Texting without thumbs


This week in Uganda: traditional gender roles are challenged, the fight against sexual crime steps up a notch and SMS services take a creative leap forward. More mixed reaction, however, is voiced to last year’s exam results, out now – read on…


Uganda news in brief: Museveni signs anti-gay law, Ethiopia condemns; but is the controversy overshadowing other news? (Monitor) ++++ Multibillion investment to flood into Nakaseke agriculture (Observer) ++++ Upcoming anti-porn law lowers hemlines, raises concern over mob justice (Observer) ++++ Oil industry overcomes challenges (Monitor) ++++ Kampala to trial a car-free zone to protect pedestrians, cyclists (Observer)

TRAINING: a pioneering $5m training centre is to be established in Kampala, to equip rapid response teams with skills to deal with cases of rape, defilement and genital mutilation across the Great Lakes region. Gender and Social Development Minister Mary Karoroo Okurut, reported in the Monitor: “Go and tell the rapists and defilers out there that their time is up. A person who commits rape or defilement in Congo and he thinks he can run and hide in Burundi no longer has anywhere to hide.”

GENDER: Nursing bodies that exclude male midwives should rethink their policies, says the Minister of State for Higher Education, John Chrysostom Muyingo, after the discovery that out of 277 candidates registered for midwifery none are male. He is quoted in the Monitor: “We have male doctors who are treating women. They go in theatre when a mother is giving birth by C-section. If doctors are allowed to be males, why then should you discriminate these young boys who want to be midwives?”

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Monitor, Joyce Kyeyune Tonda, managing director of Enterprise Technology, speaks out for the cause of getting girls involved with technology.

SMS: according to transparency international’s Global Corruption Report on Education, teachers in Uganda fail to turn up to their classes 27% of the time. Pupils in affected classes can now combat absenteeism by using a free text-message service, the Guardian reports.

In other texting news, according to IT Web Africa, Telecom Uganda is to relaunch its voice SMS service, making messaging that much more simple, direct and accessible.

EXAMINATION: the 2013 UCE results (Uganda Certificate of Education, also known as O-level) are out. The Monitor reports a slight drop in performance from last year, but an increase in enrolment by 26,712. Girls performed better than boys in English Language and English Literature, but boys’ performance was better overall. Results are available by text-message.

and in other news…

LIFE AFTER DEATH: hundreds have arrived in Bukoto village in Nakaseke district to mourn the self-proclaimed prophet Wilson Bushara… and await his resurrection. More in the Monitor.

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