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Monday, May 29, 2017

Secondary Education in Uganda- City Secondary School

Today, we visited City Secondary School, a private boarding school, that is a combination of middle school and high school students.  The students at this school don’t just come from Uganda they also come from Tanzania, South Sudan, and Rwanda. Throughout our time at the school, we were treated like royalty. As we got off the bus students lead us to an assembly by performing a cultural dance. Faculty and students from the school kept coming up to us and thanking us for our contribution.  We started off our day with an assembly presented by the school’s teachers. At the assembly, the teachers talked about the challenges the school faces. One major challenge is that they don’t have enough computers for the students. Since electricity is an issue the power on the computer can be faulty and the Internet does not work. Another challenge the school faces is that it is very expensive to run and many kids end up dropping out. Throughout the day we did different activities with the students. Towards the end of the day, I got the opportunity to play games with a bunch of the girl students. The girls taught me games they like to play and I taught them games I used to play when I was in school. Playing with these students has probably been the highlight of my trip so far. All of the students were so bright and full of energy. Saying goodbye to those girls has been the hardest part of my trip. 

Based on what we experienced today, how do students view their education?

What role does technology in schools play in sustainable development?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kikandwa Health Clinic

The Kikandwa Health Clinic started with the collaboration of the village elders and Drake University back when this program of sustainable development came to Uganda 11 years ago. What started as a service-learning project has turned into a major contribution to the people in Kikandwa and the neighboring villages, providing basic care such as deliveries, HIV testing, and immunizations. With the Rotary Service event yesterday at the clinic, as Drake and MUBS students we had the opportunity to see the immense impact that past students have made on this community, thus inspiring me to have an active role within the new maternity ward. The continuation of the clinic gave the perception that there is hope for healthcare in this environment. Expansion and growth is seemingly inevitable and although it may take many years to come, the people involved in this progression are committed to providing for their friends, neighbors, and family.

As I interviewed for my research project and played with the little kids that were waiting for their mothers to finish in the clinic, I was amazed by the patience that and calmness that surrounded the grounds. It was as if no one had anywhere else to be and even if it took all day to see a doctor, it was worth it. From this, I realized just how much of a hectic and chaotic environment we tend to live in, in the States. Everyone is in a rush and waiting an extra 10 minutes for something, even healthcare, is not acceptable. How do you think this has an impact on how we view the importance of the services we receive from other people? Are we fully concentrated on the selfishness that is getting what we want when we want it?

In relation to yesterday's festivities as a whole, what was the moment or moments that impacted you the most? How will this change the way you few the American healthcare system? What are ways that we can contribute to the growth of this clinic from back home?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Media and the Newspaper Industry

Today, we met with three journalists from the print news industry. Charles and Mark were from the Daily Monitor which is the second largest newspaper in Uganda, and John works for New Vision which is the oldest newspaper. Charles spoke to us about the history of media in Uganda and the legal framework for it. He explained that newspapers were originally started by missionaries, but are now mostly run by enterprises. He also spoke to the challenges of government control in the media and the emergence of online news that is unable to generate revenue. Legally, the media is dictated by three main laws that offer different levels of freedom in different realms of media. John spoke to us mainly about life as a journalist. He stressed the importance of formal training as well as informal training to learn how to best work with the people of Uganda to get the most out of his searches for information, and though they don't get a huge paycheck, journalists are drawn to this calling with a passion for sharing news with the country.

They mentioned that media relates to sustainability through the social realm, what effects does media have on the pillar of social inclusion?

How have we seen media in play in other events and people we've spoken to?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Luzira Maximum Security Prison

Luzira Maximum Security Prison appeared to be very different than a maximum security prison within the United States. From simple observations, the prisoners and guards have a positive and interactive relationship with each other that stems more from friendship than an authoritarian relationship. The prisoners, although some have committed heinous crimes, are allowed freedom to roam around within the complex. A difference that one was unable to miss was the rehabilitation efforts of the prison. Luzira, being the largest prison in Uganda and the largest prison in Eastern Africa for some time, has seemingly done well with training some prisoners to perform vocational traits or receive education; even education up to a college degree or certificate through the prison's partnership with MUBS. A poster seen in the assistant officer's office read "crush the crime, not the criminal" reenforces the policy of rehabilitating criminals so they are better and involved citizens when they renter society. It may be perceived as sustainable in some sense to be able to reintegrate inmates successfully into society. The prison also conducts ways to sustainably support itself through economics. The prisoners make money when they work, the money is put into the prison bank where they may use it for things they need within the prison. If there is money left over when the prisoner gets out, he may take that money with him. The prison generates money for itself by making chairs and other furniture in the carpenter sector. It sells the furniture to schools and businesses within the country. In the sewing and tailor sector, the inmates make prisoner and guard uniforms for the whole country, as well as Ugandan flags, flags for the president's car, and other items. Then they sell these to the buyers, which brings profit into the prison. One of the largest struggles the prison deals with is overcrowding and understaffing. The prison's capacity is 600 inmates, currently it has over 3,000 inmates, with only 300 guards. Another major challenge facing the prison is that most of the inmates have not yet received a trial. From an outsiders perspective, the prison seems to be somewhat tolerable, but behind the curtains it may be a different story. 

Questions for Drake/MUBS Students:

In what ways could the prison become more sustainable economically? Is paying the prisons very little exploiting them? Do you agree with the head officer that it is in the best interest of the prisoners to work? 

Do you think the prison is environmentally sustainable through the planting and gardening within the prison? What parts may not be environmentally friendly? Why?

What do you think about the relationships between the prisoners and the guards? During the Human Rights visit Shelia talked a lot about torture or abuse, do you think that occurs in the prison? What is your opinion on the inmates on death row not knowing when they will die?

What is your opinion on the prisoners being there without first receiving a trial? What are ways this problem can be fixed? 


The Aids Support Organization is something that was started 30 years ago after Christopher Kaleeba was in a bad accident and needed a blood transfusion, the one he received was by a donor that was HIV positive and didn't know. Since then TASO has used the support in donations from the CDC and Catholic Relief Charities to tighten the cap on AIDs.

TASO's mission is to restore hope in those HIV positive and change the stigma associated with the virus. The organization uses a holistic and client centered approach. With the client consent, their family and friends come in and talk about the things the client is going for to build a strong support system. They also assign a drug companion to each client which is a family member or friend who holds the client accountable to taking their medicine and going to follow up appointments.

Like any other virus, prevention is the best method. That being said TASO is very good at providing counseling supports as well as education about HIV and how to prevent it. They also work on preventive care for expectant mothers putting them on the right drugs throughout their pregnancy, followed with postnatal care and syrups to keep the baby healthy. Because of these efforts they have only had one baby born HIV positive and that was because the mom came in to get services too late.

I am interested to learn what kinds of media campaigns they could launch within the communities to continue to change the stigma that goes along with being HIV positive. They have already come so far in changing the thoughts that went along with someone walking to TASO to receive services, I feel as if the organization can only go up from here! People with HIV are no longer hiding or ashamed, they are taking the right drugs to live a happier, healthier, and longer life.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Entrepreneurship in Uganda

What is Entrepreneurship? Mr. Bitature argues that it is a burning desire, a passion for fixing a gap that you see in society. In the last few days, our class visited an open air market as well as Mr. Bitature, an Entrepreneur of the cellphone and energy industries, to explore the different styles of economic development in Uganda. The open air market shows the majority of the economic situation in Uganda which is a perfectly competitive market with little to no product differentiation. Mr. Bitature's cellphone and energy market can be described as an oligopoly (few businesses in competition for all of the market). His style of business is known for his ability to find a need and be the first to the market and to capitalize on the industry to succeed. He told us about most of the disparities of Uganda and the importance of Entrepreneurs employing more people into the workforce for more economic development, as well as children being nourished correctly for early adolescence to help the economy flourish. The most interesting topic that was brought up in his presentation was the importance of people having a good moral (MQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ) for not only the individual to thrive but for the country to succeed as a whole. To bring things into perspective, he said that Uganda is in the condition that the United States was at 100 years ago and it is their country's job to lead itself in the direction of countries like the United States which all starts with the younger generations.


Considering that corruption is a big problem in Ugandan society, do you think that Patrick ever was involved in corrupt business deals in order to make it by in the culture of business?

Do you agree with the importance MQ and EQ for success in a society?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Microfinance - Reach Out

This morning we learned about the organization Reach Out by visiting the Mbuya Parish HIV/AIDS Initiative site. Since its launch in 2001, it has grown to comprise of four main sites that have cared for over 11,000 people. We discussed how they test people for HIV and if their results come back positive, they provide medical treatment and care through ways such as antiretroviral therapy or mother-to-mother community supporters. This organization also helps clients through village savings and loan associations (abbreviated as VSLA). These groups instill saving cultures, increase empowerment, provide small loans for group members, and reduce dependence by starting up/ameliorating existing income-generating activities. Groups contain 15-30 members that are self-selected. There are currently 402 groups across Uganda; today we split up into three groups to visit three of them. My group visited one called “Friends Forever.” The members specialized in making jewelry and pooled the money they each earn in a box. Some groups also have linkages with banks to store their money. Reach Out teaches effective practices to deal with money to ensure sustainability. 90% of group members are female, which can create a cultural shift by promoting independence, especially when it comes to dealing with a household’s money. Do you think this disparity between gender involvement in these groups affects the sustainability of the program? If yes, how so?

News from the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative

Yesterday, we visited the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative. The FHRI mission is to insure that the human rights guaranteed by the Ugandan Constitution are upheld through legislative advocacy, legal services, and right monitoring. Often confused for the Ugandan Human Rights Commission, the FHRI is a NGO that has created a lasting impact on Uganda by holding parliamentarians accountable for legislation such as the Public Order Management Act, the Anti-Homosexuality Act, and the Access to Information Act. They also work closely on cases that represent a larger human rights violation such as the mistreatment of prisoners, the death penalty, and the rights of prisoners on remand. Uganda is unique because human rights are guaranteed by their constitution unlike in the United States. (In the U.S., it was just mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.)  Uganda has an advantage when it comes to topics of injustice because their government has purposefully declared their opposition to inequality in their founding documents. As an intern at the Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis, MN, I have experienced this disadvantage first hand because our efforts are restricted to case work instead of legislation and constitutional amendments.FHRI is inspiring in its purpose to advocate for residents whose "greatest challenge is speaking out" (Sheila Muwanga, Executive Director of FHRI).

Our class talked about the importance of human rights as the basis of all of the sustainable development goals that  the UNDP has decided are essential to development. Do you agree? If yes, why do you think so? If not, which one involves more human rights?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Ndere Cultural Center

We had the opportunity to visit the Ndere Cultural Center and learn more about the cultural side of Uganda through music, dance, and song.  Throughout our time at the center, we first began with an private informational session to learn about the different instruments used within the culture then a live performance/dinner.  All of the instruments used throughout the show were similar to an instrument in the United States though the instruments from Uganda were mainly constructed from wood, string, and animal hide.  All of the students from MUBS and Drake had the opportunity to learn an instrument or how to dance within the Ugandan culture.  I personally had the opportunity to learn how to play the agwara which is similar to the trumpet and had a blast learning to play!  It was pretty difficult to play, but I had the opportunity to connect with students from the dance troupe that helped me learn!  This experience was one of a kind and personally enjoyed all of my time at the center.  From learning to play, to watching the performance, to being able to dance with the performers after the show was over, I felt surrounded by the Ugandan culture.  I would love to go again and I would highly recommend this experience to anyone that is planning on visiting Uganda!

Questions for Drake/MUBS students:
The Ndere Cultural Center recruits young prodigies into the company to become part of the program while promising an education through their work.  Through this work, it can create an area that is both educational to the students with the cultural aspect and the school aspect.  Would you consider this duel component to be beneficial to the sustainable aspect since it is helping educated people about the culture as well as educate kids or is it too restrictive on the selection process and that this is not creating a big enough impact to be considered sustainable?

Many of the dances performed were about love and how each different culture presented love from a man to a woman.  Through dance, a man and a woman would prove to be compatible and in love with each other.  However, now-a-days, people do not perform these rituals in order to profess their love to one another.  Why do you think they are still performing these dances when the culture has changed so much?  Due to the change in culture throughout the world and Uganda, what type of connection is there between culture and continuous development?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Agriculture in Rural Village

This morning we went on a walking tour of a family farm within the village of Kikandwa. The farm is small-scale and produces a variety of crops without the use of electricity, unique from most large-scale farms in the United States. Crops are fertilized by pig manure, plants are irrigated by a spring-fed stream dug intentionally with downhill flow to reach a large amount of land, and tools such as hoes and shovels are the "tractors of Uganda," as one of our guides Ben said today. Continuation of family farms is an issue that was raised today because younger generations move to the city for education and stay for career, leaving family farms vulnerable to eventual abandonment, a loss of property and wealth. We also toured a cocoa plantation and were able to experience the chocolate making process up close, including breaking open cocoa pods to suck the fruit, to tasting the dried and roasted cocoa beans that resemble the taste of extra dark chocolate. Throughout the visit, we were guided by a number of village elders and warmly welcomed by families and children who are grateful for the partnership with Drake and excited to show us the fruits of their labor.

According to the World Bank, Uganda's agriculture employs approximately 72% of the population, while agriculture in the United States employs about 2% of the national population. With this in mind, and realizing that Uganda uses a majority of small-scale subsistence farming, while the U.S. uses majority large-scale farming, what could the U.S. learn from Uganda in terms of agriculture? Additionally, what could Uganda learn from U.S. agriculture?

Visit to the Rural Village of Kikandwa

Today was a packed day in the rural village called Kikandwa. We got a tour around a small-scale farm that uses the technique of intercropping to produce plantains, coffee beans, cocoa, pumpkins (what we call squash), maize, and other crops. We also got to see where they process their cocoa beans and how they do it, which was super interesting! Ours hosts then took us to one of their houses for a delicious traditional Ugandan meal of matooke (mashed plantains) with g-nut sauce (ground nut sauce- amazing!), rice, beef, cabbage, greens, and fresh pineapple and watermelon. It was so cool to see how the farmers in Uganda work and how different it is from the large-scale farming in the US. Here the focus is on providing food first for their own family and the surplus can then be sold, whereas in the US, all product is for selling. This idea, combined with the method of intercropping, make for a very sustainable farm. The only thing, to me, that seemed not very sustainable about the farm was that labor prices are so low, so people in the area are hired for very low wages to help harvest the crops, which is good for the farmer, but not great for the surrounding community and isn't very sustainable for the economy. Overall, it was a great day full of beautiful scenery, great Ugandan people, amazing food, and lots of learning and thought-provoking ideas about Ugandan agriculture.

Questions for Drake/MUBS students:
How could Uganda raise the minimum wage for harvesters without making the farmers go bankrupt? Do you think large-scale farming could help Uganda or hurt it? In what ways would it help/hurt?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pre-Departure Post

Hi my name is Sophie Gray and I just finished my first year at Drake! I am double majoring in public relations and psychology with a minor in graphic design and a concentration in Behavior Analysis of Developmental Disabilities. I am excited to begin my adventure in Uganda! In Uganda I hope to learn about how the education system works and what types of interventions are used on students with emotional and behavioral disorders. For my research project I will be interviewing teachers and staff at the schools that we visit about what they consider negative behavior in the classroom. I am extremely excited to immerse myself in a different culture and create memories that will be with me forever.

Pre-Departure Post

Hello all! 

My name is Benjamin (Ben) Williamson, and I'm a health sciences major at Drake University. While we're in Uganda, I'm hoping to plan my project around making a map for the Kikandwa village that can be used during future visits for a variety of projects. After seeing some of the group presentations, I think that making a map of the area may be a little challenging if there aren't as many major roads around. 

Some of my hopes for the trip are that I will get to meet as many new people as possible, and experience as much of Uganda as humanly possible within a three-week time period. I'm nervous because I am always paranoid that I don't pack enough, but I'm sure everything will be outstanding anyways. The most exciting part of travelling to Uganda for me is that I will be further away from home on this trip than I have been on any other trip I have taken. I am also looking forward to experiencing the variety of airports along the way!

As for entertainment during the 25-hour trip, I think I will definitely sleep lots. That isn't too entertaining, but it is much needed after a long drive from Minnesota to the Des Moines airport. Aside from sleep, I am going to read all of the bios again in the seminar journals and look back over some of the pre-departure materials! When I get bored of that, I will start playing around with some of the mapping software options that I've been looking into for my village map. 

I look forward to Uganda!