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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Provide for your families- the Karambi neighborhood assembly Resolution

A girl Narrating violence in families children face

“But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 1 Timothy 5:8,  
These were the opening words by Rev. Barnabas Kathembo  parish vicar Karambi COU to the parents gathered in Karambi for  a meeting on prevention of violence against children. The neighborhood assembly held on 22nd march 2017 was attended by over 100 parents, the Sub County Chief Karambi, the OC police, the sub county councilor Karambi and the SMC and PTA members of primary schools in Karambi. The key objective was to sensitize citizens/ parents on community prevention mechanism on violence against children in the sub county.
john Silco addressing parents and citizens at Karambi

The Neighborhood Assembly is a platform that gives the local community opportunity to interact with the Sub County Children Protection Committee, child rights activists, political leaders, police and civil servants.They discuss prevention mechanism on violence against children in schools and families. The specific focus was on ways of supporting adolescent girl children with menstruation hygiene and materials to use during this time to ensure proper hygiene . also discussed: proper nutrition to avoid stunted growth, ways end to violence against children in families.
The sub county chief of Karambi Ms. Ruth Masika, Rev. Barnabas and John Silco from RIC-NET highlighted the common case of violence against children as poor parenting practices, child labour, poor meals,lack of basic needs, corporal punishment and use of abusive language to children at school and home.
The children performed drama and songs that depicted how parents mistreat them, substituting school time to go to the markets or cotton farms or carry heavy luggage or even baby sit their siblings as their mothers engage in business.

Karambi P Sch Children Dramatize Violence Against Children
The parents acknowledged their mistreatment and resolved to support schools efforts to provide sanitary material to girl children, to put mechanism for lunch meals or porridge in schools and put bye laws to control children absenteeism from schools. Over 60 parents were enrolled as farmers to pilot good nutrition practices and grow specific nutritious crops.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


United Integrated Children Development Action (UNICIDA) organised a sensitization meeting on 28th March 2017 that attracted youths and village leaders of Kasitu sub county. These leaders were carefully selected from those villages that were most hit by the Post Election Violence in the district. it should be noted that Kasitu is inhabited by both the Bamba and Bakonzo who are waring tribes. the theme of the meeting was "How ethnicity has contributed to the occurance of conflicts in the area."

A poem titled “Not Ending Now” was recited by Kanyama Nikodemus a member of MUSA Youth Group during the Grassroots’ Sensitization Meeting held at Kasitu sub county headquarters. The poem gives an approach to violence that; we must not kill or hate  each other for the sake of the visitor. In this case the visitor was described as person who incites violence but is not affected at all or stays away from the scene leaving the people to suffer, and at the end takes up all the property the people have left during the struggle.

Participants  in the meeting cited major causes of conflict as; intimidation from people who claim to be more connected than others, erection of sign posts around markets and health centers belonging to OBB, Some members in the communities still think of revenge against their neighbors who might have done wrong against them especially those whose houses were burnt, plantations destroyed and lost loved one in the hands of certain people.

It was resolved that members should intensify internal mobilization of the people from the community. This could be done by adoption of the 10 House Mobilization Strategy used in Tanzania. under this strategy a village is clustered into 10’s houses to ensure flow/dissemination of information. This still can help in monitoring of characters that may be involved in bad act instead of leaving the security to the LCI leaders. Clustering would make it possible to identify the enemies of peace and co-existence and remedies put in place as soon as possible.

Monday, March 27, 2017


The Batwa minority community grass root meeting was conducted on Friday 24 /3/2017 at the Batwa Catholic Church in Bundimasoli-Ntandi town council. There are 18 household of the Batwa, estimated to be composed of 70 people living in Bundimasoli town of Ntandi town council bundibugyo district, 55 members 36 male and 18 females, attended the meeting. 3 members from the CBOs attended 2 male and 1 female and local area councilor one female. The facilitators for the training on Human rights promotion were C/asp Okello Vincent, Mr. Mugisa Robert the ED of UNCIDA and Sr.Angelica and the Animator/promoter of children’s rights at Bugombwa parish.

meeting at the Batwa church.
The community meeting was aimed at sensitizing people on their rights and how they can achieve them in more peaceful ways.
Some of the rights and freedom put on the forefront were; right to education, right to freely associate with others, to have effective access in the government of his or her country and in the conduct of public affairs, right to have access to public resources, right to participate in the leadership of the community.

During the sensitization meeting, the Batwa agreed that their culture is their identity but to promote and share that identity with other, there is need to; support their children attain education as one of the ways to fight ignorance and prepare them for the future, Fight drug abuse and over drinking by willingly surrendering those found drinking to the police or support police to arrest those found in drug abuse. 

Engage in small scale business and doing handcraft to support their families with alternative source of income apart from depending on donations and participate in the governance of the area especially in the forth coming election such that their voices can also be heard.

Friday, March 24, 2017


Kyabikere primary school is located in Kitholhu Sub County near the Uganda- Congo border and in the mountainous areas which makes it quite difficult to access the school.

The school has one latrine which  is used by both boys and girls and also used by girls to change during their menstrual periods. This exposes girls to poor sanitation and hygiene. The girls also lack privacy. 

The school administration and PTA initiated construction of a two stance latrine but it could not accommodate the number of girls in the school. They  had not put into consideration the element of a  washroom.

During one of our meetings at the school the school administration and PTA requested for support  from RIC-NET to enable them finish the latrine but we challenged them to increase the depth of the latrine and add a washroom so that this can help girls at the school to handle their menstrual periods  well.   
The head teacher said that he believes with the construction of the washroom it will improve girls regular attendance and enable them stay in school. So, the parents agreed and constructed a four stance toilet with a washrooms with funding from RIC-NET .


planning on completion of washroom

Most schools in Rwenzori region do not have washrooms for girl children to use for changing during their menstruation periods. When RIC-NET visited Karambi primary school the case was different. The school had an incomplete washroom though it was not in use. The incomplete washroom was started with support from PTA but was not completed due to lack of funds. 

The school requested for support from RIC-NET which welcomed the idea of finishing the incomplete building to enable girl children at the school to have a proper place for handling their menstrual periods which will enable them attend regularly and stay in school.

This support gave relief to the girls who had always suffered a challenge of lack of privacy,poor sanitation and hygiene during menstruation while at school. The senior woman teacher Miss Eva was heard saying at least her work as senior woman teacher will be eased by completion of the washroom.

 completed  washroom

The washroom will be equipped with items to make it a better place for the girls and some of  the items will include ;basins ,jerrycans,pads ,soap ,towel among other items .

                                  completed  washroom

The incomplete washroom 

Thursday, March 16, 2017


"Violence against children can be reduced starting right at the family level."These were words of Mr Paul Mukokoma who was a facilitator at the training of child rights activists in Kitholhu Sub County on 15th March 2017 at Kitholhu sub county head quarters. He urged the child rights activists to center their work of protecting children’s rights at family level because  change begins at house hold level and if the communities are to change in regard to promoting and protecting children’s rights they should start with the families and the whole community will change. He further urged them to keep the spirit of voluntarism in protecting children’s rights and that they shouldn’t give up even though they face challenges. he said that sometimes sabotage during protection and promotion of children’s rights. 
The training was organized by RIC-NET under the project of Community Driven Approaches to Prevent Violence Against Children and Adolescents in Kasese District aimed at refreshing the activist’s knowledge on the concept of violence against children, understanding common causes of violence against children and equipping them with knowledge about national, regional and international legal frame works governing violence against children which they can use as tools for defending their work.
Participants during a group exercise

The Parish Chief of Kitholhu Mr. Kato Stephen who also attended the training encouraged the activists to work together as a team and always seek guidance from each other and refer complicated cases of child rights violations in their areas to relevant officials like the Police, probation office and the office of the CDO if they are to achieve the aims of their voluntary work of protecting and promoting children’s rights.
one of the participants presenting  group work

Monday, March 6, 2017

Oiling the engine, fireproofing the engine.

I was honoured to attend a meeting last week of community stakeholders, where peace and conflict were discussed at length. The meeting was attended by 26 members, from RIC-NET, Bundibugyo district local government, the intelligence and security services, the OBB and OBR cultural institute, and religious institutions, as well as LCIII's and Foot Peace Ambassadors from various CBOs.

Since the education range in the room was broad, many speakers realized how important it was to express their ideas with clarity. Therefore, the discussion touched on various metaphors to understand approaches to peace-building and conflict management. A warning was made that when ridding fields of a virulent weed, one should not only remove the leaves, not only the stem, but also the roots. A similar argument was made that strategies should address diseases entirely, not merely their symptoms. These are all useful to frame ideas, but do not make long term strategy any clearer. ‘Conflict’, just like ‘peace’ is not an object or a single set of behaviors. It is the outcome of sets of other human behavior. People are not diseases or weeds, and though some parts of their actions might be seen as such, they can’t be poisoned, yanked from the soil, or otherwise without the threat of damage.

Discussions of bottom-up and top-down methods caught my attention, approaching the problem either through political power-centers or the broader population. How can this be expanded to a broader idea that is simple to understand?

One struck me during the meeting: of fire, fuel, and sparks. Violent conflict is fire. Sparks come from friction and collisions between hard materials: stone, wood, metal. These are manifest as instigation by groups and individuals who have specific disputes with other individuals. If the sparks fall on flammable material, all goes up in flames. Yet just like a great machine, Ugandan society is constantly in motion, and increasingly so. Traditional societies are like elegant wooden chairs, or wooden hand-carts. 

The machinery was not complex, the movement limited. Kings ruled ethnic constituencies, people farmed for their livelihoods, government was face-to-face and life generally predictable. The colonial and post-colonial states arrived with their organised economies, highly regulated legal systems, large armies, roads, vehicles, science. They are like their engines and machines, forged of metal, with many moving parts, though unlike real engines, constantly in a process of being built. But still, traditionalism remains in the fringes, and there are more sparks emerging from the machine: electoral politics, cultural institutions, patronage for state integration, and struggles for economic opportunity. These sparks fall on flammable material, and can burst into flames. Of course even the best-tuned engines can catch fire: violence occurs in all sorts of circumstances. Yet here we have two ways of governing life interacting and coexisting, and occasionally burning itself.

What therefore is to be done? Some want the furniture to be kept away from the engine: a separate kingdom state. Some want the furniture gone altogether: full modernisation and integration. The former will leave the furniture without motion. The latter is only possible piece by piece, the slow transformation from a wooden frame to a steel one. It is long term, and any conflagrations only set back the changes: the wooden pieces burn, some metal breaks, and the whole is left damaged.   

This metaphor gives us some key guiding principles for community peace building efforts. First, they should make the components less flammable. Peace narratives, the erosion of ethnic narratives and realisation of the consequences of violence make the people less likely to burst into flames when sparks arrive from above. The ideal goal is a fully fireproofed population, who will not respond violently either to their peers or their leaders. Second, interventions should reduce friction: engine oil is necessary between moving metal parts, and legal, peaceful dispute resolution and dialogue are essential for power holders not to clash. Third, some moving parts may need to be realigned. This is a careful and difficult process, like resetting a cog in motion. Movement in engines, just as interests in politics, is inevitable and desirable. But sometimes a part moves against others, and needs realignment. It will resist shifting back, but once in alignment should stay there, as its own motion will be smoother. It cannot be removed, nor should it. It cannot be stopped, nor should it. But shifting its movement back into alignment is essential for the running of the machine. Troublesome leaders will gain more from legal engagement, but must be allowed to do so, not blocked within legitimate channels. Fourth, neither metal nor wood is ‘wrong’. What is important is their means of interaction. I have often heard the argument that the traditional, magical or cultural elements in the equation should catch up with the 21st century. But this is a slow process, as I mentioned. One does not tear down a wooden house after placing a generator inside for fear of fire: you still need somewhere to live and sleep. 
BY Patrick Edmound
Student Intern