Saturday, August 31, 2013

Are you in Nairobi? Connect with us

Are you in Nairobi and have passion for Permaculture, please connect with our Head of Programs Fatuma; she is attending a Teacher Training Program  with the Permacultue Research Institute. We believe the training will help improve on our food security programs in  Southwestern Uganda. 

Fatuma, GlobeMed @ASU and our staff helping build a house for an HIV/AIDS affected households

Activists warn Uganda on GMOs

By Michael Odeng

For Uganda to embrace Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is a recipe for disaster for the country, activists have cautioned.

GAIA Foundation International advocacy coordinator, Teresa Anderson, said that opening Uganda’s gates to GMOs will pose an irreversible health and environment risk to the country.

The American activist made the remarks during a workshop at Sanctum Apartment Hotel in Entebbe today Friday afternoon.

GMO plants or animals contain genes which have been artificially inserted. The highly contestable GMOs include living organisms such as seeds or plants that could alter native plants through cross-pollination.

“In a global perspective, GMOs in the country reduce agriculture productivity,” she said. She also said that the consumption of MGOs may cause side effects such as cancer and obesity.

Anderson also said that mining reduces agricultural productivity by 40% in a 20km area around the mine. “Miners dig 20 tonnes of earth and rock to get gold hence affecting agriculture.”

She added that about 1bn and 1.4bn people were hungry and obese respectively across the globe despite a surge in genetically modified (GM) crops.

“GMOs are not suitable for Uganda’s agricultural system because the country is dominated by small-scale farms and not the monstrous ones required for monoculture of GMOs.  It does not allow replanting and is expensive,” stressed Charles Olweny, VEDCO / FRA advocacy officer.

He said since GM seeds are patented by the producers, farmers will be yanked into cyclical poverty because they will have to continue buying seeds from the producers despite their small farms.

Olweny called for the shelving of the National Biosafety and Biotechnology bill on grounds that the current version was been pushed by GM seed corporate companies as a conduit to use it as a ploy to flood Uganda with GM products.

Uganda in 2008 passed a law on the use of GMs as the Biosafety and Biotechnology Act permits the use and cultivation of biotechnology crops facilitated by multinational seed companies. The Government has also embraced field trials for various GM crops.

The Government says the regulatory framework will address issues of safety in using biotechnology by providing measures to be taken to minimise risks to human health and environment arising from actual contact with GMOs.

Activists from VEDCO GAIA, NAPE, ABN, Food Rights Alliance (FRA) urged Ugandans to vehemently oppose the Bill since it has been drafted in the dark corridors without the input of the public. The Bill is awaiting the second reading in parliament.

“The Bill does not provide for labeling of GMO product thereby stifling informed consent. It does not establish risk management guidelines and schemes,” said Olweny.

In recent times, many countries across the globe have banned the use of GM foods because of the health implications associated with its use. They are Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and Ireland.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Uganda Government right to reject proposed HIV ‘prevention drug’

By Irene Nabusoba

On August 26, 2013, the New Vision published an article about a drug that can be taken before sexual intercourse as a prevention tool under a strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis. This proposed HIV preventive pill, is a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine commonly referred to as Truvada’.

The article titled, ‘Government rejects HIV prevention drug,’ quoted Dr. Alex Ario, the programme coordinator of Antiretroviral therapy in the Ministry of Health (MoH) explaining how there was a proposal to introduce the controversial strategy in Uganda on grounds that it will help reduce new HIV infections.

I can’t thank the Ministry of Health enough on this move because the strategy risks destroying all the achievements we have registered as a country in the HIV fight, especially at a time when we are already struggling.

You recall that Uganda once made strong strides in the HIV fight under the Abstinence, Be faithful, or use Condoms (ABC) strategy to the extent that we became a global yardstick.
But time dictated that the campaigns needed re-enforcement from different fronts in the face of globally increasing research advances, like emergency of Antiretroviral (ARV) medicines that have given patients a second lease on life, putting the death-row fears associated with HIV and AIDS in the back row. These ARVs have also made it possible to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV under PMTCT, and now Option B+ strategy.

Then we rolled out safe male circumcision (SMC) with its benefits.

However, while we embrace everything possible to prevent HIV infections in the absence of a vaccine, too many approaches may undermine the very efforts and progress, like introduction of the proposed ‘prevention drug’.

ARVs have been hailed as ‘wonder/miracle’ drugs but without proper HIV counselling and testing, drug adherence and responsible sexual behaviour, we are witnessing a wave of increasing new HIV infections. National reports show that Uganda's HIV prevalence rates have increased from 6.4% in 2005 to 7.3% in 2012.

Reason? ‘Complacency’ is the chorus. The Uganda AIDS Commission and several policy makers have repeatedly been quoted in the media, attributing increasing risky sexual behaviour and consequent rise in HIV infections to complacency. Apparently, the public no longer considers HIV as a big threat because of availability of drugs.

And now we want to tell the increasingly ‘complacent’ population that they now have a ‘temporary’ vaccine under the proposed ‘prevention drug’!

Take an example of SMC, where many think removal of the foreskin is definite protection against HIV infection, rushing into risky sex long before they even heal, with little regard for the fact that the medical procedure simply minimises risk.

We risk shooting ourselves in the foot by proposing this drug as a preventive tool. The public tends to look to medicines for healing instead of prevention. Besides, there are imminent fears of ARV resistance because of poor adherence yet people have to commit to taking this drug every day lest they compromise even the natural immunity.  If the HIV positive ones have challenges adhering well-knowing their life depends on the drugs, what of healthy fellows?                                     
Thanks to government efforts, half of HIV positive Ugandans that are eligible for ARVs can now access them. Let us ensure that the remaining half that still have challenges accessing ARVs get them by reserving treatment to improve and prolong life for the HIV infected/exposed.

After all, research by the World Health Organisation even shows that early, effective treatment minimises risk of HIV infection by significantly lowering the viral load.  

The writer is a Public Relations Executive with Quality Chemical Industries Limited.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Chicago Eco-Fashion Startup Reaches $10,000 Goal in Less than 5 days

Contact: Harish I. Patel | | 312.823.0090

Local entrepreneurs bring a community organizing approach to sustainable fashion
Chicago, IL - Tuesday, August 20th - Only 5 days after launching a Kickstarter community funding campaign for their new eco-fashion venture, "ishi vest" co-founders Harishi Patel, Rhea Vitalis, and Jackie Mahendra were stunned as they tipped past their $10,000 seed funding goal. In less than one week, they had exceeded their initial seed funding goal, attracted 160 backers, and had received dozens of international orders for the sustainable, fair-trade vests.
In fact, the team raised their first $5,000 in less than 24 hours, were featured among the most popular projects on’s fashion page, and demonstrated the potential of a community organizing approach to both sustainable fashion and social entrepreneurship.
“I am blown away to see us raise all of the seed funding we set out to raise for our eco-fashion startup on Kickstarter in less than one week of launching,” said ishi co-founder Harishi Patel. “When I think about the many social justice projects I’ve founded or facilitated over the years, there's a common thread of giving people the chance to see themselves as part of the solution, even when the problems are so huge."
What had started out years ago as a powerful trip home to India for ishi co-founder, Harishi Patel, turned into the seeds of a hip, conscious clothing line with the intent to remind people about how their smallest choices can have a huge impact. Patel turned to two friends, Rhea Vitalis and Jackie Mahendra, and the three worked together to launch a company that would put people and the planet above profits.
In addition to being committed to ethical fashion, 10% of the company’s profits will be donated to sustainability efforts that customers will vote on, whether in the U.S., where the founders live, or in India, where the vests are produced.
The first step for ishi’s founders was to partner with a fair-trade certified, organic and natural-dye fabric company near Patel’s hometown in Gujarat. At the company, the fabric starts with organic seeds, is dyed naturally without chemicals, and is processed by workers in safe conditions, who are paid fair wages. With help from a local Chicago designer and friend Tamana Azizi, the “ishi vest” team refined their first prototype, a unisex vest which is being featured on Kickstarter.
All three founders have been involved in social justice and community organizing efforts in Chicago over the past decade, and they are once again calling on their community to help them reach their next milestone of $15,000. This will allow them to not only design, test, and launch their next vest, an ishi women’s signature style, but also begin the design process for a third unisex style that their Kickstarter supporters will get to vote on before it is produced.
The individuals backing ishi vest on Kickstarter are investing in more than just a hip clothing line; they are backing a vision for an alternative production process in India, which is now the world’s second largest producer of cotton and one of the largest producers of textiles and apparel, employing over 35 million people.
In India, exposure to certain pesticides has left many workers with fatal respiratory diseases, noise exposure has caused hearing loss and sleep disorders, and ergonomic issues are causing musculoskeletal disorders. Furthermore, the standard chemical dyeing process itself has been closely linked to a list of cancers that includes: nasal, lung, brain, stomach, colorectal, and testicular cancer. The ishi founders hope to model social responsibility and environmental sustainability in a country where farmer suicide rates are on the rise due to unmanageable debt, and where factory workers are often forced into dangerous working conditions.
“Right now, communities across the country are thinking deeply about their daily choices, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear,” said ishi vest co-founder Harishi Patel. “After hearing about the recent horrors in factories in Bangladesh, I am more motivated than ever to be launching a new kind of clothing company that puts people and planet before profits. We’re making beautiful, sustainable products, but we’re also rethinking consumption and asking our friends and customers to do the vest at a time.”

View a video update from Harishi Patel, ishi co-founder:

View the kickstarter launch video: | vests with benefits
Facebook: ishivest 
Twitter: @ishivest 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ahabwe Mugerwa Micheal's interview with The Mosquito , The Netherlands

Our founder Ahabwe Mugerwa Michael was interviewed by Batenburg Brendy and his interview was published by The Netherlands magazine The Mosquito. Scroll to Page 5 and Page 6 and read about his views on Human Rights, Religion, rights of minorities and his views on the state of Human Rights in Uganda. 
Most of the content is in Dutch, we hope our Dutch readers enjoy this full magazine as our English readers have Ahabwe's interview in English on Page 5 and 6.

Blog Action Day 2013 - Join Us

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Our unique Model

ICOD Action Network believes that the best and last solutions to every challenge are those developed from within communities or sustained by local communities if developed by NGOs or government. ICOD Action Network brings together innovation, community development and sustainability to create lasting social change in rural communities. ICOD Action Network partners with communities to build sustainable responses to communities challenges. 

Innovation and Education
With the establishment of a solar powered Internet Center in 2010, communities now have access to better online information resources. ICOD ACTION NETWORK believes that access to information and literacy is critical to personal and economic empowerment, so our programming is centered on easing communities access to information.
In many of the communities where we work, ICOD Action Network  has  become a vital resource for farmers, women and youth  and our projects have provided a forum for communities to share skills and ideas.

Community Development
ICOD Action Network operates on the belief that communities are in the best position to assess their own needs and strengths and generate the best responses to overcome them. It is critical to our model that we partner with communities  and fully involve them in all projects. ICOD Action Network staff spend time educating communities about our model, level of participation required and setting long-term goals.

Community participation
An important part of our model is establishing true partnerships with communities. In addition to ICOD Action Network investment, each community contributes own resources  - no matter how small, to tackle identified problems. Communities have always contributed training venue, local resources, schools and religious institutions have also provided training venues during our farmer engagement sessions. As a result, everyone in the community feels invested in the success of our projects. Participation has helped communities embrace ownership and management of all projects implemented by ICOD Action Network.


  • Engages community leaders, local experts, volunteers, our staff and other development partners in collaborative practices to overcome challenges.
  • Energizes community motivation and engagement through discussions and active participation in our activities. 
  • Uses information technology to connect communities to “outside world” to learn, share and network.
  • Sets clear expectations and provides opportunity for teamwork, contribution and use of local resources.
  • Builds a new group of local leaders and inspires them to continuously mobilize and encourage communities to take part in development initiatives.
  • Develops local leaders critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Offers space for ICOD Action Network staff and communities to analyze progress, evaluate impact and set new targets
  • Builds a collaborative practice within communities, and beyond
  • Integrates structures for assessment and data-informed practice that communities understand and embrace.
  • Our model is a concrete model for sustainable community development. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...