French gov’t to construct modern sport facilities for Uganda public schools

By Robert Ssegawa

French government has pledged to construct modern sports facilities for several government primary schools across the country in a move aimed at improving pupils’ talents.

This was disclosed by French ambassador to Uganda Madame Stephanie Rivoal while handing over all weather court facilities at Kibuli Police children Primary school and Nakivubo blue Primary schools wort 30,000 US Dollars to the acting director KCCA Sam Sserunkuma.

 

 

Ambassador Rivoal says this was part of the France –Uganda friendship tokens adding that French government will construct two more modern play grounds in different schools in Kampala next year.

 

 

 

 

KCCA acting Director Sam Serunkuma noted that the authority has put in its budget sports funds in the next financial year in order to improve and nurture sports talents in its schools. The money used to construct the weather courts was raised during the French Uganda week 2018.

 

 

Survival pushing Kenyan women into mining toxic mercury

Scorching sun beats down on half a dozen women as they carry large sacks of crushed ore on their backs at the Osiri-Matanda gold mine near Kenya’s border with Tanzania.On wooden tables, they sieve the powdered ore into metal pans, add mercury, and heat the mixture over a charcoal fire.

The air fills with fumes as the liquid metal evaporates – leaving behind a lump of gold.

The women complain the work is hard, hours long and wages meager. But the job brings bigger concerns: exposure to toxic mercury could be killing them.

“Many women here know the risk,” said Eunice Atieno, 40, dumping a sack by the side of her table at the mine in Kenya’s southwestern Migori county.

“But we do not know what else to do for a living if we stop working here,” she said, describing health problems, such as weight loss, body weakness and trembling hands, which she has experienced after a decade working in the mines.

Atieno is one of more than 1,000 women across 25 countries including Kenya, Myanmar and Indonesia, whose hair samples were tested for mercury by IPEN, a Stockholm-based network of charities focusing on health and environment.

IPEN found that more than 40 percent of those tested, including Atieno, had mercury levels greater than 1 part per million — exceeding the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s safe exposure level.

High mercury levels can damage the nervous, digestive and immune systems and poison the lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes, says the World Health Organization. Pregnant women also risk giving birth to babies with congenital diseases.

Kenya’s 2016 mining act outlaws the use of mercury.

But there are no easily available alternatives and many of its 250,000 small-scale gold miners – mostly in western Kenya around Lake Victoria – are unaware of the risks or too poor to care, campaigners say.

“Health workers and government officials should be resourced to conduct workshops among women involved in small-scale gold mining to explain the toxicity of mercury to women and the unborn children,” said IPEN’s researcher Lee Bell.

“They should also assess them for mercury intoxication and provide appropriate healthcare, demonstrate how they can minimize their exposure to mercury in the short-term and work with them to implement non-mercury gold extraction techniques.”

Health Risks

About 20 percent of the world’s gold comes from small-scale mines, which employ up to 15 million people, including 5 million women and children, the United Nations says.

Mercury has been used to extract gold for centuries. It is inexpensive and simple – often allowing miners to produce gold in a single day.

Developed nations have adopted cleaner, safer alternatives for extracting gold, and enforced strict rules on mercury use.

But poor countries lag behind. Government officials, mine operators and workers often ignore the health risks of mercury exposure, citing a lack of capacity and expertise to better protect workers, experts say.

“We still do not have an alternative even though we are supposed to phase out the use of mercury,” said Bismarck Onyando, owner of the Osiri-Matanda mine.

The only other way of separating gold from sand in Kenya is to use sodium cyanide, which can kill instantly, he said.

Beatrice Ondieki, 29, had been working at the Osiri-Matanda mine for just over a year when her family noticed she was ill.

First, her hands began to shake uncontrollably. Then she started stammering. When she began to have difficulty walking, her brother suspected her symptoms were linked to mercury.

“She was found to have high levels of mercury in her blood and the doctor commenced her treatment, giving her some tablets to reduce the mercury,” said her brother Stephen Ondieki.

“She got better initially, but the side effects of the medication have caused her to have severe stomach pains and she now stopped the treatment and is at home in bed. The family is trying raise enough money to admit her to hospital.”

Another Way

In August, the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty to reduce the use of mercury, came into force. Ratifying countries must develop plans to eliminate harmful mercury use, promote mercury-free mining and improve miners’ health.

While almost 130 nations signed the agreement, about 40 – including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – have not ratified it.

Kenyan officials say they are committed to the convention.

“We plan to phase out mercury, but first we are working on registering the miners, hopefully within three years,” said Raymond Odanga, inspector of mines for Migori County.

“Then it will be much easier to deal with the mercury issue.

Currently the miners are still using it. Getting them to change to other methods will take some time,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The United Nations Environment Program and the Global Environment Facility, which provides grants, launched a project last year to finance and promote safer gold extraction technologies in eight countries, including Kenya.

Atieno – who started a support group for women miners after discovering the toll mercury is taking on their health – says it needs to act quickly.

“We depend on this job to put food on the table. But we are at a risk and cannot wait until we die from mercury exposure,” she said, as the vapors rose into the air. “We appeal to authorities to give us another way to extract gold without having to use mercury.”

~VOA

The Dirt: Dwyne opens up on his secret battle with depression

Wrestler turned actor Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) talked about his secret battle with depression in an interview with The Express one month after he recalled on Instagram how he had saved his mother from a  suicide attempt. “Struggle and pain is real. I was devastated and depressed. I reached a point where I didn’t want to do a thing or go anywhere. I was crying constantly,” Dwayne Johnson said. A fan recently told Dawyne Johnson that he’s battling depression and the Fast And Furious actor replied: “I hear you. I’ve battled that beast more than once.”

In February, while shooting for the upcoming season of television series Ballers, Dwayne Johnson talked about the day when his mother tried to commit suicide. Dawyne was all of 15 and they were evicted from their apartment, he shared on Instagram. “She got out of the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic. Big rigs and cars swerving out of the way not to hit her. I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road. What’s crazy about that suicide attempt is to this day, she has no recollection of it whatsoever. Probably best she doesn’t,” he wrote.


~NDTV

The Big Wedding experience: God chose capital FM to turn our dream into a reality #TheBigW2017

By Cathy Amanya
It’s a moment I will never forget! Every day, I reminisce the magical moments of that date.
It was that moment that I always dreamt of, walking down the aisle with the man of my dreams Gordon Amanya; the only one who ever stole my heart.
A year after Gordon and l had lost our first born there was a brief separation but the love we had for each other surpassed everything, so we made up.
Gordon heard the big wedding promo on capital FM and he applied, followed all procedures and through voting by capital FM fans, we made it to the top twenty , then to the top ten and finally to the top five. That was the peak of the competition. We started soliciting for votes from workmates, family and friends and well-wishers. It came to a point where we would approach strangers, and request them to vote for us.
We bought airtime of all networks, our well-wishers influenced other people and even bought for them airtime, our bosses campaigned. We used almost all avenues to ensure we won the big wedding because indeed there was no way we would have one since Gordon didn’t have enough money yet he wanted to give me the best wedding. We could not cohabit because I come from a staunch Christian family and there was no way my parents would ever allow that.
Gordon told me how he prayed and fasted to have that happen.
On the D- day, I was in Nakasongola in my room half dead wondering what would befall us if we lost. At 9.00am, l should have been at office but l was too nervous to make it but good enough my supervisor knew what l was going through. I went about my room glancing at my phone every second, listening to capital FM and behold after many minutes of waiting, my phone rung, it was Marcus and Jackie. At the time, tears were flowing, my heart pumping like never before.
The big announcement was made. The big miracle happened- “Jesus turned water into wine”- it’s the best way l can explain it. The votes were authentically counted, and it was Gordon and Cathy leading!
I screamed and everyone in the neighborhood ran to me as if to rescue me but they found a teary happy woman with no explanation to give them such miracles are hard to explain. We always say God chose capital FM to turn our dream into a reality. The wedding had to happen within one week with everything from the dressing, salon, transport, reception etc to be catered for by Capital FM and its partners. Therefore our simple duty was, to choose and agree with the church of our choice and appear for the day.
To cut the long story short, time for the wedding reached. We had mobilized relatives and friends. Everyone was excited. The entire entourage was picked very early in the morning by Jackie Lumbasi and other capital FM staff for salon where a team of stylists was waiting for us. They did their work perfectly and we looked angelic!
A few hours later, we left the salon and entered the bridal cars. It was our first time to sit in a limousine. Sincerely, the whole look was heavenly. We smiled from ear to ear all the time as they cruised us around town in a rare motorcade. Miracles happen indeed. It seemed unbelievable. Later, we arrived at All Saints Church where we found our parents, relatives, friends, and clergy waiting for us. After a wonderful sermon, we exchanged our vows, a moment everyone had waited for. We then moved out and traversed serene places for videography and photography. We were over joyed. Time for the ceremony reached and we proceeded to Seven Hills in Kololo ( the reception venue). I could not believe my eyes, when l got out of the car. In my life I have not seen that kind of decoration and arrangement. The word BIG made sense on that day, because the scene was perfectly beautiful.
We danced through the welcome music as everyone else joined, sat in our well decorated chairs. Gagamel group and other outstanding artistes entertained us. Our guests were treated to a sumptuous dinner, speeches were made and they never seemed to end. Later, we received a land title from Zion Estates, a honey moon package and ticket to Nairobi. We danced the night away and later went to our hotel Le Petit Village!
Whoever attended that party has never forgotten what happened. The memory of the big wedding is a glue that keeps Gordon and l together through the highs and the lows of marriage. We are blessed with two girls- Shantelle and Melissa and doing many more things together. Indeed, only death shall do us part. We shall never disappoint God and the loyal fans of capital FM. Long live the Big wedding, long live capital FM. We had the best wedding at Zero cost. Thank you Capital FM!

Matooke, a big part of Uganda’s culinary celebration

By Annah Nafula

There is a common joke about the baganda is;a muganda will out rightly say a meal without matooke is not food it doesnt matter how heavy.

That explains the value attached to matooke in most  western, central and eastern parts of Uganda. The food is highly celebratory as it is served at all special functions in these parts of the country.

In the past owning a huge plantation of matooke was prestigious and equally amounted to being wealthy. Having and maintaining this annual crop takes some real attention.

The tasteless berry is commonly peeled, wrapped in banana leaves, smashed and simmered; usually enjoyed with stews commonly groundnut stew.

There are different types of matooke preparation  and the common ones include;

Katogo;

Katogo is a mixture of foods and ingredients to create just one dish. The most common katogo served in Ugandan restaurants and homes is the matooke and tripe/meat/gnuts/beans. In this, vegetables and spices are added. The scrumptious dish is usually served for breakfast across the country.

tooke

Steamed Matooke;

Steamed matooke is usually cooked at ceremonies and usual family meals. The intricacy in preparing this particular type of matooke is what makes it a distinct dish. The matooke is carefully peeled, washed, wrapped carefully in banana leaves, smashed and simmered. The longer the dish is simmered on low heat the better. The ready matooke is usually enjoyed with stews like beef, groundnut, beans, peas depending on what is available.

Roasted matooke/mpogola;

This is a common meal at Uganda berbeques. The roasted matooke is usually raosted alongside meats. It is a meal usually enjoyed with roasted beef, pork, chicken usually topped with a very nice well seasoned kacumbari or avocado.

Banana cake;

Ripe matooke is usually very sweet and can be perfect for use in a banana cake. The aroma of this cake is as irresistible.

toke

 

Kabalagala ; A Ugandan snack that sparks sweet childhood memories among Ugandans

By Annah Nafula

A friend once told me that she can tell someone’s age by hearing how fondly they speak about kabalagala.  A delicacy that is increasingly becoming rare sparks sweet childhood memories amongst most Ugandans who were born in the 90s and below.

Thinking back, a lot of memories are attached to this delicacy right here. And since we have already dubbed the Rolex as the nation’s ultimate power street  food/snack, I thought it only fair to give these sweet banana pancakes the spotlight too.

Because lets be honest: Who does not love pancakes? They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, supper and as a snack too. And what not a better way to have them with a favourite drink/beverage? Ultimate dessert it is!’

Kabalagala as they are widely known in Uganda are pan cakes that are made out of cassava flour and very ripe sweet bananas. After the mix is completely mixed the pan cakes are deep fried. The aroma from the ready pancakes is tempting.

Over time the taste of the pancakes have been improved over time as cooks in the country have become more creative and tastes and preferences keep changing. Most people now no longer use the traditional small sweet bananas known as “ndinzi” in Luganda and have opted for cheaper options like ripe matooke and Bogoya. Some cooks now add pepper.

However you love it, the pancakes still remain one of the most affordable snack on Uganda market and sparks a memory in many of Ugandans’ memories.

 

 

 

 

-Additional information from  This is Uganda

 

Watch your children carefully to know what social skills they haven’t learnt #BestStartinLife

Not all kids need help with the same social skills, and what your child needs practice with could vary, depending on her age. “It’s important to know the normal developmental skills appropriate for different age groups so you can determine where the help is needed,” says Susan Diamond, M.A., a speech-language pathologist and author of Social Rules for Kids. The proper social skills that need to be taught can be divided into three stages: determining the social skills that need development, figuring out ways to teach the skills, and reinforcing lessons with the right resources. We’ll take you through all three stages and offer examples on how a child struggling with general shyness and social anxiety can become a friendly kid who’s comfortable and ready to handle any social situations.

Determining the Stages of Social Development

In general, kids will have developed certain social skills and social cues by these ages:

2- to 3-year-olds: able to seek attention from others, initiate social contact with others both verbally (saying “Hi” and “Bye”) and physically, look at a person who’s talking, have the ability to take turns talking, and laugh at silly objects and events.

3- to 4-year-olds: are able to take turns when playing games, treat a doll or stuffed animal as though it’s alive, and initiate verbal communication with actual words.

4- to 5-year-olds: are able to show more cooperation with children, use direct requests (like “Stop”), are more prone to tattling, and pretend to be Mom or Dad in fantasy play.

5- to 6-year-olds: are able to please their friends, say “I’m sorry,” “Please,” and “Thank you,” understand bad words and potty language, are more strategic in bargaining, play competitive games, and understand fair play and good sportsmanship.

6- to 7-year-olds: are able to empathize with others (like crying at sad things), are prone to sharing, use posture and gestures, wait for turns and are better losers and less likely to place blame, joke more and listen to others tell their points of view, and maintain and shift/end topics appropriately. At this age, however, they still can’t understand the clear difference between right and wrong, and may not take direction well.

Improving Social Development

Playdates are a crucial part of growing up, but kids with social issues can have a hard time making plans. “Having a playdate is a great way to introduce your child to the concept of using rules when a friend comes over and to teach him how to be polite to guests,” Diamond says. Discuss ahead of time any situation that could be uncomfortable. “Write a plan beforehand. Go over all the different things the kids can do together, and then have your kid offer his guest three activities to pick from. Have them take turns picking activities from there, to avoid fights and to help teach compromise,” Diamond says. “Talk about what you think will happen, what could possibly happen. You can even role-play and practice greetings and manners. If it’s necessary, write a script to help reduce your child’s stress.”

To enhance your child’s social development further, Lawrence Balter, Ph.D., child psychologist and parenting expert, suggests the four strategies below.

Teach empathy: Run through different scenarios by asking your child how other people might feel when certain things happen, and substitute different situations each time.

Explain personal space: Tell your child that it’s important for everyone to have some personal space to feel comfortable, and practice acceptable ways to interact with someone during playtime.

Practice social overtures: Teach kids the proper way to start a conversation, get someone’s attention, or join a group of kids who are already playing together. These are all situations that can be discussed and brainstormed at the dinner table, or in the car on the way to school or activities.

Go over taking turns: Sit with your child for at least an hour a day and play with him to explain what it means to wait, take turns, and share.

Reinforcing Specific Social Skills

Activities and games can provide additional help in developing specific skills, and you can reinforce your child’s social development and interaction by playing The Name Game and Follow the Leader. Researchers Sandra Sandy and Kathleen Cochran developed The Name Game to help young children learn the importance of getting someone’s attention before speaking. Have kids sit in a circle and give one kid a ball. Ask him to name another child in the circle, and roll the ball to that child. The recipient then takes his turn, naming another child and rolling the ball, and so on. The classic Follow the Leader game teaches kids about taking turns and practicing patience. Designate either yourself or your child as the leader, and have the follower(s) mimic the leader’s actions.

Dr. Diamond recommends these other activities for recognizing particular social cues:

For nonverbal skills: Help kids recognize facial expressions and body language by watching kid-friendly TV shows with the sound off and observe what characters are doing and what certain movements might mean. (Just make sure to follow the media guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests that kids watch TV for a maximum of two hours a day.) “Predict what you think they’re saying, and really start [observing] facial gestures,” Diamond says. “You can also look through magazines and make collages with different facial expressions, and talk about what the people in those photos might be saying.”

For tone: To help kids differentiate a range of tones, “use a tape recorder and record different emotions in your voice and ask your child what they are, then explain how meaning changes with voice change,” Diamond recommends. For example, try recording phrases like “I’m angry!” in a loud, empathic voice, and “I feel so sad” in a soft, low, dejected voice.

For attention span If your child has trouble staying on point, pick a topic and say three sentences — two related to the topic and one random. Then ask your child to pick the sentence that’s off-topic. For example, bring up the family dog. Talk about how long he played outside today and what he did at the dog park, and then say something about the weather. Ask your kid to differentiate between the different sentences. “Also, at the dinner table, have your kid keep track of how many times the topic changes during dinner,” Diamond suggests.

There are plenty of good apps available that reinforce social skills. “Model Me Going Places” allows kids to look at photos of other children modeling appropriate behavior in certain situations (the hairdresser, doctor, playground), “Responding Social Skills” teaches kids how to respond to others and how to understand others’ feelings, and “Small Talk” presents conversation fillers for awkward social moments. But if your child still seems to have difficulty keeping up with the skills she should be developing for her age group, it may be time to give her a little help. “Some children have problems with impulse control and self regulation; some have a problem with processing information,” Dr. Balter says. “These issues can lead to [kids] having awkward interactions with peers.” So if social issues cause your child fear or make him feel isolated, seek help from your pediatrician or another child expert, such as a therapist.

 

 

-Parents.com

Teaching children to save money will give them the #Beststartinlife

1. Use Different Envelopes/Jars
You may be familiar with the envelope budgeting system for your own money, but this can also work for children. On either envelopes or jars, have your child draw pictures of what he or she wants. You may also want to help your child understand that some items will take longer than others to save for.

For example, the short-term savings container might have a picture of a specific toy, while the long-term container might have a picture of a trip to Disneyland. Teach your child to set aside money for short-term and long-term goals, and have another container or envelope for spending on everyday items.

2. Make a Savings Goal Chart
Once you know what your child wants to save for, figure out how many weeks it will take and make a chart. You can represent each week with a box and your child can put a sticker in that box once the money from that week’s allowance is set aside.

We did this with my son, and he put a picture of the Transformer toy he wanted on the chart. We figured out how many weeks of allowance it would take to save up (after his long-term savings and church donations were taken out). Every time he received his allowance, he would divvy up his money and put a sticker in a square (he loved stickers at the time). This way, he could see himself getting closer and closer to his goal.

3. Offer Rewards for Saving Money
Consider rewarding your child for saving his or her money. Much like my credit union, which offers t-shirts and other prizes, you can offer prizes to your children.

For example, if your child doesn’t spend any money for a certain amount of time, provide a small reward or treat. You can also make the prizes better the longer your child saves. Try stickers, an extra 1/2 hour of video games, toys, or whatever motivates your child.

4. Set a Good Example
One of the best things you can do is let your child see that you save money too. Put money in a jar while your child is watching and tell him or her it’s your savings jar. This will show your child that saving is “normal.” Plus, since most young children want to be like their parents, seeing you do it will provide them with money lessons that further inspire them to save.

5. Match Your Child’s Contributions
A “savings match” can be a great way to encourage your child to save extra money and get an early peek at the benefits of a company match for a retirement savings program like the 401k. While we have a standard amount my son is required to set aside from his allowance, if he chooses to save more, we match it.

girl piggy bank

Helping Older Kids Practice Saving

As your child gets older, a goal chart may be less inspiring, and drawing pictures on an envelope tends to lose some of its charm. However, you can still set an example of saving and you can still match your child’s contributions. Plus, it’s always a good idea to have different envelopes, jars, or accounts for different purposes.

 

 

-Money crashers

Handwashing will save your toddlers from diseases and give them the #Beststartinlife

Teaching children about hand washing early in life is important. Hand washing prevents the spread of diseases which make children sick. When kids learn early in life, hand washing is more likely to become a habit they’ll practice for the rest of their lives.

Children are ready to learn about hand washing when they are still very young. Most children develop the ability to wash their hands independently by about three years of age. Before that you’ll need to help them wash their hands (or for babies and young toddlers, you might need to do it for them). After age three, your children will probably still need a bit of help.

But even when they know how to do it, kids don’t always take time out to wash their hands. You’ll almost certainly need to give them lots of encouragement and reminders. Kids don’t always enjoy washing their hands, partly because it means time out from more exciting things like playing. So the best strategy is to find ways to make hand washing part of the fun, rather than a distraction from their favourite activities.

Provide appropriate hand washing facilities

A good place to start is by ensuring that you have facilities that are appropriate for your child’s age. If the basin is too high for their little legs or the bar of soap too big for their little hands, your children will be less likely to wash their hands properly.

Teach children why hand washing is important

Children are more likely to wash their hands if they understand why it’s important. However because kids learn by using their senses (by touching, seeing, tasting, smelling and hearing) understanding why hands need to be washed can be difficult. The germs that need to be washed off hands can’t be seen, smelt or heard, so it’s little wonder young children have difficulty comprehending why they need to wash their hands.

Be a hand washing role model

Letting your children see you washing your own hands is one of the best things you can do to teach them about the importance of washing their own hands.

Encourage your children to wash their hands properly

Encouraging children and taking the time needed to reinforce positive hand washing behaviour is an important step in developing your child’s hand washing skills. Discuss hand washing rules, for example that they must use soap and running water.

Give clear hand washing instructions

When asking your child to wash their hands, give them clear instructions so they know exactly what you want them to do. For example you might mention things like standing on the stool so they can reach the tap, lathering with soap, and drying the hands when they’re done.

Make hand washing fun

There are many things you can do to make hand washing fun. For example you could:

  • Wash your hands with them.
  • Sing songs while you wash. It’s a good strategy to prevent your child rushing the process. Washing hands properly takes about the same length of time as it takes to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice, so use that as a guide. But you could sing a special hand washing song.
  • Count with them while they’re washing. You’ll be developing their mathematical skills and also helping them learn how long proper hand washing takes.
  • Use a chart which your child can mark off or put a star on each time they wash their hands.
  • Play a guessing game, for example ask your child to guess how many more times they’ll be able to wash their hands with the soap that’s left in the liquid soap dispenser.

 

~Parent Hub

Iryn Namubiru promises Fans a proper live music experience in upcoming show

By Annah Nafula

Singer Irene Namubiru says it took her sometime to get accustomed to singing along side a CD, a common practice on many Ugandan music shows. The singer intimated  to Flavia that her pride cost her because many events organizers did not understand the live band system.


“I missed a lot of money and shows because I always told people who booked me that I was waiting on my band from France. In France we always did live band music and that was how all shows were. I just couldn’t imagine going to perform and you end up simply miming your own songs.” ~Irene


The songstress later realized that it was the culture in Uganda and has since been able to accept invites to music shows.

However, Namubiru promises that at her show that has been dubbed one night only, she will be performing live and will concentrate more on singing and entertaining her fans. She further said that she will sing a proper set of 25 of her songs, she hinted on having guest performers.

Irene Namubiru’s show will be at Serena this Saturday,23rd December . Tickets are on sale at Serena. The Event’s host will be our very own, Flavia Tumusiime, host of the AM-PM show.