Sunday, May 31, 2009
On Thursday, March 28th, we went to the Human Rights House for a lecture and then went back to MUBS for a presentation from an official working in the Ministry of Health on HIV-AIDS in Uganda. I think most students found the Human Rights talk very beneficial, informative, and intriguing. Sewanijana was a great speaker and was the first to offer some straightforward answers to the problems in Uganda, of which he clearly articulated for us. He touched on many different human rights that are guaranteed for Ugandan citizens in the Bill of Rights in the 1995 Constitution, but in practice are not wholly enjoyed by the people. He informed us of where the problems lie in making sure the rights get to the citizens. Some of them lie in the electoral process and civil education, to name a couple, but most of the problem lies in the government institutions. Sewanijana said that the problem of poverty and underdevelopment in this country is bad governance. One example of the current administration’s bad governance is it’s wasteful spending of public money on an extreme excess amount of government officials when there are issues such as education, health, infrastructure, poverty alleviation to deal with that are in dire need of funding. The answer to the problem he gave us is in a good leader with the right administration.
The speaker from the Ministry of Health touched on a lot of information pertaining to AIDS, especially the transmission of the disease and prevention methods. He provided us with a lot of empirical data and came very prepared with a power point presentation.
After a long day of lectures, it was a challenge to find the energy to play a full-field game of ‘futbol’. However, ‘Team Muzungu’ (as Austin coined it) came up on top with a surprisingly quality performance by all members (and fans), winning the match 3-2. I was particularly surprised with Quint’s superb defending abilities- well done! J
Oh! I almost forgot… I think I speak for all when I say that I am anxious to be inspired again by another one of Jess’s original raps, now that ‘we know’ he’s has got some flow.. I am hoping that by the end of the trip, he will have enough tracks to make an album dedicated to our Ugandan experience. Jess- if you run into any writer’s block along the way- let me know. I happen to be pretty good at writing rhymes myself.. J
To wrap this up, I guess I am just curious to see what everybody else gathered as important information from the Human Rights lecture. I heard a lot of positive things about it from many students- what did you all take away from it? Has anybody else come to a new understanding of how particularly essential a transparent and fair election process is in order to have good governance, and therefore, sustainable development?
Saturday, May 30, 2009
As Quint mentioned, one of the aims of microfinance is to inject capital into the economy and allow poorer individuals and companies to grow. It allows the poor farmer to buy another cow so that he can better feed his family. It allows the small company to slowly expand so that they can make more money and be more profitable. Overall, I was very impressed with the presentation and discussion that we had at Brac and left feeling very optimistic for the economy of Uganda because I knew that some individuals were actually trying to fix some of the problems in the economy.
But, after we left and I had some discussions with the professors, I am starting to question how big of an impact microfinance will have on this economy. First, lets back up and look at some basic information. The banks in the area charge 22% per year for a loan. That is a very expensive form of financing and it is very unlikely that you will be able to invest in a project that will be able to return to the company or individual 22%. Now, we look at microfinancing and Barc in particular. They only charge 1.8% interest. This obviously sounds like a better option, until you learn that it is 1.8% per month, or compounded annualy to roughly 28%. The better thing about the microfinancing is that it requires no collateral and if you cant pay, its not as big of a deal, or thats what I took away. Also, you are obtaining credit that you may not have otherwise been able to before.
Now, I get to my point. Microfinancing is about sustainability. Its the fact that you can obtain financing and education to stabalize your family's finances or your business so that it exists in the future. But, how much good is this doing? This country lacks a serious infrastructure and supply chain program so its hard to ship products out of the country. So, even though you are able to grow your company, you are still going to hit a glass ceiling. So, my question for you guys is this: Should microfinancing firms, like Barc, reconsider what firms they give money to? Should they select firms that help with infrastructure to help grow the country? Or, should they stick to their current stategy? So basically, what can microfinancing firms do to make this country more sustainable through financing? And what do you think about the interest costs? Is the high interest rates hurting or helping the country?
Hope you guys are enjoying your trip:)
Sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems with the social challenges facing humanity. As early as the 1970s "sustainability" was employed to describe an economy "in equilibrium with basic ecological support systems."Ecologists have pointed to the “limits of growth”and presented the alternative of a “steady state economy” in order to address environmental concerns.
The field of sustainable development can be conceptually broken into three constituent parts: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and sociopolitical sustainability.The United Nations Division for Sustainable Development lists the following areas as coming within the scope of sustainable development:
Consumption and Production Patterns
Desertification and Drought
Disaster Reduction and Management
Education and Awareness
Information for Decision Making and Participation
Integrated Decision Making
International Cooperation for Enabling Environment
National Sustainable Development Strategies
Oceans and Seas
Trade and Environment
Sustainable development is an eclectic concept, as a wide array of views fall under its umbrella. The concept has included notions of weak sustainability, strong sustainability and deep ecology. Different conceptions also reveal a strong tension between ecocentrism and anthropocentrism. The concept remains weakly defined and contains a large amount of debate as to its precise definition.
While many factors contribute to poverty, its most obvious manifestation is
insufficient household income. Both the extent of income-generating opportunities
and ability to respond to such opportunities are determined to a great degree by access
to affordable financial services. Increasing the access of poor households to microfinance1
is therefore being actively pursued worldwide. Once almost exclusively the domain of
donors and experimental projects, microfinance has evolved during the last decade with
prospects for viability, offering a broader range of services and significant opportunities
Development practitioners, policy makers, and multilateral and bilateral lenders,
recognize that providing efficient microfinance services is important for a variety of
reasons. Improved access to microfinance services can enable the poor to smoothout
their consumption, manage their risks better, build their assets, develop their microenterprises,
enhance their income-earning capacity, and enjoy an improved quality of
life. Microfinance services have a significant positive impact on the depth (severity)
of poverty and on specific socio-economic variables such as children’s schooling,
household nutrition status, and women’s empowerment.
Despite this, about 95 per cent of some 180 million poor households in the
Asian and Pacific region still have little access to affordable institutional microfinance
services. Significant resources are required to meet the potential demand. This
chapter argues that on the supply side there is a need to build microfinance systems that
can grow and provide microfinance services on a permanent basis to an increasing
number of the poor through domestic resource mobilization. On the demand side, there
is a need to invest in social intermediation to enable the poor to optimally utilize
The microfinance institutions and other microfinance providers have expanded
their outreach from a few thousand clients in the 1970s to over 10 million in the late
1990s. The developments in microfinance in Asia and the Pacific have set in motion a
process of change from an activity that was entirely subsidy dependent to one that can
be a viable business.
(a) The myth that poor households cannot and do not save has been shattered.
Savings can be successfully mobilized from poor households.
(b) Poor, especially poor women, have emerged as creditworthy clients, enabling
microfinance service delivery at low transaction costs without relying on
(c) Microfinance services have strengthened the social and human capital of the
poor, particularly women, at the household, enterprise and community level.
(d) Sustainable delivery of microfinance services on a large scale in some
countries has generated positive developments in microfinance policies,
practices and institutions.
(e) Microfinance services have triggered a process toward the broadening and
deepening of rural financial markets.
Friday, May 29, 2009
H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
President of the Republic of Uganda
World Summit on Sustainable Development
Johannesburg, South Africa
2 September 2002
Your Excellency Thabo Mbeki,
President of the Republic of South Africa;
Your. Excellencies, Heads of State and Government Mr. Kofi Annan,
Secretary General of the United Nations; Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I thank His Excellency, President Thabo Mbeki, and the peoples . of South ; Africa for the warm welcome accorded to my delegation and myself since our arrival. I wish also to thank Mr. Koffi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations and his staff for organizing this Summit.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) , is a milestone, in reaffirming our resolve for achieving, global sustainable development. Issues that have hitherto remained constraints must be shared and addressed if we are to make sustainable development a reality.
Our experiences in working towards this goal should form the basis on which we work out, in strategic partnership,- practical ways of implementing Agenda 21 - especially issues pertaining to water, energy, health, agriculture, biodiversity, environment, poverty, education, children and gender.
In spite of our declaration in Rio in 1992 to:
- eradicate poverty;
- give priorities to developing countries;
- recognize the common but differential -, responsibilities of states
- integrate environment and development;
- ensure equity, for sustainable development
Our failure to implement the ,agreed upon areas hinges on the following:
• lack of time-bound targets in programmes;
• lack of clear roles and responsibilities for states and organizations;
• the lower than expected financial resources availed, despite ODA targets agreed upon:
• a. parasitic trading system in the world, skewed against Africa.
Africa therefore continues to struggle in her quest develop and modernize herself, faced with major issue that affect her development.
Poverty is a -major 'challenge, leading to overuse and destruction of our natural resources where short-term developmental goals' are pursued, at the expense. of sustainable development.
In Uganda, poverty eradication is high on our development agenda: We formulated the; Poverty Eradication Action 'Plan (PEAP). This PEAP aims at reducing ab absolute poverty , levels from 55% as they were in 1987, or lees by by 2017; we have so far, reduced it to 35%.
Deliberate efforts have been., made to eradicate poverty by: -
- provision of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and;
- basic health services;
- modernizing agriculture;
- promotion of. better land tenure systems;
- diversifying the 'economy;
- building basic rural infrastructure; and
- strengthening good governance and security.
My short answer then would be as follows: You need to do four things:
• human resource development (education and health);
• liberalizing the economy with the state providing the necessary stimuli;
• macro-economic stabilization (controlling inflation, etc); and
• free access to markets (abolish protectionism).
All the other solutions will come from these.
Since this is a world conference, I need to emphasize the importance of market access for African goods to lucrative markets of the OECD Countries as well as rationalizing and consolidating this African market, small though it still is.
The other danger to sustainable development is the greed and insensitivity of the consumer societies of the OECD Countries. 68.4%.(1990) of the Greenhouse gases are generated in these Countries. If you add the figures for Russian Federation (17%), the total will be 86%. It is these gases that are responsible for the warming of the globe. This irresponsible parasitism must stop.
The internal weaknesses in Africa on the one hand and the double standards of the OECD Countries (they preach free trade but practice protectionism) on the other hand, ensure that the underdeveloped parts of the globe, Africa, inclusive, destroy the environment on account of poverty and ignorance.
The peasants destroy the biomass in search of wood fuel, this exposes the top soil to wind and water erosion of the soil; it also causes the silting of the floors of the water bodies. These are two sides of the same coin: underdevelopment and over- utilization; under consumption and over consumption (gluttony).
In order to cure these two mega-distortions on the globe we, therefore, need to, on the one hand, banish all methods and practices that can cause such distortions (greenhouse gases, polythene bags, etc.); and, by using market mechanisms, end the under consumption of the famished, under-developed parts of the globe (market access, etc.).
Only more consumption of electricity in the backward parts of the globe will end soil erosion and the loss of the biomass. Therefore, the arrogant so-called Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that interfere with the construction of hydro dams in Uganda are the real enemies of the environment.
In Rio, I pointed out that the peasants in Uganda were destroying 28 billion cubic metres of wood per annum; using it as firewood. In order to stop
this, we need to generate 10,000 megawatts of electricity. Therefore, the world needs more electricity, not resolutions.
I thank you.
Fondly known as the green city in the sun, Kampala commercial and administrative capital of Uganda. Spread over more than twenty hills, it is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa.
Its architecture is a mixture of the modern, the colonial and the Indian. Its roads are its two million inhabitants.
Sitting at an altitude of 1,180m above sea level, it enjoys pleasant weather, with annual temperatures averaging 17 degrees Celsius (minimum) and 27 degrees Celsius (maximum).
To the south is Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest fresh water lake and the source of the longest river in the world, the River Nile.
The history of Kampala, like that of many other cities in the world, is wrapped in both folklore and historical facts.
According to folklore, swamps and hills dominated much of the area where it presently stands.
This made it an ideal habitat for Impala and other members of the antelope family. The animals grazed on the slopes of the hills and came down to the swamps for water. The palace of the Kabaka (king) of Buganda, located on the landscape rich in Impala herds. The king thus turned it into his hunting grounds.
Folklore merged with history when the British Empire builders arrived at the end of the 19th century.
“Impala” was the English name for that particular antelope family. So the British referred to the area as the “hill of the Impala”, which the Baganda translated into Luganda as “kasozi k’empala” and eventually “kampala”. Kasozi means hill.
So whenever the kabaka left the palace to go hunting his favorite game, royal courtiers would say “the kabaka has gone to Kampala to hunt”, thus the name was born.
The tag “the hill of the Impala”, however, specifically referred to the hill on which colonial victory, Captain Fredrick Lugard, of the Imperial British East African Company, established base in 1890.
Now known as Old K'la, this hill would be the administrative headquarters of the company (and Uganda) until 1894 when the administrative headquarters of the British Protectorate were transferred to Entebbe.
In 1962 upon attainment of independence, it regained its status as the capital of Uganda. From a small hamlet occupying 19 square kilometers, it had spread to seven hills by the time of independence, earning the tag “city of seven hills”.
The original seven hills are: Mengo, Rubaga, Namirembe, Makerere, Kololo, Nakasero, and Kampala (Old K'la).
Today, greater Kampala stands on at least 21 hills. We take you through the prominent hills that form the modern day capital and their signature to the city’s political and socio-economic life, starting with the original seven.
The main campus of Makerere University, one of East and Central Africa's premier institutes of higher learning, can be found in the Makerere Hill area of the City. Kampala is also home to the headquarters of the East African Development Bank, located on Nakasero Hill.
Like many cities, Kampala is said to be built on seven hills, although this isn't quite accurate.
- The first hill in historical importance is Kasubi Hill, which is where the Kasubi Tombs of the previous Kabakas are housed.
- The second is Mengo Hill where the present Lubiri (Kabaka's Palace) is and the Headquarters of the Buganda Court of Justice and of the Lukiiko, Buganda's Parliament.
- The third is Kibuli Hill, which is home to the Kibuli Mosque. Islam was brought to Uganda before the Christian missionaries came.
- The fourth is Namirembe Hill, home to the Namirembe Anglican Cathedral. The Protestants were the first of the Christian Missions to arrive.
- The fifth is Rubaga Hill, where the Rubaga Catholic Cathedral is, and was the headquarters of the White Fathers.
- The sixth Nsambya, was the Headquarters of the Mill Hill Mission. It now houses Nsambya Hospital.
- The seventh, the little hill of Kampala, the hill of the Impala is where the ruins of Lugard's Fort were. However, the ruins were recently destroyed (2003), when the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) started on reconstruction of a 15,000-seater mosque on land that included the fort. The mosque was begun by Idi Amin but was never completed. The fort was then re-located to a nearby area (a new and similar one constructed), a move that has since been a source of controversy between The Historic Buildings Conservation Trust (HBCT) of Uganda and the UMSC. The UMSC was given the gazetted land as a gift by President Idi Amin in 1972 during its inauguration. This hill is where Kampala got its name.
The City spread to Nakasero Hill where the administrative centre and the wealthiest residential area is.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative and the other by an official from the Ministry of Health. Rachel and Shannon, who are Teammates with Crystal on the Drake Womens soccer team, will post blogs on the academic portion soon.
Given the importance of soccer in Uganda and the expertise in our group we thought it would be fun to organize a"friendly" with some of the MUBS students. The weather was perfect -- about 75 F with no wind, for a 5:30 start on campus at a field commonly used for pickup games. Crystal, Rachel and Shannon were joined by Brooke, Eric, Jennifer, Quint, Franklin, Scott, and some local
talent from MUBS to form "team blue" ( as shown in the pictures
we wore official looking "Drake Blue" unifroms furniehd by MUBS.
Today, we visited the human rights house in Kampala. The bus dropped us off a-ways from the commission, so we had an eventful walk to and from the house. We saw two cows wondering along the street, a few cute dogs, people burning trash, and Quint even found some dumb bells to pose in front of. We also heard a lecture from Michael Muyonga of the Uganda Health Ministry later in the afternoon.
The executive director, Sewanijana, of the Uganda Human Rights House lead a very interesting lecture regarding human right topics in Uganda and then focused on how mandates of human rights can be carried out. He mentioned problems with the judiciary system leading to violations of prisoner’s civil rights, problems with parliament, violations of health human rights, violations to the right of children, and violations of the right to education, just to name a few important topics discussed.
We heard his perspective: only Ugandans can solve the problems existing today, such as these problems involving human rights. Issues of governance are solvable by the people here who stand up and say, “enough is enough”. This is hard to come by because Uganda lacks a strong civil society due to high levels of poverty and high rates of unemployment. How can the civil society in Uganda be strengthened? Do you think these solutions are plausible within the current governmental framework existing today?
Michael Muyonga came to MUBS in the afternoon to discuss the Health Ministry in Uganda. The Ministry has many programs such as malaria prevention, promotion and education, surveillance, childcare, and nutrition. Michael focused his lecture on HIV/AIDS, a very serious epidemic here in Uganda. As a behavioral scientist, he had a lot to say regarding prevention and comprehensive programs designed to combat HIV/AIDS. One important part of this program regards confronting the HIV/AIDS stigma. How has your stigma changed after having heard these lectures and after having visited TASO? What can be done to reduce the negative stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS?Later in the afternoon, we had a fun 11 v 11 game of soccer! And oh yes, victory for Drake!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Kakande also discussed the history of media in Uganda, which began in the early 1900s with the first print publication. Radio was introduced in the country in 1954. Today, there are around 100 radio stations in the country, but many of the workers are paid next to nothing, as it is difficult to be prosperous, especially in rural areas with little demand for advertising. In comparison to other African nations, Uganda is second to Kenya as far as the state of the news media, according to Kakande. But even he hopes that the Government will completely remove itself from his newspaper, as there are always issues of censorship that can cover up the truth.
This afternoon's tour of The Monitor was also fascinating. The Monitor, Uganda's leading independent newspaper, is the main competition of The New Vision, and the rivalry between them was apparent. The Monitor claims it has a circulation of 30,000 while The New Vision puts the circulation count of its competitor at 20,000. Both agree (one more reluctantly than the other) that The New Vision does have a larger circulation (around 35,000).
Chris Obore is the assistant news-editor at The Monitor. He is definitely a strong advocate for a completely free press. He thinks it's remarkable that the Constitution has allowed his newspaper to exist independently, but there is still a lot of work to be done before Uganda's press is entirely free. "Even though everything looks great on the surface, we are still fighting Government interference every day," he said. "Freedom of the press is not about journalism; it's about providing a platform for free speech. It is a human right."
For my question, I would like to go back to the presentation by John Kakande of The New Vision. He defended the use of graphic images used on the cover of The Bukkede, saying that the use of these photos (such as mangled bodies from traffic accidents) has inspired people to take action and speak out about issues such as traffic control and safety. Do you think that is the only reason they publish these photos?Also, do you personally think it is a good idea to show such graphic pictures in the media here in Uganda?
As the speakers told us, many of the citizens of Uganda do not get tested for HIV because of the stigma that comes with it. Most wait until they get extremely ill to seek treatment. Another issue comes when people see those infected with HIV living healthy lives because of treatment, therefore they do not take the complications of HIV/AIDS seriously.
What information most surprised you during the lecture? Were you surprised to find out that married couples in Uganda are at a higher risk of becoming infected?
First off, the stock exchange has only been open since 1999, or for 10 years. Currently, there are 10 companies that are being traded on the exchange with all of the trading done manually. But, in the next three months, trading will be down electronically. Officials hope this will open up the exchange so investment in the country will be increased. Also, trading is done only three days a week (Monday, Tuesday, and Friday) from 10am until noon. The 10 companies traded come from the five sectors of the Ugandan economy so officials believe it is a good representation of the economy.
Studying finance at Drake, I was shocked by the experience but also learned a lot. Take a look at America and the large stock exchanges that currently exist there and how much trading is done each week. Cash truly flows freely and capitalism is clearly present. But, not here in Uganda.
I believe one of the ways to jump achieve sustainability in Uganda is through the development of a strong stock exchange. By doing so, companies will be able to raise funds that they couldn't otherwise raise. Doing so, will allow them to grow. As companies grow, so does the economy, the GDP, and the GDP per person. More will be able to be accomplished within the country. But, the problem is that many companies in Uganda are family owned and they have no intent to go public because they do not want to share their profits with others (dividends). If companies aren't willing to do this, how is the economy suppose to grow? To me, it seems to be a cultural problem. My question to you is this: How does the government within Uganda convince companies of the benefits to go public? Also, what incentives could they offer to these individuals as well? And, how long until the stock market starts to grow substantially here?
Fianlly, with electronic trading, you as an American will be able to buy Ugandan stocks. Why would or wouldn't you buy Ugandan stocks. What are the benefits and the risks?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Our second destination was the Owenno market. Along with the many stands with tons of items to choose from, the market was filled with hundreds if not thousands of people making their way through. From meat being cut on a concrete slab to multiple stacks of fifty plus shirts and blankets we were exposed to something very different than a farmer's market. With many vendors trying to sell us their merchandise we were very fortunate to have the students from MUBS, Fred, and Dinah with us. They not only helped us navigate around the chaos but also demonstrated some pretty superb bargaining skills.
For all who visited Owenno, what shocked you the most? Or what had the biggest impact on you?
Monday, May 25, 2009
The first day in Kampala we attended a Rugby match. Many students followed including Rachel and opted to try fried grasshopper instead of the traditional US game snacks of cracker jacks or popcorn.
Our first "family photo" of the trip was taken outside the shrine to come of the Christian Martyrs (see post below). In addition to our family of students, faculty, and staff from MUBS and Drake we added three temporary class members who had joined the group during our tour.
I guess you have never seen so many people walking to nowhere (Owino). There were no signs that this leads you there or here!! But we went around. Food and Clothes all over the place, talking down the Prices, seeing lots of Meat...yeah this really stunned a few of you especially the offals.
What about crossing the roads...that was a thrill to some of you. Do not forget the stop signs...what is the count now!
I just love kampala when you guys come around. I would really love to read about this sustainable development from you guys. Are you really feeling it or seeing it!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
*stoplights and center lines
*full pressure hot water
*a tall, cold glass of milk with Cinnamon Toast Crunch
But what I exchange for those is so much more in return:
* the hug of a friend I have not seen for a year
* Max and Harriet, the goats, as well as chickens in the yard, a cat with three legs and Jimmy the 'guard' dog that greets us when we come in the gate
*and perhaps most importantly, the look of wonderment in the eyes of the students.
What has replaced the little things you are missing from home?
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Africa is different from the USA but it offers alot of excitement and am sure lots of questions are going theu your minds of what to expect. As it is a learning tour..i will be happy to know about what is in your journals/thoughts when i see you at the Airport tomorrow.