Archive for August, 2006

NACODO Website Launch

NACODO, originally uploaded by ficubc.

A new website has been created in order to promote the Namuwongo Community Development Organization (NACODO) and its initiatives.

The temporary url is: http://info.nacodo.googlepages.com

The site is still under construction but more information will be added in the coming weeks.

August 31, 2006 at 8:57 am Leave a comment

Gorillas!

P8180124.JPG, originally uploaded by ficubc.

This isn’t necessarily about FICUBC, but I wanted to share this picture with some friends and family and hopefully it will convince people to come and volunteer if they know they can travel and do some different things here in Uganda.

Last weekend I, Matthew, travelled to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Southwestern Uganda. After a long minibus ride from Kampala with two South Africans (who happened to work for the safari company CC Africa and were great to travel with) we arrived at Buhoma just outside of Bwindi. The next morning we gathered at the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) HQ and then met our guides and porters for the trek. It took us a few hours through the forest before we reached the gorillas, but when we finally arrived they literally surrounded us. There was about 8 around, including two very young ones and the male silverback. The young ones seemed to be the most interested and enjoyed playing in the trees and showing off for the visitors. The others were mainly eating the entire time, and the silverback was always careful to keep his distance.

You have to keep in mind that not so long ago the only human contact these animals had was with soldiers and poachers, so they are understandly wary but at the same time can be at times suprisingly habituated. They can come extremely close and one even pushed over one of the trekkers. After about an hour with the gorillas we had to leave and we slowly made our way back to camp.

It was really a once in a lifetime experience (Margaret also saw them in Rwanda and Justine in Bwindi last year) and I would highly reccomend it to anyone travelling in the region!

August 31, 2006 at 8:49 am Leave a comment

GFIC Programming in Northern Uganda

P8230426.JPG, originally uploaded by ficubc.

 

Above: Community members of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Lacor, Gulu District, perform theater promoting HIV/AIDS awareness.

This coming year GFIC hopes to expand its programs to Northern Uganda, and specifically Gulu district. GFIC Uganda has identified the conflict in the region as one of its core program focus areas in its 5 year strategic plan for 2006-2011. Students at Gulu University have also expressed interest in forming a new chapter of GFIC there this coming academic year and a delegation from GFIC and GFIC Uganda will be meeting with officials from the administration and student government early next month to discuss the possibility creating a chapter there.

Other GFIC chapters outside Uganda will also play a role in the organization’s programming in Northern Uganda, as a number of programs are being developed that will offer summer volunteer internships opportunities for GFIC members. Some programs being designed include a shelter building program for individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS, a Youth Resource Centre in Gulu Town for HIV/AIDS education/counseling/testing, and an HIV/AIDS Community Outreach Program to operate in the various Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the area. These programs are being coordinated in partnership with Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO), United Youth Action for Progress (UYAP). Youth Empowerment Uganda (YEU), and various GFIC national offices and university chapters.

More information will become available in the coming year with specific program details and volunteer opportunity listings.

August 31, 2006 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

Namuwongo Community Clean-ups

P8260022_1.JPG, originally uploaded by ficubc.

Namuwongo Community Development Organization (NACODO) which was created as a result of the FICUBC/PEMO participatory appraisal program this past June/July has initiated a weekly program of community clean-ups. This is being done in order to address one of the top priorities of the community, as identified in their Community Action lan (CAP): Poor Sanitation.

Each Saturday for the past three weeks the NACODO executive and its members have been working in each of the four zones to clear waste from the drainage channels that cut through the community. This has the dual benefits of reducing flooding in the community during heavy rains as there is improved water flow as well as reduced the amoun of standing and contaminated water which can lead to a number of diseases, the most dangerous and prominent being malaria.

The NACODO executive is currently trying to gather a list of best practices for this initative and are creating programs to encourage broad based community engagement in the program alongside improved sensitization programs. Significant improvements have been made in a number of key locations in the community, especailly the areas surrounding water points.

They have been assisted in their efforts by FICUBC, who last week donated wheelbarrows, hoes, shovels, rakes, and plastic gloves to aid in the cleanup process.

August 31, 2006 at 8:42 am Leave a comment

Eastern Africa Regional Model United Nations



P7310532.JPG, originally uploaded by ficubc.

This past week I travelled to Nairobi, Kenya to act as an observer/advisor to the first annual Eastern Africa Regional Model United Nations, held at the United Nations Offices in Nairobi.

The MUN movement is spreading across Africa and has been embraced as a valuable tool in preparing youth to become knowledgable to successful representatives of their respective countries/regions in the international community. The theme of this conference was creating an action plan for youth to work towards the successful fulfillment of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

More information on the conference can be found at the EARMUN website, http://www.earmun.org

August 8, 2006 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

Rwanda Travels



P7270503.JPG, originally uploaded by ficubc.

During the last week of July, Margaret and I (Matt) travelled through Rwanda, spending time in the capital Kigali and a small town in the Northwest called Ruhengeri. Rwanda is a beautiful agricultural country with rolling terraced hills and lush valleys. We especially appreciated the excellent quality infrastructure (especially roads) that often contrasted with those found in Uganda.

Kigali is an interesting city and quite difficult to describe. The colonial influences seem much greater than Kampala and the European influence is obvious, with prices to match! We did a lot of walking around town and visited a number of landmark areas such as the Hotel Des Milles Collines. Following two days in Kigali we moved North to visit Ruhengeri where you can travel to the national Parc des Volcans (Volcano National Park) made famous worldwide by Dian Fossey’s work with gorillas. Margaret remained an extra day in Ruhengeri in order to do a gorilla trekking expedition while I returned to Kigali (as I’ll be doing the same in Bwindi national park in Uganda later this month).

Back in Kigali I visited the Hotel Intercontinental as well as Amahoro stadium, two sites along with the Hotel des Milles Collines that are central to Romeo Dallaire’s novel “Shake Hands with the Devil” (a feature film version of which is currently filming in Kigali). It’s quite difficult to imagine the atrocities described in the book and other documentation of the genocide in 1994 with the current image of Rwanda. I suppose this is a good thing although you do get the distinct impression that the population and political climate are still heavily influenced by the events that took place over a decade ago. Our visit to the Kigali Memorial Centre was especially moving, http://www.kigalimemorialcentre.org

I think the events in Rwanda justify the need to involve youth in international affairs in order to create a new generation of global leaders that will take new approaches to inter-cultural understanding and conflict prevention/management. Hopefully the work that we do as youth today will be reflected by the absence of such devestating events such as the rwandan genocide tomorrow. Although history is against us I remain optimistic (and probably too idealistic 🙂

August 8, 2006 at 10:43 am Leave a comment


"Let us not imitate the historians who believe that the past has always been inevitable, and thus suppress the human dimension of events"

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