UECD Switzerland Newsletter

# 2 - 2014

Dear members, students, supporters, and friends,

This is the second newsletter of UECD Switzerland. It contains news on Uganda, our organization, and our students in Kampala.  Enjoy reading!

The UECD Board, Switzerland

News from Uganda

Headlines and Stories  

Anti-gay law: In August, Uganda's Constitutional Court has annulled tough anti-gay legislation signed into law in February. It ruled that the bill was passed in parliament without the requisite quorum and was therefore illegal. Several donors had cut aid to Uganda since the law was adopted. Yet this might not be the end of the story: Uganda now plans to introduce a new and even tougher anti-gay law. Even under current laws, homosexual acts are, as in many other African countries, illegal.

Ebola - Learn from Uganda: There have been five Ebola outbreaks in Uganda over the past 14 years; these have been quickly contained thanks to a combination of epidemiological luck and a well-coordinated response system operating at several levels of the health service. Given their experience in containing the virus, a team of Ugandan doctors and health workers was deployed by the World Health Organisation to provide medical support for an Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia.

Railway Kenya – Uganda – Rwanda – South Sudan: Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni recently launched the country's Standard Gauge Railway. It is part of the northern corridor intergration projects that include a new railway from Mombasa through Nairobi to Kampala, Kigali and Juba. The project is to a large degree funded by China. Freight transit times from Kampala to Mombasa are expected to be reduced from the current 14 days to one day after the railway is built.

Coffee from Uganda: Did you know that Uganda is Africa’s second-biggest coffee producer (after Ethiopia)? While most of the coffee is still exported as raw product to Europe, a number of initiatives are now aiming at processing the bean locally before it is exported. Andrew Rugasira’s “Good African Coffee”, which is sold in supermarkets in the US and Great Britain, is one of the most impressive examples. Yet even in Switzerland it is possible to buy locally processed coffee from Uganda: Check


The latest from the board in Switzerland 

New students – new sponsors: The UECD board in Uganda has accepted the applications of two new students: Kevin Angwech, who will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Art Education, and Patience Arinaitwe, who will study Social Work and Social Administration. Kevin’s and Patience’s biography can be read online.
Kevin is supported by the Marco Nahuel Charitable Trust. Susan will be supported by Philipp Herzog, who replaces Gianni Guidon as a sponsor. Patience is sponsored by Gisela Jakob Vincenz, a new UECD sponsor. Thank you for your support!

Robert Okware: Robert Okware, who had been supported by UECD for the past four years, has been excluded from UECD. The board of UECD Switzerland decided to terminate the contract with Robert due to a misuse of funds.

Workshop in Kampala in December: Doreen, one of the first students sponsored by UECD, is organizing a workshop for UECD’s students and board members in Kampala. The workshop, which will be held after Christmas, focuses on questions around intercultural diversity and seeks to support students in strengthening the relationship with their sponsors.

UECD event in Zurich: This Saturday (29/11/2014, 13:00h), Claude Herzog, a board member of UECD Switzerland, organizes a gathering for members and sponsors of UECD Switzerland in Zurich. The informal get-together will start with the screening of the documentary “God loves Uganda”, which explores connections between evangelicalism in North America and in Uganda, suggesting that the North American influence is the reason behind the controversial Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill (see movie trailer here). 

„Uganda is developing slowly but steadily“

Interview with Obed Rekyeraho

You recently finished your studies at the Law Development Center. Do you already have plans for the near future?
Yes, after graduation I want to enroll as an advocate of the High Court of Uganda. I want to start working and become independent and establish a family and marry.
Yet let me also seize this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to my sponsor, Hanspeter Spalinger. Without him I would not have come that far. He has been advising and encouraging me and he has become one of my best friends. Given the fact that I was among the privileged students who were supported, I am also enthusiastic to sponsor a UECD student in case there is an increase in my earnings.
What’s your responsibility as a board member of UECD Uganda?
I mentor Ampaire Florence and Angwech Susan. Moreover, I was assigned to take over the role of mentoring Kevin. Kevin is one of the new students of UECD. She studies at Kyambogo University.

Where do you see room for improvement regarding the functioning of UECD?
In my opinion, there is a need to improve the money transfer between sponsors and students. If possible, we should create a single bank account in Uganda for the whole organization. The appointed signatory to the account will then monitor the cash flow of money on that account and directly hand over the money to the students.

Uganda’s economic growth still doesn’t seem to translate into sustained poverty reduction. How can this be explained?
Uganda is still among the least developed countries in the world (see UNDP country page). Almost 50% of its budget is funded by donors. When various donors cut aid to Uganda due to the anti-gay law in early 2014, Uganda’s economy was heavily affected. Prices for some of the essential commodities rose up, and this had an effect on the situation of the poorest, especially in rural areas.
Besides, corruption is a major cause of poverty and the weak economy in Uganda. The money that is supposed to go into health, education, or infrastructure end up in the pockets of a few hungry, selfish and corrupt government shark officials.
Yet despite this difficulties, Uganda is developing slowly but steadily. Infrastructures like roads, electricity, and water have been put up – even in rural areas. This is something I believe to be a sign of development. The government has recently engaged in developing Uganda’s tourism and its energy sector. With the discovery of oil, it’s my belief that Uganda’s future is bright.
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