Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Ugandans Need To Do Better In Promoting Uganda

As the International Associations of Athletics Federation World Cross-country event that was held over the weekend unfolded, there was so much noise about what could have been done to promote it even better than we did. The event falls under the sports tourism section that Uganda neglects when it comes to promoting what the country offers.

An event of such heavy magnitude brings so many nations in one country with some of the biggest media houses camping in the city to get ready for the final day. Away from covering the city with Ugandan flags like we do during independence week, what more could have been done?

Publicity
Maybe most people do not understand how PR is for events and marketing, but without it most campaigns are not relatable to the masses. Well planned PR strategies give a human face to whatever you try to market. Sheilah Nduhukire, a journalist with NTV Uganda, remarked on Saturday how it is important to not assume the media is an extension of your PR department. If you do not make effort to reach out and give them a storyline, how are they going to help you create a big cloud of publicity? You do not put up banners, billboards and street pole advertising for a big event just days to the d-day.

Journalists are there to carry 10% of your marketing but you are supposed to do the heavy lifting. The PR plans and how to execute them should be something worked on for months before the campaign kick-starts. Do not expect journalists to be there ready to take whatever you throw at them, they have many companies and issues in the country to cover.

Teamwork
The whispers and meeting about the IAAF event started at around December 2016, although the actual planning started in January 2017. Yet, it didn't look as well planned. According to someone involved in the planning, the event was a battle of wills of who of the major bodies is above the other when it comes to execution. With cards held close to their own offices, how do you expect to jointly use a huge event to promote the country when everyone wants to take individual credit.

Actual Branding
When you looked at the track where the athletes were running from, all you saw were placards of the Ministry of Education And Sports, Tourism Uganda to mention but a few. Everyone knows that sports fall under the Ministry of education and sports so why not put up well branded pictures of what the sector has done to promote sports in the country? Happy children running track in a stadium or maybe the cranes playing ball? Something that speaks work and the brand the ministry is supposed to advertise. Instead of Ugandan Tourism banners, why not throw in beautiful pictures of the scenery. The commentator subtly promoted Uganda more than most Ugandans did at the event. This is evident in most of the international events that Uganda hosts, we have not become creative with branding yet we have so much to play with.

Artistry
We usually use these huge events to promote our vast cultures with the Ndere Troupe always ready to show some Kiganda/ Kigisu or Kikiga dance for the guests; but why not go even further by promoting the other artistry? The ushers could have been dressed in something sporty made by one of our designers in the country. If you had looked closely you could have noticed the beautiful ladies handing over medals to the guests were dressed in gorgeous heels. Why weren't those ladies wearing some of those well made heels with Ugandan fabrics on them? Some of these small things people pick up on when looking at the TV when the event is dragging.

Planned Tours
Yes we are very good at showing people around our country but we need to do a well planned tour for the visitors. When most people travel to new countries, some of the first things they want to try out is the local cuisine. Yet, the athletes were being sent fast food restaurants when the local food ones were just in close proximity.
If the athletes can't make it to the countryside to see the animals plus the lush greenery of the hills. Bring it to them, all those beautiful visuals of the country would have worked well around the track.

History
How can a country that has such a rich history neglect cataloguing and taking care of it. The Uganda museum is now a place you don't want to sit in for longer than 20 minutes. Most of the beautiful relics are dusty and left to rot while the toilets leave you wishing you didn't drink all that water. We can do better than just blankets and wine at the Uganda Museum. It should be part of our most valued sites in the country, it should be respected and protected.

That being said, congratulations to Jacob Kiplimo for that Gold win. You made history.

 

Credit: travel.jumia.com

 

Kibuli Mosque: More Than A Beautiful View

Towering over 1,211 above sea level, Kibuli hill is among the several hills that make up Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. The hill is located a few minutes from lake victoria, and if you are at the top you get a beautiful view of the lake shores as well as the city center with its towering structures.

The biggest chunk of Kibuli hill land was owned by the late Prince Badru Kakungulu who later donated the hill to the Uganda Muslim Council where the current Kibuli Mosque, hospital, and schools stand.

The Kibuli Mosque is one of the few old structural landmarks that still stand tall in Kampala, and is also deeply rooted to the history of Islam in Uganda. Islam is said to have come to Uganda in 1844 and was easily embraced by Kabaka Suuna II, who was the then King of Buganda. Kabaka Suuna II encouraged Islamic teachings throughout his kingdom and in no time, the numbers of believers grew. When Kabaka Mwanga II ascended on the throne, there were a few disagreements on some of the teachings and in the long run the kingdom and Islamic leadership were split.

Prince Badru Kakungulu, donated 80 acres of land to the Uganda Muslim Council for the construction of a mosque on Kibuli hill in the early 1930s and the construction commenced around 1937. When the Aga Khan visited Uganda in 1941, he started a campaign to raise UGX 250, 000/- for the construction of the mosque and was able to match up what was contributed which led to its completion.

The mosque was opened for prayers in 1951 and has been standing strong since then, watching over the rest of Kibuli like a guardian angel.

Although not as overwhelming in size as is the Gaddafi Mosque, the Kibuli Mosque has a classic feel to it. The mosque’s architecture will blow you away with a beautifully white washed exterior that seems to glow when the sun hits it just right. The towering minarets shaped like a well sculpted beacon stands tall adjacent to the aged but beautiful army green dorm that is almost covered with early morning mist before the sun rises.

As expected of most Mosques, you will find intricate and well made mosaic design with verses from the Quran strewn on the walls throughout the Kibuli mosque.

Inside the mosque is the prayer area which is called the Musalla, a spacious but bare part of the mosque where the faithfuls come to worship. The Musallah is kept bare because Muslims do not need chairs during prayers but you will find a few shelves alongside the walls. The shelves are known as Rihal and they usually house books as well as Qurans for those who do not have their own.

The most beautiful part of the Kibuli mosque or all mosques is the Mihrab. There is a way it looks like someone took time to paint and make it stand out from the rest of the prayer hall. A mihrab is an indentation that looks like an altar that marks the direction of the Qiblah for the faithfuls to face during prayer.

Mihrabs are usually shaped like a doorway and give you an overwhelming sense of calm when you stand near it. The Mihrab at the Kibuli mosque has a sky blue color to it and is a little larger in size compared to most. It has a small passageway with a mat that is usually reserved for the person leading prayers and above it a round window like opening that brings in sunlight.

Due to the opening of the Kibuli mosque, other busy structures were constructed on slopes of the hill. Although within the same compound, you will find the Kibuli hospital which is one of the biggest in the country and just on the right is a nursery/primary school.

As the sunrises on the city after the last call of the Muazzin, there is a sense of closeness to The Almighty as you stare down at the suburbs of Kampala from the verandahs of the Kibuli. It is a feeling of contentment and peace knowing someone is looking down on you and protecting the city you call home.

Credit: travel.jumia.com

 

Poor Reading Culture Among Students Worry Hoima Stakeholders

A reading culture is a set of behavior where reading is not only part of people’s way of life but is also constantly used by a good number of the population to read in order to search for information, seek the truth,  look for intellectual pleasure and for the sake of reading as a hobby.

According to Geoffrey Tumwesigye, the librarian Hoima public library, poor reading culture, where people do not value or do not do any reading except to look for a few necessary items, is harmful to the development of the individual and nation.

Tumwesigye adds that Hoima has four community libraries, in Buhimba, Kabwoya and Kitoba and the public libray in Hoima town but all these are not utilized by the public.

Lawrence Bategeka, the Hoima municipal MP says low levels of reading limits innovative and entrepreneurial minds from accessing cutting age information which they need to realise their ambitions, and indirectly through them, those of the given nation they happen to live in.

Bategeka appealed to the youth to put in too much emphasis in reading in order to benefit from oil and gas which was discovered in the region. He said that if they don’t develop the skill of reading they will not benefit from oil because it needs people who went to school and are knowledgeable.

He said “Government has done its work by providing libraries in Albertine region so use it because it’s free of charge. They don’t ask for money when you want to use the library equipment. According to educationists, the low level of reading that many Ugandans suffer from is an indicator of the quality of education the nation has.

Morocco To Add Voice To Africa Energy Discourse

At the Powering Africa: Summit which took place in Washington DC from 9-10 March, Morocco’s ONEE presented their Gas to Power Programme and MASEN discussed their sustainable energy programme under the leadership of Mustapha Bakkoury, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Both organisations are clearly focused on a broader role within Africa carrying with them the potential of building physical energy links between the continent and Europe. The support of the Ministry at the Africa Energy Forum (AEF) this year underlines the commitment from the Kingdom of Morocco to explore energy partnerships with Europe and hasten the pace of foreign direct investment in Morocco.

AEF is set to bring 2,000 participants to Copenhagen this June for the annual gathering for government ministers, heads of utilities, project developers and global investors driving forward the development of Africa’s energy projects.

Other recent confirmations include H.E. Dr. Eng. Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Ethiopia, Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation, Government of Denmark, Teresa Ribeiro, Secretary of State for Development, Government of Portugal, Hisham Sallam, Second Secretary – responsible for Economics and Energy, Government of Egypt, Mateus Magala, Chairman of the Board of Directors, EDM, William Amuna, Chief Executive Officer, GRIDCo, Ghana and Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, Chief Executive Officer of Volta River Authority in Ghana.

A new Platinum agenda stream will bring together senior level government officials with some of the world’s biggest investors in discussions on how to accelerate projects, whilst specific country sessions will explore the unique investment climates and priority projects for countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

Organisers of the Forum EnergyNet will host a city boat cruise along the canals of Copenhagen and pre-Forum golf championship day to build additional networking opportunities into this annual business Forum.

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