judy Waguma (Kenya). Contributors: Joan Grant Cummings (Jamaica), Musarait Kashmiri (Canada), Jane Nabunya (Uganda), Redemtor Atieno (Kenya)

African Woman & Child Feature Service

Graphic Designer: Njoroge Mbacha Administrator: Ruth Omukhango

The newspaper is produced by African Woman and Child Feature Service as part of a media training forum for journalists from Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia on gender and development writing.

Wednesday, 21 November, 2007

EDITORIAL Women must be part of the transformation process GLOBALLY, women constitute over 50 per cent of the world's population. Yet despite leading in numbers, they remain victims of social, economic and political injustices. It's the women and girls who have to contend with abuses to their human rights including all forms of violence such as rape, forced marriages, wife inheritance and gender based violence. Seventy per cent of the world's poor are women. Only 10 per cent of them own land, yet they contribute over 90 per cent of the labour on land. Worse still, this contribution remains largely unrecognised internationally. Likewise, only 10 per cent of the global economy is in women's hands. Women and girls still have unequal access to health care; they lack sexual and reproductive health rights; and have no access to quality education, safe water and appropriate sanitation. While there is a Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality, gender issues are yet to be fully mainstreamed by the Commonwealth countries; even though there have been calls to increase women's participation in power and decision making positions both internationally and locally. The Commonwealth needs to look at the world through the woman's eyes. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Commonwealth People's Forum themes speak of “Transforming People's Lives” and “Realising People's Potential” respectively. Given the unequal status of women and girls, their situation must be taken into account to inform the strategies, solutions, policies and programmes that governments and civil society organisations are going to use for this transformation. A gender lens has to be deployed for a gender based analysis to the issues and the solutions to take place. Addressing women's unequal political, economic, social and cultural position in all Commonwealth societies is a critical strategy towards the transformation of women's lives and the realisation of women's true potential. As we discuss the poor, the landless and the homeless among others, we need to bear in mind that majority of these are women. As we discuss the development of a national budget, financing a development strategy, HIV/AIDS education programme, or dealing with climate change, the differing impact of these issues on women and men must be taken into account. It also important to keep in mind that as we deliberate on these issues at the People's Forum in Kampala, we need to constantly remember that “women hold up half the sky!”