Thursday, July 31, 2014

South Sudan Science Education Suffers with the War

By Esther Nakkazi 

As the South Sudan crisis continues to unfold, many students, universities and growth in the area of science continues to be affected. While many expatriates and civilians have fled, schools have closed and higher institutions of learning have relocated to neighbouring countries like Uganda.

Scientific growth of the country has stagnated as human resource in this area like all other people cannot continue with their work. Although some humanitarian Organisations most of them with scarce resources are holding on, they too are finding it difficult to do their work with the ongoing war.

One of them, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international medical humanitarian organisation that has been working in some regions of South Sudan since 1983, has documented children suffering from shocking rates of malnutrition, malaria and dying of preventable diseases. Cholera has also hit South Sudan now.

According to MSF, at the height of this conflict, their teams were treating at least 45 critically ill patients each day of mostly preventable diseases like watery diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory infections. Risks of break out of epidemics is looming everywhere.

Displaced and wounded people are living under terrible living conditions and institutions, which would have served them have been destroyed. Roads are impassable due to the conflict.

Although the South Sudanese people first fled because of the fighting with time they also left because of food shortages, observes MSF. Students have abandoned school while some institutions have relocated.

The Upper Nile University (UNU) has since relocated to Juba while the International Christian Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA) with its 51 students has relocated to Uganda and classes are on going at Mengo Hospital. The John Garang Memorial University has also since relocated its students to Juba.

William Ater Aciek, the National Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, says the current crisis has affected budget as well as teachers and school attendance. Institutions have been forced to shut down or relocate.

"We would wish all our children go to school. The slow down is very high and has affected many institutions. Student enrolment has also been affected by these factors,” he said.

In South Sudan a teacher is paid less than three hundred South Sudanese Pounds (less than one hundred US Dollars in equivalence) per month. with the raging civil war the morale of the teachers has also been affected.

“How do you expect a qualified teacher to remain in education?" he questioned.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

MasterCard Foundation invests $10million into Emerging Leaders in Africa Development

By Esther Nakkazi and Agencies;

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will invest $38 million towards four regional Leadership Centres based in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa that will train thousands of Africa’s emerging leaders and foster connections, creativity, and collaboration in sectors critical to Africa’s growth and development.

The MasterCard Foundation, a premier partner in this investment committed $10 million over a five year period.

President Barack Obama made this announcement today, 28th July, at a town hall event for 500 Mandela Washington Fellows, a program for distinguished African youth that is part of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

YALI Fellows and others are in Washington as part of the lead-up to the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, a three-day event hosted by President Obama to welcome leaders from across the African continent to the Nation’s Capital.

Each of these centers will be run as a public-private partnership, capitalizing on the ingenuity and dynamism of the private sector and the programmatic and educational resources of USAID. Nine private sector partners and foundations are joining USAID in supporting the YALI effort.

Rajiv Shah the USAID Administrator said while in meetings with young leaders across Africa, he has witnessed firsthand the incredible energy and creativity among youth that has powered and shaped progress throughout the centuries.

"By connecting these bright leaders to the world's innovation highways, President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative will empower a new generation to transform the continent and their communities,” said Shah.

The Centers will focus on engaging leaders between the ages of 18 and 35 from a variety of backgrounds and a diversity of experience and providing accessible leadership training, incubating organizations and entrepreneurship, and supporting professional connections among African leaders.

Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation, said, “The MasterCard Foundation is delighted to partner with USAID on the next stage of the Young African Leaders Initiative. YALI offers great promise for talented young men and women of Africa, and includes critical education, entrepreneurship and leadership development opportunities. We are proud to invest in this next generation of African leaders who are poised to drive change in their communities, countries and across the continent.”

The Summit, the largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government, will build on the President’s trip to Africa in the summer of 2013 and it will strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions.

The theme of the Summit is "Investing in the Next Generation." Focusing on the next generation is at the core of a government’s responsibility and work, and this Summit is an opportunity to discuss ways of stimulating growth, unlocking opportunities, and creating an enabling environment for the next generation.

USAID seeks to end extreme poverty by investing in Africa’s greatest resource—its people—to sustain and further development, opportunity, and human rights for this and future generations. Across the continent, we are implementing major initiatives to improve health, food security, electricity access, trade, and resilience that are underpinned by commitments to good governance, education, gender equity, and the environment. For more information, visit


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Uganda Government Backtracks on Anti-Gay Law

In February this year, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill against homosexuality practices that was meant to protect Ugandans against 'foreign practices'. Now, 7th July, four months later, after most donors have cut aid and the US has vowed to deny visas to some government officials, and government to government relations have been severed, it says the whole Anti Homosexuality Act was misunderstood by especially its development partners. Below is a statement from the government on the misunderstanding;

Statement by the Government of Uganda on the Anti Homosexuality Act, 2014
Following a democratic Parliamentary process, the Government of the Republic of Uganda enacted the Anti Homosexuality Act on 24th February this year, with a view to curbing open promotion of homosexuality, especially among children and other vulnerable groups.

However, its enactment has been misinterpreted as a piece of legislation intended to punish and discriminate against people of a 'homosexual orientation', especially by our development partners. The Government of the Republic of Uganda reaffirms that no activities of individuals, groups, companies or organisations will be affected by the Act.
The intention of the Act is to stop promotion and exhibition of homosexual practices.This is also to reaffirm that the Government of Uganda:
• remains committed to the protection of the rights of all individuals on the territory of Uganda and to ensure that nobody takes the law into their hands;
• remains committed to guarantee full access to social services, including health and HIV/AIDS services, for all persons in Uganda without discrimination;
• will continue to guarantee equal treatment of all persons on the territory of Uganda, and respect the constitutional provisions on the right to privacy; 
will continue to enable civil society and NGOs to operate freely, in accordance with the laws of Uganda, including relevant NGO legislation; and
• undertakes to expedite finalisation of the guidelines and regulations for the implementation of the Act.