Hundreds of Ugandan students march for Chibok girls and Garissa victims
On April 15, we had a successful event that was dedicated to the missing 219 Chibok school girls and the victims of the Garissa University College attack in Kenya. The event was held at Makerere University Business School (MUBS) located in Nakawa-Kampala.
As global youth citizens, we could not forget the one-year anniversary since the awful abduction of the 276 Chibok school girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram, even though 57 were able to escape. The recent horrific killing of 147 Garrisa University students in our neighboring country Kenya by the Al Shabaab militants was another saga we had to remember on the same day.
The event gathered about 350 students and some Non-Governmental Organisations, namely; Global Youth Act Now (GYAN), where I am the founder and the Executive Director, Foundation of Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) and The Yearning Voices Foundation and Lions Club.
In the morning, we had presentations and discussions on the right to education, awareness of the #UpForSchool Petition, the objectives of A World at School (AWAS) and youth rights. My presentation basically concentrated on why I had to organise the solidarity march, the global education crisis, barriers to Uganda’s education system and launching of the petition.
Uganda’s Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme is less funded by the government. Each child on that programme receives about $2.80 (7200 Ugandan Shillings) annually. A year has three terms and if the $2.80 is disseminated, it implies that each child receives 93 cents (2426 Ugandan Shillings).
In the UPE program in Uganda, 1.7 million children are not counted for by the government and there are many other challenges that need all stakeholders – parents, teachers and government – to act now.
Edward Obora, the Chief Guest, who is on the Board of Directors at FHRI, acknowledged me for organising the event, founding GYAN and the invaluable work I am doing as a youth leader and a Global Youth Ambassador at AWAS. He further invited me to his office for a meeting on how we can partner and work together in future.
Edward signed the petition followed by Moses Muhwezi (MUBS Deputy Principal), Zaid Mpaata (lecturer and patron, Human Rights Club MUBS), Don Patrick Bugingo (MUBS Guild President )and the students community. By the end of the event, 337 signatures were collected.
The concluding part of the event was the solidarity march in the afternoon led by the Chief Guest. I marched with students through the streets of Nakawa town – Kampala denouncing militant actions while carrying placards reading: “Bring Back Our Girls”, “No child should fear for their safety”, “#365DAYS Chibok – We Will Not Forget”, “Let peace reign”, “An attack on students in Kenya is a direct attack on all students globally”.
It was a two-in-one march whereby one side of the placards has messages about the #ChibokGirls and the other side about the #GarissaAttack. The event also was covered by the New Vision newspaper.
I appreciate the enthusiasm spirit of togetherness the students of MUBS showed on this historic event. Our message was clear and it was successfully passed on to the public. As a youth leader, I strongly believe that for the right of education to be meaningful to all children, education should always be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable.