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).

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