In the year 2001, the First Lady, was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for Safe Motherhood. She has had several meetings with women leaders, religious and cultural leaders on how to confront the maternal mortality rate which is extremely high, at 505/100,000. Sensitization so far has been carried out in the districts of Kamuli, Mpigi, Masindi, Mbale and Iganga districts by her representatives such as Professor Mirembe and Dr. Beyeza.
The Safe Motherhood program has also so far supported three youth Conferences organized by the Uganda Youth Forum ~here sensitization against HIV/AIDS, adolescent pregnancies was carried out. As an input for the safe motherhood campaign, fundraising was also carried out for Kamion Health Centre, Kotido district. The lady golfers under their captain, Mrs. Jolly Karemera, raised 10,430,000 shillings. There was also a pledge from the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund led by Dr. Opio, to provide additional funds for its completion. Right now women have been mobilized and have so far produced 30,000 bricks for the health centre.
In 2003, we obtained funds for the HIV/AIDS Campaign Project from Pfizer for Rakai, Masaka and Mbarara districts. Campaigns have been carried out in schools and films shown in various trading centres. The First Lady herself has spearheaded a campaign of abstinence. "True love waits" cards were distributed during and after her campaign in Sanga subcounty. Details are available in quaterly reports.
Nutrition and Agriculture:
This year 2004, we have funding from UPHOLD for a nutrition project in Mbarara and Rakai districts. Initially, the program will be implemented in two subcounties, namely Nyakashashara and Lyantonde Rural subcounties. So far an office has been set up in Lyantonde town with four project officers. They will carry out growth promotion activities such as weighing of children, demonstration of cooking methods and nutritious foods, deworming, distribution of vitamin A capsules and regular home visits to check on sanitation. A total of 57 family care workers have been trained and food demonstration gardens prepared. Eight rain harvesting tanks have also been set up at various schools in the subcounties. We thank Dr. Jessica Kafuko, Mrs. Louise Serunjoji, Dr. Megere and Professor Kakitahi for their advisory role in developing the proposal.
We have also obtained funds from ACDI-VOCA for an agriculture program in Busia district. This project will be implemented in the subcounties of Masaba, Masafu and Bulumbi for two years by promoting commercially oriented production of maize, beans, cassava and adoption of improved agricultural practices. The main activities have been training in agronomy, building demonstration cribs and establishment of vegetable nursery beds. Farmers are also encouraged to create a savings culture. The farmers have already obtained seeds and a seed cleaner has been purchased to ensure quality production at harvest time.
This year we obtained funds for another agricultural program-morulinga agriculture and environment project in Moroto district. The project promotes improved farming and effective land conservation methods. The project encourages an alternative source of income by setting up bee-keeping, access to safe water and overall training of the beneficiaries to manage the project. This project is implemented in collaboration with the First Lady's office. A tractor has already been acquired to start the work.
Another project is being implemented in two subcounties namely: Kamion and Kabong sub counties Kotido district. The project targets 100 households by equipping them with knowledge and skills in modern bee-keeping and marketing. It also promotes natural resource management by encouraging communities to establish nursery beds and planting a variety of trees. There is also promotion of peace building and co-existence of the different ethnic groups.
Behind all these successes are challenges for the Secretariat. We thank the staff for their hard work, team work and regular prayers. The Secretariat several times has survived on a small budget, sometimes without salaries, for all this work but we thank God that we have achieved most of our objectives. Daily reading of God's word has increased our faith for success and over the years, with the Board's guidance as well, we have experienced God's miracles at work. We thank His Excellency the President and the First Lady who have rescued us when big challenges come up.