Posts tagged as: free

Tanzania: Let Teen Mothers Go Back to School – It’s Their Right!

editorial

We consider it strange that some of our MPs, people we elect to make (good) laws to guide our country to prosperity, have the temerity to argue that a girl who becomes a mother mustn’t be allowed to go back to class after giving birth. Very strange, coming from MPs!

What emerged on Saturday during the debate on the Education ministry’s debate on 2017/18 budget estimates is most disappointing, to say the least. Why, an MP, amid applause from a section of the august House, stood up to oppose a Parliamentary committee’s request to Parliament to push for a policy change to allow young mothers to be in class.

What does the lady MP want a 16-year-old girl mother to do with her life after giving birth? Remain at her parent’s homestead, helping with domestic chores as her age mates learn to be our future doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers… ?

It doesn’t require a Unesco-funded research to find out that such mothers are the every kind of young women who don’t take long before they are made pregnant again, then again… as they try using their bodies to earn money for raising their “fatherless’ child or children.

It embarrasses us that we have to remind our MPs about what is actually very obvious: education is a human right. Yes, accessing education is a basic right of everyone in this country–as it is the case in all modern societies.

Right to education

The right to education has been globally recognised as a human right in a number of international conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which recognises a right to free, compulsory primary education for all, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all, in particular by the progressive introduction of free secondary education, as well as an obligation to develop equitable access to higher education, ideally by the progressive introduction of free higher education.

The right to education also includes a responsibility to provide basic education for individuals who haven’t completed primary education. In addition to these, access to education provisions, the right to education encompasses the obligation to avoid discrimination at all levels of the educational system. Now why should we discriminate girls, simply because they have become mothers?

While no one in their right minds will encourage schoolgirls to go out of their way to be mothers, the fact is, a lot of our daughters make the mistake–or are lured to make the mistake–that renders them pregnant. But that shouldn’t mean ending their dream of getting an education.

Doing that would be punishing a child for a mistake which, in many cases, isn’t hers. Even under our good laws, as an 18-year-old, she is below the age of consent. In some ways, they don’t even qualify for mainstream prosecution. Why should minors be punished with denial of access to education?

Our view is: teach our daughters to avoid premarital sex; how to say “No” and stick to it; about the science of how not to get pregnant.

In a word, enlighten them. Now, if a girl gets pregnant despite that, let her give birth, then allow her back to school to and better her chances of being productive and more useful citizen of this growing country.

Will the Last Journalist Out Please Switch Off the Newsroom Lights?

columnBy Daniel K. Kalinaki

A few weeks ago my friend Richard Kavuma quit journalism. Rimkav, as everyone knows him, and whose last newsroom job was as Editor of the Observer newspaper, was easily the most solid journalist of our generation.

After two decades in the newsroom, Rimkav decided he’d had enough of the stress, the long hours and the low pay, and decided to settle for a more reasonable and family-friendly job in communications.

He will no longer have to work weekends and public holidays. He will not have to field angry and threatening phone calls from exposed crooks. He will not have to worry about court summonses and defamation lawsuits. In other words, Rimkav can now live a normal life.

Journalists around the world yesterday celebrated the World Press Freedom Day. To say celebrated, however, is a bit of a misnomer, for journalism is in trouble, generally, and press freedom is under threat.

In Kampala, the police, named as the worst offender of media freedom for the fourth year running, firmed up that reputation by arresting a few journalists under unclear circumstances.

There are many threats to media freedom. Some, like assaults on journalists, the recent kidnap of a young television journalist, and the daily threats from those in power are clear abuses of law. Others, such as the recent decision by Parliament to give the responsible minister carte blanche to pass regulations for the media without legislative oversight, are legal minefields.

Others, such as the disruption in the media industry and its underlying business models, are existential and an almost inevitable consequence of the march of technology and the wave of innovation.

These are not peculiar to Uganda. In fact, compared to many countries, including many in the neighbourhood like Eritrea, Somalia and South Sudan, Ugandan journalists are relatively free. It is not to say that it can’t – or shouldn’t – be better, but to acknowledge that it could be much worse.

But an oft-ignored threat to media freedom, and one that is perhaps more pronounced in Ugandan newsrooms is the inability to hang onto talented and experienced journalists who can produce compelling and credible journalism that society values and is willing to pay for.

Ugandan journalism is caught in a catch-22 situation: the relatively small size of the market and the economy makes it difficult for media houses to train, pay and retain their best journalists; but the inevitable departure of those journalists, often to better-paying, less-stressful, communications jobs, erodes experience and institutional memory, weakens the quality of Ugandan journalism and keeps the market small.

Consider, for instance, that although this newspaper was founded only 25 years ago, none of its original cohort of journalists is still on the staff. But that’s not the whole story; the young journalists that the founders recruited and trained in the decade between its founding and its change in shareholding have almost all left.

Some, like Jim Mugunga, Andrew Mwenda, Onapito Ekomoloit, Loy Nabeta, Lindah Nabusayi, Laura Mulenga, Fideri Kirungi, and others went to public relations or lobbying. Others, like Semujju Nganda, turned to politics. By press time we could not confirm reports that some, less known, might have turned to crime.

Ugandan journalism thus finds itself in the unique and unenviable position of having some of its best talent outside the newsroom. While some, like Simwogerere Kyazze, Peter Mwesige, George Lugalambi, Charlotte Kaweesa et al still dabble in teaching and training, it is like a football team with a great medical team but with young and inexperienced players.

Of course there are plenty of promising young journalists in the newsrooms today, and the departure of the old wood of course gives opportunities for green shoots of talent to emerge but these saplings often lack the older trees on which to lean for experience.

Folks smarter than your columnist will have to figure out how best to keep talent within the newsroom but citizens must understand the need for good journalism, and be willing to pay for it.

This is easier said than done in a world of free alternatives, and where people expect information to be free, but few societies have progressed without the free flow of ideas, and with freedom of thought, expression and the media.

Citizens are willing to pay for good journalism and good journalism will pay for good journalists to stay in the newsroom. The alternative to this is to ask the last journalist to switch off the lights when they leave the newsroom.

Mr Kalinaki is a Ugandan journalist based in Nairobi.

Making Banana Wine to Avoid Incurring Losses

By Scovia Atuhaire

During the peak season of bananas, many farmers incur losses because they are paid low prices yet there are little known technologies in Uganda to preserve the ripe ones.

Many farmers do not have facilities where they can store their produce as they wait for the prices to rise. However, Eunice Munyarwanda, a banana grower in Rwankenzi village, Kasenda Sub-county in Kabarole District has found a solution.

After suffering losses for a long time, Munyarwanda thought of how to add value to her bananas, not only to minimise losses but to increase her earnings.

“During high supply of bananas, I would be paid Shs8,000 which is little given the high cost of growing bananas,” she says.

She now owns 20 acres of bananas having started in 2012 with support from Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC), that provided her with training in banana wine making.

Starting out

The 43-year-old says she invested Shs370,000 to start her enterprise. The money was used to buy saucepans, airlocks, bucket, bottles, jerry cans, additives such as wine yeast, citric and honey. With everything set, Munyarwanda utilised a room at her house and set out on her quest to make “Jovence wine”. She derived the name from her daughter Novent Maziwa.

“I started this project for my children. When my daughter is done with university, I want her to take over the business and that is why I named the wine after my first born, Munyarwanda shares.

For the start, she made 120 bottles. This fetched her Shs1.2m where she made a profit of Shs800,000.

Realising the potential of her new found business, Munyarwanda persisted.

She says that she supplies her wine to supermarkets within Kabarole, Kasese, Bundibugyo, Kamwenge, Kyenjojo and other urban areas. However, she does direct sales to individuals who go to her home. She sells a big bottle at Shs10,000, that is factory price and a small one at Shs2,000.

However, she says the market is still small because she only sells in Rwenzori region. In a month, she earns about Shs3.6 million from her enterprise, but Munyarwanda makes more money during the festive season.

Ripple effects

Munyarwanda has been able to earn both in selling raw bananas as well as the byproduct without incurring losses and has been able to educate her children and buy prpoerty.

She has been able to run other businesses and make wine in her free time.

To save on on labour costs, she works with her family.

Challenges

However, she meets some hurdles such as preservatives that are bought from Kampala which is expensive and time consuming.

She says obtaining UNBS accreditation is hard because it’s a long process and when you are not accredited; your product has limited market.

Munyarwanda says on the whole she is happy that she turned to banana wine because it is more rewarding and has a longer lifespan.

Lessons

“I have learnt that with little capital, you can start a project and it grows with time,” she says.

The wine project does not need a lot of time, and you can do it in your free time. “I have learnt that when you add value to something like bananas you earn more,” Munyarwanda says.

How to make banana wine

Step 1: Munyarwanda says it takes one week for bananas to ripen.

Step 2: Peel the ripe bananas and put them in a saucepan, put water and boil until it reaches a boiling point.

Step 3: When it has boiled, remove it from fire and put them in a sack and hang them in a room. Put a bucket down where juice will be collected as it drains.

Step 4: Leave the juice for three days to cool down.

Step 5: Pour it in a tank and then add citric acid and wine yeast. Cover it and put an air lock on top.

Step 6: After one month, sieve it and put it in another tank. Sieve it again after two months and again after six months.

Step 7: Thereafter, add honey and serve or bottle. However, Munyarwanda advises that the best banana wine is that which has stayed for more than a year.

Preserving bananas

Freeze

Bananas can be frozen, either whole or sliced, to be used later. To prevent browning at thawing time, brush them with lemon or lime juice. Once defrosted, bananas may be too mushy to eat normally, so they are better used in recipes, smoothies and pies.

Banana flour

Banana flour is a powder traditionally made of green bananas. Historically, banana flour has been used in Africa and Jamaica as a cheaper alternative to wheat flour.

Banana bread

Banana bread is a type of bread made from mashed bananas. It is often a moist, sweet, cake-like quick bread.

Crisps

Banana chips are deep-fried or dried slices of bananas. They can be covered with sugar or honey and have a sweet taste, or they can be fried in oil and spices and have a salty or spicy taste.

Did you know?

Bananas are good for your heart. They are packed with potassium, a mineral electrolyte that keeps electricity flowing throughout your body, which is required to keep your heart beating. Bananas’ high potassium and low sodium content may also help protect your cardiovascular system against high blood pressure.

Govt to Look Into NGOs Distributing Sanitary Pads – Janet Museveni

Photo: Emmanuel Ainebyoona /Daily Monitor

A ambassador for women and girls demonstrates to students on how to make re-usable sanitary pads (file photo).

Government is concerned and will “look into” NGOs spearheading the distribution of free sanitary pads to school children without involving the ministry of Education and Sports, First Lady Janet Museveni has warned.

Ms Museveni, who is also the education minister, expressed her reservations while responding to suggestions by the parliamentary committee on Education on the need to regulate distribution of the free sanitary pads. The committee members led by chairperson, Connie Nakayenze Galiwango (Mbale Woman MP) said there is need for the ministry to regulate the distribution of sanitary pads to school children.

“NGOs that are dealing with the sanitary pads for instance, I don’t know of NGOs that are doing that in connection with us as an institution. There is a way NGOs sometimes deal with schools directly without us [ministry] knowing.

And yes, we are concerned about NGOs that will pick up an activity like providing sanitary pads. We’d really like to even establish whether those sanitary pads are appropriate for the children or whether they are not. But I don’t think that they are many if they are there and this is a new area that people are beginning to participate in in the country. So we’ll look into it”, Ms Museveni said.

The Education Committee members including Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West MP), Moses Kasibante (Rubaga North) and Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West) demanded an explanation from the Education minister why the provision of free sanitary pads to girls remains unfunded in the 2017/2018 budget.

Ssewanyana asked the minister to state government’s position on the free sanitary pad distribution, saying it has generated a lot of public anxiety. Kasibante appealed to the Education ministry not to discourage those involved in free sanitary pads distribution, since government has failed to honour its pledge.

“One of the reasons why these girls drop out of school specifically, is because a poor Ugandan cannot attend to the issue of sanitary pads. The mother of this nation, First Lady, you are aware just like I am that because of poverty we had to go for Universal Primary Education… today you are giving an equivalent of Shs 3,000 per student [under UPE]. Actually the [cost] of sanitary pad is higher than that”, said Kasibante.

In her response, the first lady noted that although she is aware of the importance of the sanitary pads to the girl child, many areas in the education sector remain unfunded because of budgetary constraints.

Jailed Makerere University research fellow, Dr Stella Nyanzi attacked the first lady in numerous social media postings for failing to advise her husband, President Yoweri Museveni to fulfill his campaign pledge on provision of sanitary pads to schoolgirls. While on the campaign trail in Arua ahead of the 2016 general elections, President Museveni pledged to provide sanitary pads to school children once reelected back in office. Government has since declared that it doesn’t have enough money to buy the sanitary towels.

Nyanzi thus kick-started a campaign under the theme “Pads-For-Girl-Child Uganda” to fundraise money to buy pads and distribute them to schools. The campaign attracted support from several people including women rights activists and NGOs.

Uganda

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Uganda Eyes More Chinese Investment – Ambassador

Fuzhou — Uganda seeks to attract more Chinese investment with “the most favorable policies,” said Ugandan Ambassador to China Charles Madibo Wagidoso on Friday.

“Foreign investors will enjoy tax exemption, quick investment examination process, and liberty to transfer capital in and out of Uganda,” said Wagidoso attending an investment promotion conference in Fuzhou, capital of east China’s Fujian Province.

The projects highlighted at the event range from a crude oil pipeline, iron ore processing, airport development and gold and gemstone mining.

China ranks the first place in terms of foreign direct investment in Uganda, totaling 4 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Chinese Embassy in Uganda.

Wagidoso said Uganda is an open and highly liberal market, a good investment destination for both state-owned enterprises and private businesses from China.

In response to the recent protest against Chinese retailers in Uganda’s capital Kampala, Wagidoso reassured investors that their interests will be well protected as always, and that domestic and foreign businesses are treated equally in the country.

“We welcome both large and small businesses from China,” Wagidoso said.

He also stressed the win-win nature of China-Africa economic cooperation. “Guangdong Dongsong, a successful company in Uganda, produces fertilizers which is in dire need for local agriculture and has created 3,000 jobs, generating tax revenue for the local government.”

In recent years, China has launched a series of projects in Uganda, including Entebbe International Airport, an agri-industrial park in the central Ugandan district of Luweero and several hydropower projects.

Uganda

Govt to Look Into NGOs Distributing Sanitary Pads – Janet Museveni

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Wise Thinking Delivered Cost-Effective Dream Wedding for Semakulas

By Alfred Ochwo

Impossible deadlines, family drama and swelling budgets are often enough stress to make a couple want to simply elope and get done with it.

It is why Patrick Luyima Semakula and Brendah Nakanjako had to think strategically. Being Seventh Day Adventits, they planned their wedding day on April 9 during the Lenten season to avoid peak wedding season stress and also save money.

Semakula, a banker with DFCU, said during lent, wedding venues and service providers are cheaper compared to other months where there are many parties in town.

So, they had a wide choice for the perfect venue, photography, the bride’s dream gown and finalizing a guest’s list in a short period.

“Haah, this has been quite a short time for preparation. We are Seventh Day Adventists and everybody was wondering why we are wedding during lent, but for us we discovered that there is not much work for service providers; so, we had to take that advantage,” he said.

The couple were wedded at Bbunga SDA Central church by Pastor David Ssemwogerere and later hosted their guests at Seascallop restaurant in Kamwokya for a reception.

HOW THEY MET

“I met Nakanjako at a church-related activity, but at first I hesitated thinking that she was Kenyan; later I discovered that she was Ugandan,” he said.

“We took time [dating]. And during this period we had many challenges that included family disagreements, but later all that was resolved.”

Semakula said the couple prayed together and remained focused on their goal until God answered their prayers and gave them their dream wedding.

“Nakanjako is a very strong and committed Christian who loves God and that really moves me to say I have got the right companion and I promise to always be there for her,” he said.

Uganda

Govt to Look Into NGOs Distributing Sanitary Pads – Janet Museveni

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Court Throws Out Kyadondo East MP

The Court of Appeal has upheld the High court judgment nullifying the election of Apollo Kantinti as the Kyadondo East Member of Parliament.

The three Court of Appeal judges; Richard Buteera, Cheborion Balishaki and Paul Mugamba concurred with the earlier judgment of Justice Henry Kaweesa, saying the elections didn’t comply with electoral laws, which substantially affected the final results.

They ordered the Electoral Commission to conduct by elections for the constituency.

The judgment followed an application filed by Sitenda Sebalu, the former NRM candidate challenging the decision by Wakiso district registrar, Sarah Bukirwa and the Electoral Commission to declare Katinti winner despite the irregularities that marred the election.

In his application, Sebalu argued that results from seven polling stations were excluded from the final tally. He also argued that there were errors in tallying results from some areas like Kabubu polling station, which affected his chance of winning the elections.

While reading the judgment this afternoon, Didas Muhumuza, the Court of Appeal assistant registrar noted that “After a careful re-evaluation of the evidence on record, the judges have also come to a conclusion that it was not clear on who won the Kyadondo East constituency election since results from 9 polling stations were not included in the final tally.”

The justices also ordered Kantinti to pay costs of the suite.

Uganda

Govt to Look Into NGOs Distributing Sanitary Pads – Janet Museveni

Government is concerned and will “look into” NGOs spearheading the distribution of free sanitary pads to school children… Read more »

Meru High Court Dismisses Case Seeking to Bar Munya From Poll

By Ken Bett

The High Court in Meru has dismissed a petition seeking to block Meru Governor Peter Munya from defending his seat.

In a ruling made on Thursday, High Court Judge Alfred Mabeya struck out the case saying the petitioner, Mr Isaiah Kithinji, did not exhaust all avenues set out by the State before filing the petition.

Justice Mabeya said that the businessman should have first filed a complaint before the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission before seeking court audience.

He noted that the EACC had already admitted they were probing the county government over various allegations.

“EACC should be allowed to carry [out] the investigation first before the petition is brought to court. The court will not undermine independent institutions, therefore the petition is struck out,” said Justice Mabeya in his ruling.

FREE TO CAMPAIGN

Speaking after the ruling, lawyer Bonbegi Gesicho who held brief for Mr Okong’o Omogeni said the county chief was free to campaign after the ruling.

He asked locals seeking to file similar petitions in future to follow the right procedures before rushing to courts.

The businessman had moved to court seeking to have the PNU leader stopped from defending his seat, citing financial impropriety in his administration for the last five years.

Through lawyer Kiogora Mugambi, Mr Kithinji sought to have Mr Munya barred from presenting his nomination papers.

But Governor Munya told the court that only EACC has powers to bar him from contesting in the August 8 polls.

He said the High Court sitting in Meru lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Kenya

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Uncaring Parents Must Be Taken to Task – Mwalimu

By Valentine Oforo

Dodoma — The government yesterday issued a directive to all regional social welfare officers to take to court parents who don’t provide their children with essential needs.

Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children minister Ummy Mwalimu told Parliament that there has been a significant increase in the number of street children in many urban centres in the country, all being the result of poor parental care.

She was answering a question by Konde MP Khatib Saidi Haji (CUF) who wanted to know the measures the government was taking to overcome the rising spate of street children in urban centres in the country. He challenged the government to strategise effective campaign to overcome the situation before things got out of hands.

“Don’t you think that it is high time now you removed these hapless children from the streets by finding a better ways of caring for them?” He asked.

In her response, Minister Mwalimu said according to The Child Act of 2009, it’s mandatory for a parent to provide his children with basic needs, including food, shelter and clothing.

But in contrary, she said some parents did not take their parental duties seriously causing their children to flee into the streets.

“The fifth-phase government is very keen and committed to ensure the protection and welfare of children and that is why the free education scheme has been introduced so that even children from poor households get better education,” she said.

According to her, a special census conducted in 2012 in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza showed that there were at least 5,600 street children in Dar es Salaam. Most of these were those children who had escaped from different 10 upcountry regions.

She mentioned the regions with their percentages in brackets like Dodoma (9 per cent), Mwanza (7 per cent), Morogoro (7 per cent), Tanga (6 per cent), Lindi (6 per cent), Iringa (5 per cent), Coast (5 per cent Kilimanjaro (5 per cent), Arusha (4 per cent) and Dar es Salaam (28 per cent).

Tanzania

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Airtel Stops Pan-African Scratch Card Top-Ups

By Muthoki Mumo

Telecoms firm Airtel has discontinued the service that allowed customers to top-up airtime using local scratch-cards whenever they travelled in Africa.

The roaming top-up service was terminated last month and customers advised to use their mobile money for top ups while travelling to countries within the One Airtel footprint.

“Airtel’s roaming top-up service was discontinued following the introduction of free top-up services through the Airtel Money platform across our network,” the telecom firm said in a statement.

The decision is in line with recent trends that have seen mobile telephone firms encourage customers to buy airtime through mobile money platforms to cut down on distribution expenses associated with scratch cards.

Airtel has a presence in 20 countries in Africa and Asia. In some of these markets, the company runs the One Airtel service, which treats roaming customers as local subscribers. This means that an Airtel user from Kenya could travel to Nigeria, and be charged local rates.

Statistics from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) show that Kenyans roaming abroad made 36.9 million minutes of calls in the quarter to December 2016, a marginal increase from the 32.13 minutes recorded the previous quarter.

Airtel has the second largest subscription market share, 17.6 per cent, after Safaricom #ticker:SCOM . The company has previously said it is incurring operating losses.

Airtel is fighting to become more competitive in a market that is dominated by Safaricom.

CA data shows that Airtel’s voice traffic market share declined 1.1 per cent in the quarter to December 2016 even as it faces tough competition from newcomers in mobile money.

Airtel’s parent firm Bharti Airtel recently announced it was considering merges or stake sales at some of its African operations as it sought to make its continental subsidiaries profitable.

In Kenya, the battle for profitability is tied up with the debate on dominance with smaller operators Airtel and Telkom Kenya arguing for stricter regulation of Safaricom.

Kenya

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