1. Afrinspire Young Leaders Conference 2016
In July we hosted the Afrinspire Young Leaders Conference in Mbarara in South Uganda. There were 45 delegates from Uganda, Congo, Sudan, Burundi, UK and Malaysia with a feed-in from a Tanzanian Conference led one week earlier in Dar E Salam by two of the Ugandan delegates.
Our theme was 'Finding the Way Forward'. We considered the many projects begun by delegates and supported by the Afrinspire Young Leaders Fund following the past 3 conferences.
Transparency was given on all projects to show the successes and struggles. Five specific projects /businesses were analysed in group work.
The biggest challenge was cash flow planning which was explained as a practical skill training session. Another superb session on 'Reflecting' was given as a tool for personal growth. Finally the Sustainable Development Goals were explained and delegates mapped these against the issues facing young people in Africa. More on that in future news. The Conference included a field visit to a local soap-making start-up which some delegates considered the highlight for learning. We also went on a social walk, joined in games and shared our stories.
One delegate who travelled the furthest distance from Juba in Sudan found that after the conference she could not return to Juba because of the outbreak of fighting there. She remained in Uganda for some days before going back. But at the same time Sudanese refugees were fleeing from that area.
3. Uganda Networks launched by the Uganda High Commissioner
The Uganda Networks website was formally launched in London by Her Excellency Professor Joyce Kikafunda, the Uganda High Commissioner.
The aim of Uganda Networks is to strengthen partnerships which exist between Uganda and the UK (plus the rest of the world). Afrinspire has been a key player in developing the website, which brings together charities,organisations and
individuals, with an interest in tackling development issues in Uganda.
The event was a great success, with 70 attendees using the opportunity to network face-to-face. We are pleased that the value of this initiative has been recognised by the High Commissioner.
4. The plight of the Sudanese
One of our major partners in the New South Sudan is John Noah Komi. John and Edina his wife are living and staying in Yei which is just inside the border at the Southern edge of new Sudan. John recently travelled to Arua by Eagle Air because "travelling by road is very risky as on all roads of South Sudan gunmen attack, kill and rob
people on the way."Some of the people from Yei have fled to Rhino Camp in Arua. John is keep track of these people as well as trying to settle some Sudanese children into school in Arua for the new term.
This week John writes, "I managed to visit Nyumaji and Pairinya Refugee Camps in Adjumani District. Uganda is hosting more than ninety four thousand (94,000) SouthSudanese refugees and more are still coming. The refugee situation is alarming, especially with children and women sleeping under open tents.
I visited the people of three churches there and one orphanage. I am requesting you to talk to anyone willing to contribute offerings to buy some relief items like soap, salt and other basic items especially to give to elderly women who could not afford to buy it in Yei town
My Son Simon and his wife Lily and those living with them have come from Juba and arrived to Bidibidi Refugee Camp yesterday. They are now in transit camp until they are given a plot."
Bidibidi camp is in Yambe in Northern Uganda, about 140 kilometrers from the Sudan border, currently with four thousand refugees but with the Uganda government panning to increase it to 100,000.
Whilst the Ugandan government and big aid agencies (UNHCR, World Food Programme, World Vision) are active in providing emergency aid to these refugees, Afrinspire is keeping track of people we know who are now in these camps.
As John Noah Komi says "People will remain in the camps until the war is over which I know it will take long time." He also adds, "We will continue rendering developmental and spiritual service to our remaining people in Yei and those who have crossed over into Uganda."
Afrinspire has over the past few years supported the establishing of small rural farms in Sudan. What has happened to these?
John writes, "According to the World Food Programme about four million people in South Sudan will be food insecure and will face starvation and famine. Currently there is massive displacement of people because of the recent July fighting in Juba and other towns. Thousands of people live in UN protection camps. Thousands have crossed to the neighboring countries like Uganda, Kenya, Ethopia etc.
Because of insecurity on the roads there is no food iterms and non food iterms entering most towns from the neighbouring countries. The little food that is seen in the markets or shops is extremely expensive for a common person to afford buying. This is the situation that people live in.
However we thank God that the small scale farm groups supported by Afrinspire and other agricultural organizations in Yei are food secure they have food to feed their families. We believe and have hope that this fight in South Sudan will come to an end soon or later, but hunger will kill many people if the international community will not resume providing relief items."
John sent photos of one of the farm groups harvesting their crops and wrote, "We also request that Afrinspire support more farm groups next year"