Huawei Investing In ICT Skills Development Initiatives

Evelyn Namara is the founder and CEO of Vouch Digital, a technology start-up that is building a verified voucher system M-Voucher for simplifying the distribution of International and National aid.

This electronic voucher system eliminates fraud and corruption in the process of distribution by eliminating the use of cash and introducing digital cards that program participants use to redeem life-saving goods and services from merchants, agro-dealers and shopkeepers.

On 9th July 2012, the Former secretary general of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, in his closing remarks at High-Level Panel on Accountability, Transparency and Sustainable Development noted that 30% of development aid was lost to fraud or corruption.

And he attributed this to a rule of law which is fragile, institutions that are weak and a failure of accountability and transparency in dealing with Money. Which was an inspiration for Evelyn to come up with the M-Voucher.

“My team did the first implementations using a one-time scratchable voucher card system. This voucher type was meant for beneficiaries in very remote areas where the use of smart phones was not possible.

Our system generated voucher numbers, which we printed on physical voucher cards and allowed agro-dealers to redeem using their mobile phones for beneficiaries, ” Evelyn said, “It is a system that can be deployed and replicated anywhere in the world where distribution is a problem.”

Evelyn has been working with International development agencies and facilitated the distribution of seed crops, fertilizers, and farming equipment. So far the system has facilitated over 3 Billion Uganda Shillings in transactions by ensuring verified participants receive verified products and services and that every transaction is tracked in real-time.  

With this innovation, Evelyn won the ICT for Development award, by Uganda Communications Commission to nurture great local talents in the development and provision of innovative products, services and content in Uganda, in partnership with international ICT Company such as Huawei, and other organizations such as Airtel Uganda, Resilient Africa Network and Outbox.

It is worth noting that the rapidly advancing Information and Communications Technologies (‘ICTs’) help in addressing social and economic problems caused by the fast growth of urban youth populations in developing countries like Uganda. Because it offers opportunities to young people for learning, skills development and employment that lead to national development despite the fact that there is lack in having broad access to these new technologies.

The pace of global technological development in the new knowledge economy has created more powerful ICTs, rising demand of ICT skilled employees and a high evolvement of new ICT innovations. However just because the technology trend is fast setting in does not mean that the level of innovation in some parts of the world is synonymous with the trend. Those who cannot access necessary ICT information, skills training and exposure to the latest technological trends will be left behind and vulnerable.  

In Uganda, government and the private sector have put a lot effort to close the existing digital divide. Some of the really noticeable efforts include; Presidential Initiative on Science and Technology which was started purposely to enhance the development of science and research in the country.

The Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST), Makerere University Institute of Science and Technology/Food Science, and the various research stations across the country have been able to benefit from this initiative of the president.

UCC’s ACIA Awards is part of the efforts. Ugandans especially the young and youthful brains, keenly look towards participating in this premier event to benefit from a pool of prizes that have enabled them acquire the resources, linkages and capacity to enhance their innovations.

These awards being the most prestigious information and communications technology awards in Uganda have attracted the Private sector to invest in innovations through sponsorships, partnerships and award category associations.

Huawei Uganda’s Managing Director, Mr. Liujiawei, narrates that the reason they sponsor UCC ACIA Awards and specifically the “ICT for Development Award” is because its objectives are in line with Huawei’s vision in investing in innovations and skills to advance ICT technological progress and national development.

“We combine corporate social responsibility with day-to-day operations and use our core ICT competitiveness and innovation resource and capabilities to bridge the digital divide and upskill people to achieve sustainable social economic development.” Says Mr. Liu Jiawei, Huawei Uganda Managing Director.

After winning the ICT for Development award, Evelyn and her M-Voucher team went on to win other awards. They were chosen as the best agricultural app at the MTN Innovation awards, the outstanding woman in innovation at the same awards, they applied for Cartier Women's Initiative Awards and emerged one of 18 finalists selected from 2,800 applications from 40 countries. Being a finalist came with a cash prize and mentorship in business modeling and financial education.

Looking to the future, Evelyn said that she was encouraged by those awards to explore more into the unknown as she continues to widen her business with new digital identity and technologies.

“Like people of my age who want to start a business, I used to lack of confidence in my project. These awards especially the first one ICT for Development award really encouraged and motivated me to explore into the unknown, and the exploration does not stop at failure, especially in our country Uganda, which is among the world’s most entrepreneurial nation.

I'm now continuing to focusing on our new digital identity and blockchain product that will make distribution even much easier and will allow for easy traceability of cash,” She said.

How Victoria University Is Preparing Ugandans To Work In Oil & Gas Industry

Working in Uganda’s nascent oil and gas industry is not going to come on a silver platter. It will come after acquisition of the right and necessary skills through training and certification. A better understanding of the industry will be unavoidable.

This, International Oil Companies (IOCs) have repeatedly said imploring Ugandans to prepare themselves through training and adhering to standards and practices that are globally recognized. Basically there is no panya (shortcut) to be able to work or provide a service in this oil and gas business.

Unfortunately, while there are thousands of Ugandans desiring to find work or business in the oil and gas industry not many match the skills and standards the industry requires. This has been mainly due to lack of proper training centres in the country and agencies to certify trainees. This is something the private sector and government are working on.

With basically one government institution, Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK), specialized in oil and gas training, private institutions like Victoria University Kampala are filling up the gap by introducing courses that the industry needs to provide the necessary local workforce.

Victoria University Kampala, located at Victoria Towers on Jinja Road in Kampala, in 2015 started the Department of Petroleum in the Faculty of Business and Management to purposely play a role and prepare Ugandans who wanted to work in the oil and gas industry. The department is growing stronger each year.

To kick start their journey of skilling Ugandans in the oil and gas industry the University introduced a Bachelor of Science in Oil and Gas Accounting. On this, the University added a series of certificate courses targeting professionals who are already involved in the industry. These are mainly short courses which address a particular need.

The certificate courses include Certificate in Oil and Gas Management, Certificate in Oil and Gas Law, Certificate in Oil and Gas Project Management, Certificate in Health, Safety and Environmental Management and Certificate in Oil and Gas Supply Chain Management. This year, the University said it will introduce other degree, diploma and certificate courses to further meet the demand.

Dr. Omotayo Adegbuyi, the Dean Faculty of Business and Management at Victoria University in an exclusive interview with this magazine explained expressly that different topics are covered under oil and gas certificate courses.

These range from petroleum information, exploration, management, petroleum economics, monitoring and evaluation and health, safety and environment (HSE). He explained that oil and gas is characterized by risk of pollution so students are trained how to take care of their health, safety and environment.

The Vice Chancellor of the University Dr. Krishnna N. Sharma in a separate interview early this year said the core goal of the University is to motivate students to focus more on gaining knowledge and skills rather than getting good marks and academic papers.

“You will find many students who have qualified after exams but they don’t have skills and exposure. Victoria University believes in quality rather than quantity. It’s not only the programs but also the delivery of programs,” Dr. Sharma said.

International collaborations

The University, owned by Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia under the Ruparelia Group, recently collaborated with United Kingdom’s Coventry University to train oil and gas workers in Uganda. This partnership puts the University in a better position especially when it comes to issues of certifying trainees.

The Vice Chancellor Dr. Sharma speaking at the signing of the partnership with Coventry University described the affiliation as an opportunity for Victoria University to contribute to the country’s Oil and Gas sector.

“We need to build up the capacity of the Ugandans so that when the companies come, they don’t go out to look for human resource.” Dr. Sharma said, adding that the University is ready for the challenge of training Ugandans in oil and gas related courses.

In this partnership, the role of Victoria University is to mobilize the instructors and provide training to the people, as guided by the Education Ministry.

Dr. Omotayo said Coventry University is well known and has many affiliates handling standards and certification. Victoria University, Dr. Omotayo said, now has the privilege to benefit from these affiliations to set the standards and acquire certifications for their trainees so they can be accepted in Uganda’s oil and gas industry.

“We have this collaboration with Coventry University to train welders, technicians and others. We are going to take them to the field for practical lessons. Coventry University will bring their experts and we will bring ours; together they will train workers employed in the oil and gas sector,” he added.

Dr. Omotayo noted that right now, as a knowledge based University, they are focused on training different categories of human resource that will be employed in the oil and gas industry. Several students and trainees will graduate later this graduate and ready for employment in the industry.

Study tours, compulsory internship

To add to their classroom delivery, Victoria University provides practical field tours to Oil Fields in the Albertine Graben (Hoima and Buliisa Oil Fields) for their students and trainees so they can have a hands on experience of what they learn in classrooms.

This is also supplemented by compulsory internship placements in different government and private organizations. The training program equips delegates with skills and knowledge to start a rewarding career in the oil and gas industry.

“One thing that is unique about Victoria University, a unique feature, is that it is compulsory for our students to go through internship at least three times before they graduate. Every year, our students are expected to go for internship of a minimum of eight weeks,” Dr. Omotayo said.

Adding: “The objective is that they are able to learn hands on. Even oil and gas students are sent to oil companies to have hands on training and experience. We have MoUs with oil companies; already signed and sealed. Our students will be there to intern,”

Oil and Gas Courses Entry Requirements

To study a Bachelor of Science in Oil & Gas Accounting, a candidate needs to have a Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education with two principal passes or its equivalent. Holders of a Diploma in any related course from a recognized institution can also be considered.

The BSc in Oil and Gas Accounting is designed to develop specialized knowledge and skills specifically for an accounting career in the oil and gas industry. It offers a blend of theory, experience and the practical skills required for effective financial accounting and management within the industry.

The course will enable students to develop a critical awareness of the key issues in accounting for upstream oil and gas exploration, development and production activities, and is delivered by respected academics with relevant industry experience.

Studies in oil and gas accounting will prepare graduates to measure and analyze the income, costs, sources and uses of funds of oil companies at different levels of the oil and gas value chain on the basis of certain generally accepted principles.

The minimum entry requirement to all certificates in oil and gas is 2 Principal passes at A’ Level or a Diploma from a recognized institution. Possessors of a recognized university degree have an added advantage.

The oil & gas certificate is a 6 week course designed to provide you with a well-rounded, global understanding of the ever-changing oil and gas industry. It is developed and delivered by experts trained in all aspects of the oil and gas industry.

The course units are delivered in form of presentations by oil and gas experts, videos, and interactive question and answer sessions. The certificate in oil and gas is a gateway to employment opportunities in Uganda's oil and gas sector and for furthering your studies in this vibrant industry.

The targeted individuals are those already working in the oil and gas industry who seek a greater understanding of the fundamentals in the global oil and gas business, professionals making the transition from technical roles to managerial positions, where a broader knowledge of the business is essential for their career advancement.

Others are new employees and support staff of the oil and gas companies wanting to gain a broader understanding of the various aspects of oil and gas sector and business students studying the oil and gas industry and looking for a comprehensive global learning experience.

The targeted individuals are those already working in the oil and gas industry who seek a greater understanding of the fundamentals in the global oil and gas business, professionals making the transition from technical roles to managerial positions, where a broader knowledge of the business is essential for their career advancement.

Others are new employees and support staff of the oil and gas companies wanting to gain a broader understanding of the various aspects of oil and gas sector and business students studying the oil and gas industry and looking for a comprehensive global learning experience.

INTERVIEW: Victoria University’s Pimer Peace Determined To Change Fortunes Of Girls In West Nile

The girl child in Uganda, like it is in many developing countries, is growing up in a world that is challenging than never before. The problems they are facing is insurmountable but that has not stopped Pimer Peace Monica, a student at Victoria University Kampala to dream big.

For Peace, a 24 year old student studying Procurement and Logistics management, every effort counts and through his Non Government Organization called Nile Girls Forum she has set out to sensitive and empower girls in West Nile, one of the most impoverished regions in the country.

In this interview Peace tells her story, which has so far seen her rub shoulders with some of the most influential women in Uganda and international dignitaries like the United States Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Ruth Malac and Stephanie Rivoal, the French Ambassador to Uganda.

Recently Peace and her Nile Girls Forum participated in the Women for Women Awards event hosted by the French Embassy.Please read her story as told by Peace herself in an email interview.

Please tell us about yourself – who are you?

My name is Pimer Peace Monica. I’m an Alur from Zombo district, Wes Nile sub –region in Northern Uganda. I am the Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) of Nile Girls Forum and an Ambassador of CHEZA in Northern Uganda.

Tell our readers the story of Nile Girls Forum?

Nile Girls Forum is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that is fully registered with the National Bureau of NGOs in Uganda. My colleagues, Ms. Unyuda Mariah Elsie, Mr.Asiku Francis, Ms. Letaru Freeda and Ms. Kadimala Grace met two years ago through Facebook; we had never met in real life. Since we had a common goal of transforming our community in westnile, the five of us decided to meet and have the organization fully registered.

What inspired you to start the Forum?

My mother was one of the greatest inspiration because she believed so much in me and supported me through my education. This motivated me to aim higher and encourage my community to value education.

Pimer Peace Monica

When I looked at the community, Zombo district where I come from, the girl child had very many challenges including high school dropout rates, teenage pregnancies, child marriage to mention but a few. I, therefore, took it upon myself to start an NGO that would transform and address everyday challenges of the girl child in entire West Nile sub- region.

What do you intend to achieve with the Forum?

We intend to have more girls acquiring formal education, equipping girls with hands on skills for example tailoring, creating more health awareness, sensitizing the community about child marriage.

What are your focal areas of focus as a person and NGO?

The areas of focus are girl child education, child marriage, teenage pregnancies, women health, gender based violence and youth empowerment.

How do you plan to manage time between reading books at Victoria University in Kampala and performing your role as a CEO of an ambitious NGOin West Nile?

I keep an updated schedule of my school work and office work. I set aside specific time throughout the week to focus on academics in order to balance the two. I do not procrastinate and prioritize my work, make time for myself and also get a good night’s sleep.

What change do you want to make in the world and how can we make this world a better place to live in?

I want to give the girls a voice but also teach them how to use it to make positive change in the world. We can make the world a better place by being our brother’s keeper (Genesis 4:9).

Which specific issue regarding women’s rights is most important to you?

Girl child education is most important to me because education addresses so many things. Girls have a great potential to change the world. “Educate a girl, empower a nation”.

“Girls are the future mothers of any society. Every girl that receives an education is likely to make education a priority for her children. It is a ripple effect of positive change in the community and country”. C.E.O Dubai Cares.

From your experience working with young girls, what are the challenges that need to be addressed by the community, government and CSOs like Nile Girls Forum?

In addition to girl child education, gender based violence, to mention but a few; there are other issues that need to be addressed for example, menstrual hygiene, fistula,cervical cancer, fibroids and breast cancer.

What tools are you using to address these disparities in West Nile?

The most important tool we use is seminars at schools and local communities. In light of seminars, we also use radio talk shows on local radio stations in West Nile for example Voice of Life radio station and Paidha FM to sensitize our people.

Women’s health is a global issue which hasn’t been sufficiently addressed, what health concerns in West Nile is haunting women in your area of operation?

Fistula, cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis are currently a threat to women’s health in West Nile.

Tell us about the state of child marriages and the impact it is having on the welfare of the communities?

According to the statistics of child marriage in Uganda, Northern Uganda has the highest prevalence rate of 59 % with West Nile sub-region at 50%. We should also keep in mind that child marriage cuts across for both girls and boys.

Peace is mobilizing the girl child in West Nile to give them a way to a better life

Child marriage affects all aspects of a child life and violates their rights, disrupts their education, exposes them to violence and abuse, exposes them to health risks and more often infants born to adolescent mothers have high risk of being born premature.

What are some of the achievements that you have been able to register as an organization run by young women and students?

We have been able to partner with a number of organizations such as CHEZA, Forum for Christian Empowerment, Keep Me In School, Arua Public Secondary School, Health Science Student Association Victoria University and Rotaract Club of Victoria University.

We have also been honored to have a number of outreaches in the community for example; Sanyu Babies Home in Kampala, Imvepi Refugee Settlement In Terego and keep Arua clean campaign in Arua town.

We were also honored to be part of the Women4Women awards that took place at the French Ambassador’s residence hosted by H.E the French ambassador to Uganda Stephanie Rivoal, an event that was organized by Ambassadors, heads of mission, directors and leaders.

We look forward to strengthening our partners with these organizations and more to come.

And what are the challenges you face running this organization?

As organization there are definitely a number of challenges we face ranging from insufficient facilitation for hard to reach areas, insufficient funds to support the girl child education and cultural norms whereby in some communities child marriage is legal.

How are men in the communities where you work responding to your activities – are they responding well or not?

There has been positive response from the men, especially the local community leaders; for example Mr. Marwothnga Ceasor, an LC1 official in Paidha has shown support towards Nile Girls Forum and is willing to work with us in order to successfully implement our program.

What is the role of youths towards the future development of the country like Uganda?

For Uganda to achieve sustainable development there must be a deliberate move that involves the youth at all levels and also acknowledges their ideas and potential.

Oil And Gas Activities Call For More Environmental Protection

By Sandra Atusinguza

Recently Uganda joined the world to celebrate the Environment day in Mbale district under the theme “Beat plastic pollution” with focus on alternatives to avoidable single use of polythene bags known as ‘Buvera’ which has become a menace to the environment .

This is a great milestone to environmental conservation once achieved, the rate at which our environment is polluted is very high with increased industrialization and poor waste disposal of garbage and plastics which end up in water channels, trenches, wet lands as they have currently been known as “waste lands” in most towns country wide among other factors. This calls for countrywide mass sensitizations on usage and disposal. There have been efforts to ban plastic bag use or recycle it for the past 4years but it has not been fully achieved to date hence environment at stake.

Previous reports also indicate poor waste management and disposal of oil and gas waste in the Albertine graben where at Ngara1 site which was managed by Tullow oil, the solid waste was heaped on the ground and covered with black polythene material while the liquid waste was kept in large pits lined on the sides with black polythene, some other pits were covered with iron sheets, and other open hence raising fears of possible air pollution a potential health risks to residents.

Communities especially in Buliisa district have also expressed fears of the oil and gas hazardous waste could damage the environment in case of spills along the way as it is transported to the dumping and waste management sites. In 2009, Heritage Oil illegally buried truckloads of oil waste in Nwoya county, in the then Amuru district, little did the country know that it was the beginning of a bigger ‘oil waste management crisis’. Five years later, the oil frontline districts of Buliisa and Nwoya continue to witness other incidents of oil waste dumping.

To add on that, with the current production phase with many development infrastructures set like the oil pipelines, C.P.F, critical oil roads among other developments, areas where oil and gas activities are taking places could be affected by climate change due to emissions from waste causing soil and air pollution thus lowering the quality of air, acidic rains due to the presence of carbon monoxide, nitric oxide and sulfur oxide which pollute

Despite governments’ effort through NEMA to authorizing petroleum waste management firms like Enviro serve, White Nile and Luwero industries and enacting environmental and bio diversity tools like Albertine graben environmental sensitive atlas, Environmental monitoring plan for the Albertine graben, among other actions several laws must be strict enough on waste management and pollution with incentives and penalties based on enforcement of legislation, polices to discourage bad practices on environment in the oil and gas sector. More community awareness and sensitizations efforts need on oil and environment so as to enable them hold duty bearers and key stakeholders in the oil and gas industry accountable.

Atusinguza Sandra - AFIEGO –FIELD OFFICER

 

INTERVIEW: I Want To Be A Better Woman – Miss Victoria University

Many young girls out there struggle to identify their purpose in life or fear to go for their dreams because they lack self belief or people with them don’t believe in them yet for Namuli Precious Priscilla being surrounded by good people at Victoria University Kampala was a turning point as she explains in this Interview with EARTHFINDS a few weeks after emerging as Miss Victoria University.

Congratulations for emerging winner of Miss Victoria University (VU) Kampala, please tell us about yourself – who are you?

My name is Namuli Precious Priscilla, a foundation student at Victoria University. I am a true Ugandan that loves and believes in God.

What do you like about Victoria University?

Victoria University is a place I could call a second home. It has all the suitable conditions that one needs to read, learn and excel. I got to meet people from different countries and I’m actually getting along pretty well, as I learn new languages too. All I can say is that it’s the place to be for a start to success.

What does it feel like being Miss Victoria University?

Oh! Well, I should say, I feel like a Queen already and this is such a good feeling because I know people are expecting a lot from me, which I’m ready to give as well.

What inspired you to join Miss Victoria University?

During my time in high school, I always told my friends that I wanted to become Miss Uganda and that one day they would see me among the contestants. I wasn’t really serious about it but I had it in mind.

My friends always said that I would need to go to the gym for like a year in order for me to contest and we always just ended up laughing it off. But when the pageant came up, students of the university told me to contest but I was scared, I had never done such a thing.

Though I liked things like that (pageants), I didn’t think I would see myself contest. Everyone around me saw the potential in me and I ended up in the contest. Now that I was already in, I knew there was no turning back, I had to make everyone that believed in me proud, so that pushed me to do all that I could.

What have you learned from Miss Victoria University competition?

I’ve learned not to undermine any single thought or dream in life because it could be your start off point to success. I’ve learned not to let anyone discourage me for as long as I have the potential to do something.

How is Miss Victoria University changing your life?

Being Miss Victoria University, I’m more like a leader now. I’ve always been the down to earth type of girl but now almost the whole country has read about me in the news papers. I’ve met different people now, people I didn’t ever think I’d meet in my life, so its such a big change in my life.

Is your family supportive of your decision to participate in a beauty pageant?

Oh yes! My parents are my biggest push in this. My dad always helps me out in case I have to talk to a group of people. He is not in the country but that’s how supportive he is.

My mum too, always around to make sure I look good and to ensure that people get the best and most out of me. My siblings as well, everyone in my family is really supportive about it.

As Miss Victoria University, What do you intend to achieve as a person and for the university?

I intend to better myself as a woman and as an individual, to take up any opportunity that comes my way because being Miss Victoria University has opened doors for me. I’m obviously the face of the University now and so I plan to take it to another level, encourage other vacists to join me.

How do you plan to manage time between reading books and performing your role as Miss Victoria University?

As they say, there’s always time for everything, if I’m needed in class for a lecture, I’ll always be there and I’ll also serve my duties as Miss Victoria.

What would be your priority objectives that you would want to achieve during your reign as Miss Victoria University?

My first priority would be to let the females in the university stand out and be able to speak up. I would also want to be able to forward students' problems, issues and concerns to the administrators for a better stay at the University.

 

Why You Should Choose Health, Not Tobacco

By Dr. Anne Muli, Ph.D

Victoria University Kampala

 

On 31st May, a 24-hour abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the globe is encouraged as the world observes World No Tobacco Day. The day is intended to highlight the negative health risks associated with tobacco use.

The 2018 theme “Tobacco Breaks Hearts” is to raise awareness to the public on the impact tobacco has on cardiovascular (heart) health. Knowledge among large sections of the public of the impact of tobacco use on heart health is low thus the focus of this year’s theme.

Globally, tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke exposure is one of the leading contributors to heart disease and contributes to approximately 12% of all heart disease deaths. Unknown to many, heart disease kills more people than any other cause of death worldwide and the intention of this year’s theme is to bring to attention that smoking tobacco and exposure to second-hand smoke contributes to heart disease.

Tobacco smoke possesses high levels of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide affects the heart by reducing the amount of oxygen the blood is able to carry. This means that the heart, lungs, brain, and other vital organs do not always receive enough oxygen to perform everyday functions. At the same time, nicotine causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

Over time, this causes extraordinary "wear and tear" on the cardiovascular system. People who use tobacco are more likely to have heart attacks, high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, hemorrhages, aneurysms, and other disorders of the cardiovascular system.Smoking actually triples the risk of dying from heart disease.

Cigarette smoking is a major cause of stroke by increasing clotting factors in the blood, decreasing HDL cholesterol levels, increasing triglyceride levels, and damaging the lining of blood vessels. The risk for stroke increases as the number of cigarettes smoked increases.

What about second-hand smoke?

Second-hand smoke represents a more formidable problem than many people realize. Second-hand smoke is a combination of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers.

There is no evidence of a safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. In fact, long-term exposure to second-hand smoke has been shown to cause a 30% increase in the risk of heart disease in non-smokers. It is estimated that 37,000 heart disease deaths per year are caused by exposure to second-hand smoke.

Exposure to second-hand smoke also negatively affects cardiovascular health by decreasing exercise endurance, damaging blood vessel walls, and increasing the tendency of blood platelets to clot, contributing to heart attacks. Furthermore, nonsmokers’ bodies tend to react more dramatically to tobacco exposure than do smokers’ bodies, so lower levels of smoke can cause adverse effects.

Situation in Uganda

In 2007 Uganda became a party to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first international public health treaty adopted under the auspices of WHO.

Its intention is to reduce the growth and spread of the global tobacco epidemic and protection of the public from exposure to tobacco smoke through actions such as tax and price measures to reduce tobacco consumption; comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising sponsorship and promotion; prominent health warnings on tobacco packaging; smoke-free work and public spaces and measures to reduce the smuggling of tobacco products.

Additionally, Uganda has a strong Tobacco Control Act passed in 2015. The act includes a comprehensive ban on smoking in all public areas and all forms of tobacco advertisement, promotion, and sponsorship. However despite the policies in place, tobacco smoking in Uganda is still rife. It is estimated that about 1 in every 10 Ugandans use tobacco products daily.

Therefore we have a large population at risk of heart disease and other diseases due to smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke. This year’s World No Tobacco day theme is very timely. Let us all join hands to choose health, not tobacco.

Dr. Anne Muli (Ph.D.) is a Public Health Practitioner and Lecturer at Victoria University.

Oil Activities In Virunga Will Affect Uganda

by Edwin Mumbere

Recently the Democratic Republic of Congo said that is planning to redraw the boundaries of Virunga National park ,Virunga is the most bio-diverse National Park in Africa, home to countless endangered species including a quarter of the last remaining Mountain Gorilla. It is already subject to an unprecedented level of poaching and cannot be put at further risk by allowing oil exploration or extraction from the region.

The area of interest is Lake Edward which provides a livelihood to approximately 30,000 people through fishing, not to mention the tens of thousands who rely on the lake for drinking water and food. This could all be put at risk by allowing oil companies in both Uganda and Congo.

The Virunga national park which is neighboring Queen Elizabeth National, where is movement of animals and birds from one park to another could cause a high spread of diseases since animals that have been affected by oil activities in Congo, could cross and affect the ones in Uganda leaving tourism as the most affected and further more the livelihoods of Ugandans that have been benefiting from this lake could be shattered because of the pollution that could take place on the other side of Lake Edward in Congo.

The forests around the world are the world are disappearing at an alarming rate , we can’t allow the governments of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo to accept oil activities by redrawing the boundaries of this national to create space for oil exploitation and . It will set a global precedent and show UNESCO park boundaries are meaningless and subject to change when money is involved.

As if protection of the region wasn't reason enough, many well respected scientists from around the world are agreeing we cannot continue to use fossil fuels and if we have any chance of stalling climate change oil must be left in the ground.

Edwin Mumbere

Africa Institute for Energy Governance-Kasese Field Office

Africa Investment Forum Hailed For Financing Africa's Infrastructure

By 2050, just 32 short years from now, Africa's growing population will tip the scales at a whopping 2 billion, with a youth of 840 million. In the process, the continent will overtake the populations of China and India combined. 

Financing Africa's development needs will require an estimated US $600-700 billion per annum. According to the African Development Bank's  African Economic Outlook 2018 , of this, about US $130-170 billion a year in infrastructure will be needed.  

To address these challenges, the African Development Bank has launched the Africa Investment Forum , a platform to mobilize private equity funds, sovereign wealth funds and the private sector to facilitate infrastructure projects with the capacity to transform the continent.

The Premier of Gauteng Province, Africa's seventh largest economy, David Makhura, endorsed the Forum as a game changer for financing Africa's infrastructure development at the launch of the African Investment Forum in Johannesburg.

"It's an honour to receive a vote of confidence from one of the most influential, respected and credible institutions of our continent. I want to assure the African Development Bank, and members of the African and global investor community that we are ready to host a highly successful Africa Investment Forum in November. We have an impeccable track record of hosting continental and global events of the magnitude and significance represented by the Africa Investment Forum," Makhura said at the formal launch of the Forum.

The Bank and the Government of Gauteng Province on Tuesday signed a memorandum of agreement to host the inaugural edition of the Africa Investment Forum from November 7 to 9, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Makhura referred to the Africa Investment Forum as more than a Davos of Africa, stating that "we as the Gauteng Provincial Government are very pleased to have won the bid to host this biggest and unparalleled investment platform on the African continent. It's a great platform that will translate Africa's professed potentials into real opportunities and progress."

He added, "The November Inaugural Africa Investment Forum fits very well with the investment drive of President Ramaphosa and will be one of the most important platforms for our government and local businesses to pitch for greater levels of investment.

Gauteng-based investment companies have already invested more than $30 billion in different regions of Africa. We have a 15-year infrastructure masterplan with a portfolio of bankable projects that require more than $150 billion over 10 years."

While Africa is the next investment frontier, there is an urgent need to bridge the gap between available capital and bankable projects, said African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, noting the Africa Investment Forum will help make Africa a place where its young people want to live and thrive in.

"The overall Investment gap for Africa to achieve overall economic development is actually much higher and stands at $200 billion to $1.2 trillion a year. Impediments to bankable projects must be resolved to create win-wins for governments, development finance institutions and other relevant stakeholders. Africa must invest in its own development if it wants others to do so," he said.

"This is the essential reason for the new approach of the Africa Investment Forum, a multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary platform that will incentivize collaboration for the economic and social development of Africa. This will primarily be about transactions and investment deals for Africa's economic development and not a talk shop."

Adesina noted that financing Africa's development is and has always been a collective and cooperative task, requiring broad-based partnerships with the private sector.

"We know that the money is there. By 2020, there will be close to $111 trillion assets under management globally that are invested around the world often at very low interest rates. Within Africa, the assets under management of domestic institutional investors will rise to $1.8 trillion by 2020, tripling from $634 billion in 2014. Most of this money isn't invested in Africa. But Africa should invest in its own development if it wants others to do so."

Key industry leaders have endorsed the Forum as a unique opportunity for the private sector to invest in transformative projects across key sectors of strategic interest in Africa. 

Investor Relations and Communication Executive at Harith General Partners, Pule Molebeledi, described the investment guarantee component of the AIF as a game changer.

"This will be a major catalyst for projects that are currently stuck in the pipeline," he said.

The African Development Bank is committed to working with other multi-lateral development partners, private equity funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance funds, private sector and stakeholders to ensure that the Africa Investment Forum becomes Africa's key springboard for African investment and for meeting the continent's massive infrastructure and development needs. This is the first time ever that several multilateral development banks will come together on a single platform designed to bring a major pipeline of bankable projects to completion.

School Principal Offers Holiday Parenting Tips

The month long first term holiday is here and parents are thinking hard how they can keep their children productively engaged through the time they will be out of school.

It is a big concern especially or working parents who have to leave their children in the hands of house helpers, relatives or by themselves until the evening when they return from their days duties at their workplaces.

To keep their toddlers busy, some parents send children for holiday coaching to prevent them from playing too much and loitering around the community. This period, the Principal of Kampala Parents’ School, Ms Daphine Kato, says needs to be well managed.

She explains that parents need to balance between children’s play time, house work and revision or reading time. “It is not good to concentrate on one,” Ms Kato says.

Put in a balanced time table

She explains that during the term, children concentrate more on reading books therefore doing the same during holiday makes them tired of books by the time they return to school for a new term. “They need to play as well as reading books,”

“So it is very important for parents to have a program, a time table for the children. For example from morning to break, a child can do some house work and then after play or can concentrate on books then play in the afternoon. It needs a balanced time table,”

“The problem is if they don’t read, they will completely switch off and forget. When they return to school, they start from zero. This is why we are saying; let them have a balanced time table that caters for both reading and playing,” she adds.

Visit the village for adventure

Ms Kato says taking children to village for parents who can afford is a good idea as it gives the toddlers a chance to learn about things they only hear in class.

“Taking them to places like in village where they see plants and animals which they just read about in class but have never seen is a good idea. Many of them only see food in supermarkets but when they see how this is harvest is a good practical learning experience,”

“When we talk of an anthill, some of the children can’t even imagine how an anthill looks like; the pit latrine, they are used to flashing toilets. That kind of education is important,” the principal suggested.

Safety first

Ms Kato advises that children can play football, jump ropes and other games in their compound or play board games in the house without restriction but is important is that they must be monitored.

“Playing should not be restricted but they need to be monitored, to know the kind of friends they have. Parents need to be selective and guard their children against strangers. They must be proper security at home because at school we are very strict,”

House work good for their learning

House work shouldn’t come off as a punishment, Ms Kato says, advising that it children shouldn’t do a lot of it. “When you make children do housework from morning to sunset they grow to hate it. Let them do it with a lot of interest. Let it also be programmed,”

“For example if a child wakes up and cleans the house or washes the utensils, immediately after that one you don’t have to bring in another chore. Let the child relax,”

“Those who can prepare a meal let them prepare it with the help and supervision of a maid or a parent. That is how they will enjoy. If you keep them working the whole day it will turn out to be a punishment.”

PHOTOS: Meet Miss Victoria University Contestants 2018

Victoria University will this Saturday, 28th April, reveal and crown the most beautiful female student at the Miss Victoria University Beauty Pageant finals at Kabira Country Club. The University says it organized the pageant to produce students who will be ambassadors and represent the University at different events and levels of society.

Marlie Keishamaza, General Secretary of the Guild and one of the organizers of the even, said the pageant gives the girls’ confidence and boosts their self esteem. “We wanted to give everyone a chance because above everything we want the girls to have boosted confidence and self esteem after this event,” Ms Keishamaza said.

“We opened registration and went with the girls that signed up, although we had a few more contestants who dropped out because of fear,” Ms Keishamaza said the organizing committee is looking for intelligence, creativity, confidence, relevance to answering questions in the contestants.

Contestant #1 NAME: Bingi Elsi Nina COURSE: Journalism and Media Studies NATIONALITY: Ugandan
Contestant #2 NAME: Namuli Priscilla COURSE: Foundation Program NATIONALITY: Ugandan
Contestant #3 NAME: Kansiime Merielle COURSE: Foundation Program NATIONALITY: Congolese
Contestant #4 NAME: Neima James Alexander COURSE: Science in Public Health NATIONALITY: South Sudanese
Contestant #5 NAME: Akuol Zakaria Deng COURSE: Foundation Program NATIONALITY: South Sudanese
Contestant #6 NAME: Napeyok Ursula Joan COURSE: Tourism and Hotel Management NATIONALITY: Ugandan

 

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