Friday, August 23, 2013

Rose’s Journey: Partnering with the government and other stakeholders to End Child Sacrifice (ESC) in Uganda

August 2013

Dear friends and partners in the journey, in 1989 when I first walked 52 kilometers to escape witchcraft training I never thought I would revisit that walk or that it would become a cornerstone for Rose’s Journey and the campaign to End Child Sacrifice (ECS) in Uganda.  For the last four years I have become increasingly convinced that a collective effort is what is needed to ECS. That hopeless journey in 1989 has birthed something much greater and more relevant; and I am so grateful that out of such pain and tragedy I have so much more to celebrate and a greater reason for using the past to shape the future not just for myself, but more so for others around me…and for my community.  I want to continue to be a Ugandan that makes a difference in my community and beyond.

The practice of and crimes related to child sacrifice make us all uncomfortable.  Every time we see a news clip of yet another death, we have a kneejerk reaction to the event: “Those people should be killed too!” It’s a sentiment shared by many.   Sadly, these sentiments do very little to address the problem.  However, they highlight a desire by many people to at least do something to address child sacrifice.

One of the goals of Rose’s Journey is to be able to foster a collective approach to ECS.  We hope to do this by identifying strategies that address child sacrifice as well as through strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders.  We recognize that individuals, families, communities and policy makers all have a critical role to play and that such partnerships will be crucial to attaining the broader goal of ECS in the country.

What are we doing this year?
1.     Formulating a comprehensive Behavior Communication Strategy[1] for ECS in Uganda:  We hope to continue to understand and address perceptions, values, attitudes surrounding the practice and rituals related to child sacrifice.  Domains of communication are encouraged at these levels:
a.    Individuals
b.    Family units (including extended family members who are often involved in the kidnapping of children)
c.     Community level (Community leaders; Opinion leaders; Religious groups; Frontline health care professionals; Civil Society groups and NGOs; Mass Media;
d.    Policy and Political Stakeholders
2.     Establishing collaboration and strategic alliances to foster advocacy at above levels
3.     Mobilize stakeholders and encourage participation in a global 10K walk on Saturday August 24th as part of our solidarity to increase awareness to ECS.  Meeting point in Uganda will be at IDC plot 37 Yusufu Lule Road at 6:30AM.  In the USA folks can register at
4.  Obtain one million signatures on a petition urging the government to draft and enact appropriate legislation addressing the practice of and crimes related to child sacrifice.
How you can help?
1.     Come walk with us on August 24th
2.     Walk in your community and sensitize others about the issue of child sacrifice (engage your community leaders, partner with local organizations such as Kyampisi Childcare Ministries: or others involved in similar work.
3.     Tell us about your walk and work to end child sacrifice
4.     Connect us to key stakeholders: the media, policy makers, community groups etc.
5.     Sign a petition: to ECS
6.     Contact us for more information:
We are using what we have (our hands, our feet, our voices, our talents, and passion) to partner with government and other stakeholders in ending the practice of child sacrifice in Uganda. Too many innocent lives have been affected, too many futures broken, too many communities traumatized …child sacrifice must end. Increasing awareness and engaging in focused conversations about the practice and devastating effects of child sacrifice is a crucial step to ensuring that this country has the right thinking, the right laws and the right environment to protect the vulnerable and innocent lives. A child kidnapped, mutilated or sacrificed could be anyone’s … s/he could be yours.  Join me with solidarity in the journey.  Add your voice to mine.  Together we can do this.  It is work worth doing

In Journey,

Rose Nanyonga Clarke

[1] Behavior Change Communication (BCC) is a research-based consultative process of addressing knowledge, attitudes, and practices through identifying, analyzing, and segmenting audiences and providing them with relevant information.  Can be achieved through a mix of group and mass media channels, including participatory methods (individuals, families, communities) (McKee, 2002).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013



With her back against the wall, forced to leave her village by her own family, a then-17 year old Rose Nanyonga took her childhood misfortunes and turned them into groundbreaking triumphs that have touched the lives of not only the nursing community, but the world. Nanyonga, BSN, MSN, a Jonas Scholar on her way to earning her PhD from Yale University, was motivated to study nursing after losing her mother in childbirth due to the limited access to health facilities in Uganda.
 Nanyonga’s area of research interest is HIV/AIDS; specifically strategies to improve access and quality of care for people living with HIV/AIDS in resource limited settings. Some of her studies include identifying policy strategies or gaps to increase access to HIV medications and interventions, and examining the linkages between global and domestic policies and their influence on the preparation and capacity of the health workforce to meet national health priorities.
 Following a tough childhood where she was forced to practice witchcraft, involving child sacrifice, Nanyonga made the brave choice to leave her family and walked 32 miles to Kiwoko Hospital where she met Dr. Ian and Robbie Clarke, who provided her with a new life and new beginnings. In 2009, Nanyonga established Rose’s Journey, where she revisited her 32-mile journey from her home village to Kiwoko.
 Since then, Nanyonga has celebrated this walk with hundreds of supporters and ambassadors for Rose’s Journey with three main goals: 1) Raise awareness to help end child sacrifice; 2) Funding to provide scholarships to nursing students at International Health Sciences University; and 3) Funding to sponsor free medical care in the Hope Ward of International Hospital Kampala in Uganda.
 When we asked Nanyonga about the connection between nursing and Rose’s Journey, she said, “Two slogans that have been at the core of Rose’s Journey are ‘Hope, Heal, Empower’ and ‘Love is a way of saying to one another, it is good that you exist, it is good that you are in the world.’ I don’t know of many other professions that embody these elements as well as nursing does.”
 “When I am involved in the illness experience with the patient, I feel strongly that my role is to be able to provide an experience through which the patient encounters and embraces hope, healing, and a sense of empowerment.  The nursing profession has done that for me, and Rose’s Journey is an outlet that further demonstrates those values,” she added.
 Nanyonga’s past has allowed her to remain close to her roots in Uganda. She currently serves as a Member on the Board of Directors at International Medical Group, Uganda (IMG) and is concerned with the overall strategic management of IMG. She also continues to be at the forefront of developing nursing leadership. The scholarship funds raised by Rose’s Journey help address the dire need for nursing leadership capacity, especially in low-income countries.
As Nanyonga so eloquently stated, “[The Clarkes’] provided the first scholarship for me to pursue nursing. The Rose’s Journey Scholarship Fund is part of the story that recognizes so many other ‘Roses’ who desperately need someone, the way I did in 1989. My experience with the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence has inspired me and cemented that resolve…I feel that my role, as a recipient of such a privilege, is to be able to represent the ethos of what the Jonases are trying to do. They have made it possible for me to have the tools I need in my journey to becoming a nursing leader, and for that I am forever grateful.”
This year’s walk is scheduled to take place on August 24, 2013 in Uganda. Nanyonga is also working towards a petition urging the Government of Uganda to draft and enact legislation that specifically addresses the practice of and crimes related to child sacrifice. Her goal is one million signatures by July 2014; so click here for your chance to become an ambassador for Nanyonga and all of the other ‘Roses.’ Read all about Rose’s Journey here.

From Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence Blog: 
August 20th 2013 

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Dear friends,

A recent study examining child sacrifice and mutilations in Uganda—the first ever—indicates that every week a child is either mutilated or sacrificed for ritualistic purposes (  Startling findings and personal accounts of tragic stories are well documented in this report and yet, as usual, it hardly made the news.  For so many of us who are removed from the tragedy, it’s just another report and another week at the office.   We may plan to “get to it” at some point, but life and time runs away from us even when we are well intentioned.  Many of us wonder what can be done and have engaged in various campaigns to bring light to the issue.  This year, I feel more than ever, that our government can do so much more to support efforts geared towards ending child sacrifice and other crimes related to this practice in the country.  To that end, I have initiated a petition (you can sign it here: the government to draft and enact legislation specifically addressing the practice of and crimes related to child sacrifice.

The Witchcraft Act of 1957 (, the only law that currently addresses activities related to witchcraft, is insufficient and does not clearly articulate crimes related to the practice of child sacrifice.  Sadly, not many citizens or law enforcement officers are aware of its existence and hardly is it ever enforced.  Between 2006 to date, law enforcement officers and prosecutors have not been able to, where substantive evidence exists, successfully and consistently prosecute and hold accountable individuals who have been found guilty of these crimes.  I believe that a law that is much more clearer than the Witchcraft Act of 1957, would serve the public better and would go a long way in establishing grounds for prosecution—thus supporting the decision-making process of law enforcement and other stakeholders. 

George Mukisa whose story appears in multiple news media publications ( has almost become the face of child survivors of sacrifice and mutilation crimes against children in Uganda.  My hope is that, through this campaign and petition, we can call for something like a " George Mukisa Law/Bill" that clearly articulates the practice and crimes related to child sacrifice without really muddling into witchcraft and traditional beliefs. 

Obviously, I am open to more ideas on this and by the time we have a million signatures to deliver to the State House and Speaker of Parliament, hopefully we would have gained momentum and more knowledge about what it is the

government needs to do to support our civic duties to our nation.  Before the next child gets mutilated or sacrificed, or buried under someone’s house/foundation, lets add our voice, signature, and anything else we are able to do to prevent it.  We, as a nation, have collectively stalled on this issue long enough.  We must now sustainably engage our government in dialog designed to move things along with tangible outcomes. 

Every Ugandan has a responsibility to do something about this before it gets out of hand—even if all we can do is add our signature to a paper, or tell someone (our family, friends of Uganda, our community and religious or cultural leaders, our politicians etc.) to do what we just did.  Your one signature will move us towards our goal of a million!

Thank you for joining the campaign, for spreading the word, for your partnership and for just being one more Ugandan willing to make a difference.  We will get all our signatures to H.E President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the legislative body (the house of parliament) once we reach our target.  With one voice of a million, we hope that we will be heard.

Folks, we can do this,
Warmly and with gratitude,

NOTE: If there are folks who are unable to do this on line, email me at so I can send you signature template forms and the petition itself.  Please distribute these and help me scan and send back when you reach 100 or more signatures.  Please make sure we are not getting double signatures for those who have already signed the petition online.

Sign the Petition:  

Love is a way of saying to another, "It's good that you exist.  It's good that you are in the world."'...Joseph Piper

"Lord, be the goal of my pilgrimage, and my rest by the way."  -St. Augustine

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Petition to the Government of Uganda: A call for specific laws that address the crime of child sacrifice

Dear friends,
I've started a petition to the Ugandan Government urging them to draft and enact legislation specifically condemning the practice of child sacrifice.  I am really going to need your help to get it off the ground.  We need one million signatures!
We the undersigned petition H.E President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni; the First Lady of Uganda—Hon. Janet K. Museveni; the Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga; the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda Rt. Hon. Jacob L'Okori Oulanya; the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Welfare—Hon. Mary Karooro Okurut; the Leader of the Opposition Party Parliament of Uganda Hon. Nandala Mafabi; and other Hon. Members of the Ugandan Parliament to draft and enact legislation specifically addressing the practice of child sacrifice in Uganda.
Here's why it's important:
Each year untold numbers of children are abducted, mutilated, or murdered as innocent victims of ritualistic child sacrifice. A recent report on child sacrifice and the mutilation of children in Uganda (HumaneAfrica, 2013) indicates that cases of child sacrifice are still on the rise with at least one child mutilated or killed every week for ritual purposes ( While the Ugandan government has made some efforts towards this agenda through the creation of a specific task force to combat child sacrifice, specific legislation and enforcement of the law is still lacking. Legislation by the Ugandan government would provide tangible assistance in the dedicated efforts to combat the practice of child sacrifice in Uganda. This petition adds voice to an increasing number of civil society groups and citizens calling for similar actions from the Ugandan Government.
A composite definition of child sacrifice:
"Child sacrifice is the harmful practice of removing a child's body parts, blood, or tissue while the child is still alive. These body parts, blood or tissue are either worn, buried, or consumed by an individual in the belief they will assist with a number of issues including: overcoming illness, gaining wealth, obtaining blessings from ancestors, protection, initiation, assisting with conception, and dictating gender of a child (HumaneAfrica, 2013).
Read more about child sacrifice:
Witchdoctors reveal the extent of Child Sacrifice in Uganda (BBC News Report, 2010):
Uganda: Man arrested trying to sell a child (New Vision, November, 2011): child sacrifice is a business (BBC News Report, October, 2011):
End Child Sacrifice Report (Jubilee Campaign and Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, 2011):
Together, we can end child sacrifice
You can sign my petition by clicking here.
Rose Nanyonga Clarke

Saturday, October 13, 2012

After the Journey in Dallas--Thank you

Dear friends,
A week ago we walked in Dallas.  We had a great turn out at both the dinner at Peace Lutheran Church and the 30 mile walk the next day.  Compared to the walks in Uganda where it is often blistering hot, it was a cold day in Dallas.  The sudden drop in temperature was unusual and unexpected.  While all my Breckenridge friends were rejoicing (they are used to walking in 50 degree weather), I was a little concerned.  A week prior to the walk I had sustained two stress fractures in my left foot.  Every time I put that foot down it required a great deal of concentration and energy.  In spite of the injury I planned to walk all 30 miles or at least as much as my foot could take.  So the cold weather was a complication.  I needed to work twice as hard to keep my body warm, which was going to be a problem with one foot injured.  So you could say I limped a great deal and managed 24 miles before I was finally asked to stop!  Two of my friends from college then took over and ran the last six miles on my behalf—it was a lesson in humbleness!

Trish and Rathees after running the last 6 miles!!
Looking back, I am so grateful for having had an injured foot because it crystallized one beautiful lesson for me—this walk is not about me!  You would think I knew that by heart by now.   The other wonderful experience was that instead of focusing on the pain—and I was in much pain by mile 10—I decided to see other people in the journey.  Usually the walk in Uganda starts from point A to B.  One just keeps going until they reach Kiwoko.  So the only folks I get to see are those that happen to walk alongside me or past me.  The design of the Campion trail was such that we went back and forth and I got to see so many people and also engaged in conversations along the way.  At least 150 people participated in the combined event—a number that far exceeds our previous campaigns.  Those 30 children we paid homage to were well honored and I feel so privileged that I could be part of such an amazing group of people—in that time, in that place, joined in one purpose and voice…to end child sacrifice. I also hope that on that trail, we all had moments to rekindle hope in our own journeys, and to heal.

What a great crew!
There are not enough words to express our thanks to countless folks who were involved in organizing the walk this year and to all our supporters across the country and beyond.
Thank you for looking after every detail behind the scenes.
Thank you for hosting us
Thank you for cooking for us
Thank you for driving and offering your vehicles for the weekend
Thank you to our volunteers who served us at resting points and braved that cold weather from 6Am to 5PM!
Thank you for praying for us
 Thank you for telling other people about Rose’s Journey
Thank you for carrying the 30 victims of child sacrifice and the many missing children in your hearts that day
Thank you for giving us your time on Friday and all day Saturday
Thank you for donating your money and resources towards Rose’s Journey causes.  We know that there are limitless options on how to spend your Friday evening and Saturday and what charities to support.  We are thankful that you choose to trust us with your giving.  We promise to remain fruitful and faithful stewards of these resources.
Thank you for adding your steps and voice and energy to ours!  Folks, I hope that when the shins heal, and blisters are gone, we can still say that the best prize that life offered that weekend was the chance to work at work worth doing…Theodore Roosevelt. 

Now that we have walked…what else do we do…more on blog later…