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Uganda

  • Written by World and Media / IRIN so/kr/rz

Cheating? Use a condom - new campaign takes blunt approach to Uganda's AIDS ABC

AIDS Healthcare Foundation 'Uganda cares' campaign poster with the image of a broken heart and the messages 'Cheating? Use a condom' and 'Cheated on? Get tested'. Photo: Samuel Okiror/IRIN.Getting your AIDS message right is not always easy as US NGO, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has been discovering. On Friday, 18 January, Mrs. Janet Kataha Museveni, First Lady of Uganda was the Guest of Honour at the opening of its newest "Uganda cares" health care centre in Lukaya. The new centre is unusual in having an attached commercial and residential complex which is intended to finance the centre as well and to support the local economy. Supporters of the complex held posters which focused primarily on using condoms and getting tested. Using condoms is the "C" in Uganda's ABC campaign. Abstinence and being faithful are "A" and "B".

However, on Wednesday (January 23) IRIN reported that a new "Uganda cares" campaign is causing controversy because of how it bluntly focuses on condoms when an individual is neither abstaining or being faithful, in other words when they are cheating. AHF seems unfazed by the reaction: it tweeted a link to the story noting that its campaign is "making waves". Read the IRIN story below. - World and Media

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[KAMPALA] A new Ugandan HIV-prevention campaign that frankly addresses sexual infidelity is generating heated debate over the direction the country's HIV strategy should take.

Billboards erected in various parts of the capital, Kampala, by Uganda Cares - a programme of the US NGO AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) - bear the image of a broken heart and the lines "Cheating? Use a condom" and "Cheated on? Get tested".

The campaign aims to address the growing vulnerability to HIV of couples in long-term relationships. Studies show that some 43 percent of new HIV infections in Uganda occur in such unions.

  • Written by Niamh Griffin

Irish Aid working to reduce conflict in Karamoja

Agnes Ocitti works on social justice issues in the Irish Aid offices in Kampala, Uganda. Irish Aid’s work in Uganda has been concentrated in an part of the country that has seen reduced conflict over the last five years.Reduced conflict in the east of Uganda, a key programme area for Irish Aid, is opening the way for more investment.

A recent study by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) found conflict between pastoral groups in the Karamoja Cluster has reduced over the last five years.

This area covers north-eastern Uganda, and also the cross-border region with Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia. On-going violence linked to cattle-raiding had caused internal migration and prevented the region from developing in line with other areas of Uganda.

This is exacerbated by natural disasters as the region is also prone to heavy flooding and drought.

The Karamoja region is where Irish Aid’s work in Uganda is concentrated. When I visited their office in Kampala, head of development Keith Gristock told me they had decided to focus on certain areas.

  • Written by Niamh Griffin

Uganda: School for Surgeons website compensates for shortage of instructors

Dr Kintu Luwago reading the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland website, Mulago, September 2012. Photo: Daudi Ssebaggala.A surgical consultant stands under a tree in a dusty courtyard, teaching a group of surgeons from a wobbly whiteboard. It’s dusty but less suffocating than the tiny room they had been in.

Dermot O’Flynn says this was the moment when he really understood what’s needed to bring the East African surgical system up to scratch – you need to go the extra mile, he says.

‘We go there voluntarily; we come in and do this kind of training. It’s ‘training the trainers’ really. These people we are training are the future of the health services,’ says the director of professional development at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI).

Mr O’Flynn is part of collaboration between the RCSI and the College of Surgeons in East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA). The African association covers nine countries including Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

This began because the president of the African group in 2007, Prof Krikor Erzingatsian, had trained in Dublin. When his friend Prof Gerry O’Sullivan became head of the Irish group in the same year, they came together to launch training programmes.

  • Written by Niamh Griffin

Uganda fraud: aid presents risks for both donors and recipients

Dr Jane Fualal supervises surgery at Mulago Hospital, Uganda. Royal College of Surgeons Ireland have worked with the College of Surgeons in East, Central and Southern Africa since 2007. However, it is unclear what impact the recent relevation of fraud in Uganda will have on the Irish Aid-funded programme's work in Uganda in 2013. Photo: Daudi Ssebaggala.Development and corruption are issues many in the aid world prefer keep separate, but recently Irish development work in Uganda has become embroiled in controversy.

Less than a month ago, an internal Ugandan investigation revealed €4 million of Irish Aid funds had been diverted from its destination. The Irish government suspended delivery of any further aid pending investigation.

On receipt of a further report carried out by Irish and Ugandan officials, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said this suspension to the East African country remains in place.

He described the fraud as “very sophisticated, well-thought-out, involving a high level of collusion at a senior level”.

Where does this leave projects already working in Uganda? Uncomfortable says Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) aid manager, Eric O’Flynn.

RCSI have worked with the College of Surgeons in East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) since 2007 offering financial and academic support. In the last two years they have developed an online training programme through a website, SchoolforSurgeons.net.

Projects also include much-needed professional development through courses or seminars, he says.

Funding for these programmes typically runs in three-year cycles, the current surgery programme receives €500,000 per year.

‘It is important to underline funding from Irish Aid goes in many directions. Our funding and that of any NGO is ring-fenced for very specific things. We are very well audited,’ he says.

Mr O’Flynn says corruption is a reality, but adds ‘it would be a shame’ for Irish people to think that all aid is somehow tainted. At the time of writing it is unclear whether funding for 2013 projects will be forthcoming.

  • Written by World and Media

Office of Ugandan PM alleged to have defrauded European donors - Ireland suspends bilateral aid

Funding received from Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark was transferred to unauthorised accounts of the Ugandan Office of the Prime Minister, it has been alleged.Ireland has suspended all aid channelled through the Ugandan Government, the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime-Minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore said today. He also announced an immediate investigation into allegations of fraud.

The announcements were made in response to the release of draft report of an investigation carried out by the Auditor General of Uganda, John Muwanga, into the handling of aid funds by the Office of the Prime Minister.

According to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr Muwanga's draft report, which has just been made available to donors, finds that there has been significant financial mismanagement in relation to the Peace Recovery and Development Programme for Northern Uganda.

The Auditor General has found that funding received from Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark to support the rebuilding programme was transferred to unauthorised accounts of the Office of the Prime Minister – up to €4 million of the funds were Irish Aid funds provided last year.

Uganda has also been in the spotlight this month following UN allegations that since April, along with Rwanda, it has been backing rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In February, a bill calling for life in prison for homosexual offences was tabled before Uganda's parliament by MP David Bahati. Uganda's government has defended its right to debate the draft bill but said it did not have official backing. It currently appears to be stalled at committee level.

An earlier version of the legislation had called for the death penalty. Several countries, said that aid would be withheld if it had passed. Britain said it would slash aid to countries that persecute homosexuals.

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