- Focus areas of our work
- How we work
- Countries we work in
- Examples and results
- The organisation
The brief story
The short story of Democracy as a Way of Life
At the MS Uganda 1999 annual meeting, MS partners discussed the difficulties of understanding and practising democracy within their organizations. It was then decided that an easy understandable handbook on the principles of democracy be made.
First materiale launched in 2002
A handbook with the message that democracy was not only for the government, but ‘a way of life’ for everybody was made. Initially 5000 handbooks were printed.
In 2001 MS Uganda approached the Tanzanian cartoonist Sammy Mwamkinga to create a cartoon version of the handbook, and later on posters were developed. By 2002, MS Uganda could begin to distribute 10,000 cartoon books and 10,000 posters. The material was officially launched in 2002 at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala by the former Ugandan President Godfrey Binaisa. Initially the target group for the handbooks etc. were the MS partners themselves, but others showed great interest and by 2004 the stock was empty.
The target group expand
The potential of the democracy material were now obvious. And not only for MS partners but for at much broader target group. The MS Uganda Policy Advisory Board approved to expand the target group to include Primary Schools and Secondary Schools, Local Governments, Civil Society Organisations and Functional Adult Literacy groups. A team headed by MS Uganda's Program Officer Japhes Biimbwa was established to revise the existing material and develop new material meant for the new target groups. The core members of the democracy team is consultant Rita Popo, consultant Alex Jurua and development worker Mie Hersted. But they are by far working alone.
New development i 2005
The National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) invited MS Uganda in 2005 to contribute to the review of the Primary School curriculum. With effect from 2007, the thematic curriculum of lower primary classes (P1-P3) will mainstream democracy as a way of life. MS Uganda has futhermore been invited to contribute to the review of the secondary curriculum. Also Uganda’s Local Government Association (ULGA) and Ministry of Local Government, (MoLG) have asked MS Uganda to develop manuals on democracy and human rights for the local government trainers. The manuels will be included in the training modules of MoLG.
In February 2006 a lorry full of newly revised democracy posters were seized by the Uganda Revenue Authorities on the way from Tanzania to Uganda. The posters were mistakenly perceived as election posters meant for the 2006 election, which was Uganda's first multi-party election in more than 20 years. MS Uganda was accused of acting in a ‘subterranean’ manner. On January 14th MS Uganda released a press statement saying that the posters were meant for civic education not for the purpose of the election, and that MS refrained from distributing any of the material before the election.
Relaunched in 2006
While the political tense situation somehow easied during the spring of 2006, the democracy team continued working in close collaboration with the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), Uganda’s Local Government Association (ULGA) and Ministry of Local Government, (MoLG) on developing the democracy material. And by September 14th the new series of democracy material "Democracry as a way of life" were ready to be launched at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala. More than 400 people participated in the event, including MPs, representatives from the local authorities, civil society organisations, the media and MS partners. The Danish Embassador Stig Barlyng undertook the official launching of the material accompanied by the cartoonist Sammy Mwamkinga. MS Uganda and the National Curriculum Development Centre were co-hosts of the launch.
MS Uganda will in 2007 continue developing the democracy project.