Friday, August 26, 2016

On 20th July 2016 Rwenzori Information Centers Network (RIC-NET) organized an interface/dialogue meeting with the leaders of Bundibugyo District. The meeting was attended by District leaders as (CAO, LCV, DISO, RDC, and CO of Kanyamirima Army Barracks), leaders from cultural institutions (King Batwa tribe, Prime Ministers of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu (OBR), and Obudingya Bwa Bwamba (OBB), Leader of Esyamango and Information officer of these institutions, District leaders of religious institutions, Town Clerk  of Bundibugyo Town Council, local Council leaders in the sub counties where the intervention is taking place, the elders forum and some specific individuals heading the District peace committee for reconciliation.

The Objective of the meeting was to localize the action, and interface with cultural leaders, policy makers and implementors of the policies to dialogue and make actions aimed at achieving the objectives of the interventions.
RIC-NET is implementing an initiative aimed at strengthening civic competence in Bundibugyo District. This action is called “Community action to prevent and manage conflicts and human rights violations in the Rwenzori region of Uganda”. In Bundibugyo District the action is implemented in the sub counties of Bubukwanga, Kirumya, Ntotoro, Ngamba and Kasitu. The project targets grassroot citizens to take lead in the prevention and management of conflicts and human rights violations directly from the community through the local leadership at Sub County.
The OBR Prime Minister Rt Hon Jeremiah Mutoro mentioned that peace and unity can be achieved if the leaders of the institutions can sit together and iron out their difference. He said “today is one of the historical moments when the two prime Ministers can sit together to discuss peace and reconciliation in the Rwenzori after the collapse of the Mubende peace talks”. These moments must continue even without the interventions of NGOs.On the other hand the Prime Minister of OBB Rt. Hon Wilson mentioned that “ it’s important to identify items that unit us as people from Bundibugyo and stick to the principles of peace and Unity”. Items that unit the Bakonzo and Bamba are for example the 30th June anniversary.
The Esyamango Chairperson of OBR mentioned that agreement, meetings, comminiques and talks cannot bring peace reconciliation and unity if the “individual mindset and attitude of our leaders” are not focused on the same goal. It was agreed in the meeting that cultural institutions have a big role to play in peace and reconciliation in Bundibugyo District. Such roles were identified as; Support close relationship within the communities, mobilize the community to participate in actions towards unity, promote co-existence among people through promoting cultural values that unite people, support the sharing and disseminations of credible information, strengthen the communication channel with the cultural institutions and Strengthen institution capacity to prevent and manage conflicts.



Friday, August 19, 2016

PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE STARTS AT HOUSEHOLD LEVEL.

On 18th August 2016, members of Yesu Atubaliye Group in Ntotoro Sub County Bundibugyo District attended one day training on conflict analysis and management. 37 members (15 males and 22 female) attended the training that was held at Kirumya Nursery and Primary school.
members of the group during the training.
The training objective was to increase the level of activism among women and other persons vulnerable to violence to prevent and manage conflicts and defend human rights violations in the community. Content of the training involved an understanding of the root causes of conflicts, analysis of the actors and their roles in fueling and prevention of conflicts and ways of improving communication as key to manage conflicts.


Muhindo Susan 43 years a member of the group, mentioned that “the mapping of the actors has help me understand that we should not be engaging in wars that we don’t clearly understand…we enter in wars we don’t understand their causes”. Ms Maureen a member of the group at the same time a Primary teacher realized the training has opened their mind to  think beyond the current conflicts in the district which has been blamed on politics and outcomes from the election. “ ..From today I have learnt that peaceful co-existence starts with me and my neighbours not looking at our leaders in Kampala as the one to offer me peace...”

Mr Samuel elaborating the point during training.
The training equipped the members with the skills and knowledge to analyze the causes of the conflicts that have happened in the area and be able to interface with the local leaders and the community on policy review in order to prevent and manage conflicts and other human rights violations in the area.


A number of dignitaries attended the training ie , the LCI chairperson of the area Mr. Alex, the chairperson of Bundimagwara cultural groups Mr. Baker Samuel and Ms Ngwali Erina the Board secretary Of UNCIDA. Mr Alex mentioned that the people were  misinformed and act out of ignorance thus knowledge obtained during the training would offer opportunity to the people analyze the situation before they take part in it. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

THERE IS NOPROBLEM TOO BIG THAT WE CANNOT SOLVE IT -KABAROLE RDC TELLS RESIDENTS



RDC addressing the people
The Resident District Commissioner  of Kabarole district Mr. Asiimwe Stephen has warned against fighting one another, wasting time on trivial issues and promoting unnecessary divisionism that hinders development and education in the region. “Most cardinal objectives of cultural leaders is to promote values, norms and behavior” he said. He made these remarks at the beginning of this week while officiating as chief guest at cultural leaders training on the prevention and management of conflicts and human rights violations at St.Josephs Inn Fort Portal organized by RICNET. It was also agreed that a problem cannot be solved if the root cause is not looked at. Therefore cultural leaders should go down and look for the root causes of conflicts in the community inorder to enhance peaceful coexistence. Tolerance was also looked at as a key to conflict management. Cultural institutions should accept the diversity in the region and learn to live peacefully with one another. Cultural leaders should prioritize peace, brotherhood  and unity for the good of the Rwenzori region. Cultural leaders should look beyond confusion and iron out their differences inorder for peace to prevail in the region. Cultural leaders should stop blaming each other and focus on peaceful co-existence, always speak the truth and show youth the right path to take.
Cultural institutions receiving the ICT tools
This training aimed at equipping cultural leaders of Obukama Bwa Tooro, Obudhingiya Bwa Bwamba and Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu with knowledge on the use of ICT tools in the prevention and management of conflicts and human rights violations in the great Rwenzori region. There is need for enhanced information sharing among the cultural institutions to have an informed peaceful citizenery in the community thus a computer set, printer and desk phone were given out to each cultural institution to allow free and easy flow of information and also check deceptive messages that contaminate the society causing tension and pressure that finally spark off conflicts.  An electronic library has been put in place among other platforms to help equip the users with materials such as the constitution, a number of acts and laws  that enhance their knowledge.On this same platform we are able to  one can upload information for the public. This helps us tap peoples views, comments, concerns and issues from the community.



TRUTHFUL INFORMATION IS KEY TO PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT CONFLICTS.

On the 15th August 2016, at the dinner hosted by Rwenzori Information Centers Network (RIC-NET), the Prime ministers and spokespersons of Cultural institutions met to share the trend of conflicts in the region. Those who attended among others were RT. Hon. Kitsumbire Thembo of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu (OBR), Rt. Hon. Mubulya Wilson of Obudingya Bwa Bwamba (OBB) and Hon. Benjamin Kennedy who represented the Prime Minister of Toro (OBT) at Mountains of the Moon hotel.


 Due to the high level of conflict and human rights violations in the Rwenzori region, RIC-NET has implemented a project on Community action to prevent and manage conflicts and human rights violations in the region. The action is executed in close coordination with cultural institutions to enhance information sharing among the stakeholders, local community based organization as foot peace ambassadors and ethnic minority groups.
The meeting was a continuation of a series of engagement meetings with cultural institutions on the level and kind of information that should be shared with the community. During the meeting a number of issues were discussed including the implementation of the Royal communiqué of 14th April 2016, the Mubende royal meeting, the peace process in the region and how cultural institutions can foster Agriculture and Tourism to increase on the per capita income of the subjects.

The Prime Ministers agreed that during the creation of the cultural institutions deceitful information was used by some of the subjects to convince people to accept the installation of the cultural leaders. In such a multilingual environment deceitful information fosters the community into conflict. At the moment there is no clear way on how such information can be eroded from the people who have accepted it. The channel of communication in the institutions should be streamlined such that only authentic information is shared to the public by the responsible people. Such information should be well sourced, evidence based and concrete truth.
RICNET has looked at empowering Spokespersons on how to make use of the changing patterns in the society to communicate to the public (online using the available social media and social gatherings where leaders are given a platform to speak). Such information must be the same across the region to reduce bias and being altered by agents of conflict.

RIC-NET will continue supporting cultural institutions with training of staff on collecting, analyzing, documenting and dissemination of information to enhance development of indigenous people’s livelihood, cultures, attitudes and behavior that promotes peaceful coexistence among different ethnic groups in the Rwenzori region.

……End…….

CONFLICT AFFECTED GIRLS SUPPORTED WITH SANITARY MATERIAL

some of the girls during distribution of the material
Adolescent girl children are some of the most affected group during any conflict. In the Rwenzori region girls continue to face a challenge of lack of sanitary material to use during menstruation periods .This makes them miss school and classes so that they are able  to handle the periods while at home .This leads to poor performance of the girl children, involvement in sexual activities and possible drop out of school. RIC-NET with support from  the Global Fund for Children looks out for conflict affected girls in school with psychosocial support and mentoring ,reproductive health training, supporting with sanitary and scholastic material so as the conflict affected girls are able to manage school and achieve a bright future. These girls are also availed with a chance to learn vocational skills , reproductive health knowledge and entrepreneurship skills. The girls are also given start up kits to help them start up their own businesses.

On 1st August 2016, 10 conflict affected girls at Semliki High school in Bundibugyo district  were supported with sanitary pads, soap, books and pens to help them in their daily life while at school.
Girls pose with RIC-NET staff and mentor teacher
The girls were happy with the material and said that this would help them concentrate on their studies .One of the girls was overheard saying “at least I will have what to use during my periods comfortably “. 
The idea of changing the lives of people inspires RICNET to go on supporting these girls.