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