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CO-OPERATION: Get to know your neighbouring country programmes' partner organisations. This time Uganda on anti corruption, Tanzania on cashew nuts, and Kenya on healthy water
Government finally listens
TRANSPARENCY: Uganda is becoming less corrupt. The Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda has good reason to feel proud
By Shaban R. Sserunkuma
From third place in 2001 to 42nd place this year. Uganda is doing better on the international list of the world’s most corrupt countries. The Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), a MS Uganda partner organisation, has taken central stage among the advocacy groups devoted to rolling back the practices and effects of corruption.
From its Kampala office, ACCU organises, advises, and supports civil society organisations, institutions, and individuals in the joint fight against corruption.
The flagship activity of ACCU is the Anti Corruption Week held every year in October. It’s the climax of activities carried out throughout the year by members. Events take place in towns, districts, and in the capital: Public meetings with drama, music, and speeches. Radio programmes, processions, school debates, and dialogues with politicians at local and national level.
This year the week put spotlight on public tender. Timely, it seems: ACCU’s urging the politicians at all levels to stay out of the process coincided with the Ugandan ombudsman recommending that the Minister of Health is charged for having interfered with the National Medical Stores’ choice of supplier.
In 2003, the Anti Corruption Week featured the theme of ‘Access to Information’. Following ACCU’s advocacy campaign, a draft bill was tabled in parliament thus bringing this vital tool for fighting corruption and ensuring a transparent system of government one step closer.
Outsiders noted the tabling of the bill as a major achievement. ACCU itself has a different view.
“We note increased awareness and increased debate in call-in radio programmes and newspapers. That is our biggest achievement,” says ACCU co-ordinator Geoffrey Rwakabale.
Shaban R. Sserunkuma is a member of MS Uganda’s editorial group
CASHEW NUTS: A new MS-partner in Tanzania is trying to build capacity through in-come generating activities
By Michael Bech
So now MS is selling cashew nuts? Well – not quite so; but MS-Tanzania is boosting the new partner UVUKI in Kibaha to be able to find markets and new ways of selling the crop on a dwindling world market.
Income generating activities have never been the field for MS. But that trend is slowly changing as it is evident that the fight against poverty can also be led through strengthening enterprises in small communities and in that way benefit the workforce and local incomes.
“The marketing advisor from MS is helping us find the necessary market outside Tanzania. And he is building sustainable capacity in UVUKI, giving us more experience and finding new ways to get hold of materials,” says Moshi Mnaki, the director of UVUKI.
UVUKI is a joint marketing cooperative in Kibaha. It was formed in 2003 by four
Primary Agricultural Marketing Cooperatives Societies.
The main focus of the enterprise is to increase cashew nut production through the provision of reliable and profitable members. But it also aims at facilitating easy access to farm inputs to its members.
Before the cooperatives were formed, the individual farmers sold their produce through middle-men. A big percentage of the profit from farming went to the middle-men and farmers earned very little.
In UVUKI the profits for the middle-men are eliminated and the cashew nuts are sold directly to the final customer. With more profit for the community the cashew nut production increases and poverty in the district will be reduced.
Write to UVUKI on: PO Box 30880, Kibaha, or contact the organisation via MS Tanzania: email@example.com
Michael Bech is MS Tanzania's information officer
Water is life
FLOURIDE: An MS-partner in Kenya is providing good smiles – and they can only be supplied through safe water
By Dorthe Skovgaard Mortensen
The water programme of the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru (CDN) was established in 1985. Today the programme employs around 60 people and operates in several areas, the main being drilling of deep wells, construction of water schemes and tanks for harvesting rainwater.
While working on the water projects, it became evident to CDN that high levels of fluoride made the water unsafe for cooking and drinking.
The water from most of the boreholes in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province exceed the maximum of 1,5 milligram fluoride per litre of water that is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The high level of fluoride in the drinking water causes fluoride poisoning, resulting in a disease called fluorosis.
Fluorosis develops slowly while the skeleton and teeth absorb the fluoride. The symptoms are browning and chipping of the teeth and disturbed growth of the skeleton resulting in deformities. Once affected with fluorosis, there is no real cure.
The Catholic Diocese of Nakuru took the challenge of finding a way to bring the level of fluoride down to an acceptable level. Today they have developed a filter system using bonechar, which is a natural filter material from cow bones that absorbs the fluoride in the gravels, letting the fluoride free water flow from the filter.
The filters are provided at an affordable price to people and communities in the affected areas in central Rift Valley. But the successful project is in the process of expanding to new parts of Kenya where flouride is damaging people’s life and smile.
Contact The Catholic Diocese of Nakuru on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dorthe Skovgaard Mortensen is MS Kenya's information officer