OF ARMORED CARS & SHARP SHOOTERS!

Dear Mr. President,

Following your recent directive to the ministry of finance, planning and economic development to procure armored vehicles and assign sharp shooters for Members of parliament , i am inclined to ask you a couple of questions so i can understand where you are coming from.  see i have been trying to wrap my mind around what could be happening to you and your many Presidential advisers that you would even write such an absurd directive and have thus been pushed to write this letter. You see i do not understand how it is logically possible in your mind that procuring these cars will result into a solution for the security problems Uganda is facing right now.

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For starters, did you stop to think about the financial implication of procuring these vehicles and sharp shooters?  For 456 MP’s, at least 500 million  will be needed to procure each vehicle, totaling up to UGX shs. 228 billion. We haven’t even considered the costs that will be incurred on allowances for drivers, servicing the cars and mileage allowance. My brothers and sisters are already overburdened by the fat allowances for the Members of Parliament , including basic pay, mileage, constituency facilitation, sitting allowances, social security benefits, medical insurance, free i Pads , travel allowances and monthly gratuity payment. All these expenses have been compounded into increased taxation for the Ugandan taxpayer.We are increasingly being over taxed to fund a lavish lifestyle for these Members of parliament who ironically exempted their own allowances from taxation. This, sir, is a continuation of impunity and gratuitous expenditure  that is putting more strain on an already beleaguered economy.

Forty and more women have been killed in the recent past and the MP’s you so seek to protect never raised their voice to condemn the brutal killings because they simply don’t care.  Par-adventure if we had  given armored vehicles and sharp shooters to these innocent women, they would still live. But no, they were left to suffer at the hands of iron bar hit men, panga-wielding squads and armed robbers  and lately stalkers!

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It is absurd that you continue to undermine and inhibit institutional growth because the President should have no business poking his nose in the responsibilities of the parliamentary commission which is supposed to determine what Members of Parliament are entitled to. The nature of such implausible directives continuously undermines and weakens institutions, but you already knew that.

How does anyone in their right mind seek to protect 1% of the population neglecting the 99%  and call that a holistic approach to growth? What would happen if you invested in a professional and competent police force to protect all Ugandans other than the already privileged MP’s at the expense of the Ugandan Tax payer? How about if we channeled all this money to service delivery in social sectors like health, education and agriculture? I guess these are not your priorities at the moment since we seem to be having a lot of money to waste on luxurious lifestyles rather than improve livelihoods for our citizenry, so how do you sleep at night , if i may ask?

And the MP’s fr whom this proposal is being pushed, why not reject and rescind this discriminatory directive if we are truly  for the people, by the people, of the people? Why are we silent in the face of injustice?  How is getting you these vehicles going to translate into security for that woman selling tomatoes in Nakawa market?

We are already suffering with the useless lead cars that disrupt traffic every now and again and now you want to bring armored vehicles, that will make our already narrow roads more congested.  and Mr. President, thank you very much for expressing the state of fear in your circles. If you were not so afraid of the Citizens, you wouldn’t be making such irrational directives to protect both yourself and these Members of parliament from those you swore to protect.  I hope that you will rethink your directive and use your paid advisers to do their job before you make a fool of yourself again on national television over another national error!

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EQUIP CIRCLES !

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to hold serious meetings in informal spaces? what would that look like? Would they be effective or would people be too relaxed to think? Do you ever wish you were in a space that didn’t scream deadlines and pressure yet, so serious it got your mind spiraling with ideas? I love such spaces!  I am a very visual human, i love to sing , draw my ideas or even create a story around them so they don’t come off with as much intensity as i envision them, most times they are too big and scary. I love breaking things down, and helping others be on the same page with me. I, in fact miss my elementary and Sunday school Days, where we sang literally every thing and life was so sweet, no wonder we still remember most things we learned then. So,  while we were dreaming for Femme Forte, We dreamed about such spaces and we baptized them Equip circles. These are learning spaces committed to conversations with the future.

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Femme forte is a movement building entity that is mobilizing and equipping women to become better leaders who change the story towards an equitable society. We are seeking to build effective resilience to break barriers and reach new heights for women in Uganda. Our core areas of work involve mobilizing women, equipping them, Sharing (hearing and telling ) their story and Celebrating them. We love Women and believe in their advancement in the social, economic, political and  spiritual spheres and we practice Integrity, sisterhood , Accountability, Feminist leadership and Equity.

We are at a turning point for women , where advances in women’s rights are at threat from rising fundamentalism’s, financial crises, political turmoil and back lash against feminism. Very important gains have been made in many frameworks , policies and laws that protect the rights of women, yet, the power dynamics that drive inequality between men and women remain in force at all levels.  We, therefore envision a balanced society that provides equal opportunity to both men and women. So, how do you get young women to have honest conversations in a safe space that is not another boardroom meeting? How do you build trust away from the commonly abused “mentorship word ” How do you link the older generations of women to the younger women to share and learn, and grow?  It starts with conversations in safe spaces like the Equip circles.

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Femme Forte exists to strengthen pathways between young and older women who aspire to meaningfully contribute to the greater women’s movement in Uganda and the world. It has often been said that, “be careful what inner circle you choose, they are either adding value to you or reducing it” and because of this, some of us have become crippled by fear to engage and network in a bid to safe guard our space and not get hurt. Fear is a lie! Break away from it and be a river that flows into other peoples lives to add value to them. Our Equip Circles are learning spaces where we can overcome our fears and differences by bringing in innovations to support women in their various areas of leadership, be it at home, in the market place or even as they lead themselves. They are designed towards catering for the different women issues and needs which aren’t satisfied by the traditional formal learning spaces (i.e. library spaces, book clubs , board rooms etc)

These Equip Circles provide the type of space that women can drop in and use to discuss ideas, exchange knowledge, sharpen skills ,build on ideas , listen to one another, celebrate and mourn together or even just feel safe. They are a more relaxed environment, typically with soft furnishings. The concept behind the Circles is the learning environment created by these spaces which is very much focused on providing a learning and growing safe circle. Rather than creating formal learning spaces in our boardrooms and offices, our women are free to talk and are often permitted to eat and drink within these Equip Circles to enable them enough comfort to share and deal with real issues affecting their livelihood without shame or fear.

At the Equip circles, we learn, have fun, share good food , recognize and celebrate people’s contributions as  often as possible. Laughter renews the human spirit, sharing food creates fellowship and recognizing people’s contributions and sharing credit generosity builds confidence and strengthens long term partnerships which foster candid conversations that enable growth.

IMG_1088[1]We invite you to join us, as we build this movement of women who support fellow women by pushing ourselves to new heights. Our hope at the end of the day, is that we will have told our stories , sparked change and built a movement of fearless women around Uganda who change the stories in their communities by each one equipping and supporting another woman. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter  @ FemmeForteUg , or subscribe @www.femmeforteug.org.  Let us Mobilize and equip women for an equitable society !!!

RAISE YOUR VOICE

I haven’t written in a long time. My guess is as good as yours, been swamped but , i have a mountain of stories to share………i have missed you all so much. Where to begin? So in March 2018,  i visited Trump land and met this amazing gentleman named Brian Sooy. He authored the book “raise your voice” and champions the #CauseManifesto campaign. He said so many things but i was super dazzled  at his beautiful brain as he shared about mission driven design and purpose driven communications, that i had to contact him after the meeting to have a one on one.

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Please note that i had read “Live your brand” by Ariho Kamara and i thought i had arrived until i was asked, “When people ask you to describe the organization for which you work, what words do you use to describe it? I’m not referring to your position statement or pitch (a brief statement that declares why your organization is the only one that serves people for a specific purpose and outcome)?”  As i carefully thought about my response, he went on ……………..

” When we say, “everybody brands,” — I’m not referring to the frantic activity around logos, color palettes, or the visual expression of an organization – I’m referring to what any individual thinks about your organization when they interact with its people, service, product, or customer experience”  Eh !!!  It was like a blow that sent my mind on a thinking spiral about my dreams and how i wanted them branded and communicated excellently well.

See late last year i birthed a baby in the shape of an organisation. And we have recently concluded our strategic planning process, so we have been battling with how to communicate the brilliant things we are seeking to do and are already doing until it hit me! I had scribbled some notes from that meeting with Brian Sooy that may not just re route the direction of our baby Femme Forte but also add value to your life. It has often been said that ” don’t raise your voice , improve your argument”,  I am here to say, Raise your voice with dope arguments. Imagine what it would be like to strategically raise your voice and design your work with purpose and communicate it with clarity!

Long and short, i bought the man’s book and have thus managed to share a portion of what he says. If you look keenly, you will find wisdom in these summarized lines that will help you communicate better as you embrace your mission, tell your story , spark change and create a movement:

  • BE STRATEGIC: Create and follow a road map that aligns your communication with the goals of your strategic plan.
  • BE FOCUSED : Focus your communication on one cause, one mission, and one purpose and share your purpose with one voice.
  • BE MEANINGFUL: Ensure your values and actions align with the reasons that motivate your followers and stakeholders to believe in your cause.
  • BE INSIGHTFUL: Embrace  data as a means of sharing greater insight into the outcomes of your mission and understanding of your cause.
  • BE INSPIRING: Speak to the mind and appeal to the heart with stories of how your cause inspires you and your advocates to action
  • BE ENGAGING : As in a conversation, listen as often as you speak in order to hear what the community and your stakeholders expect of you.
  • BE SOCIAL : Be an ambassador for your cause, and recognize that every interaction is an opportunity to build relationships.
  • BE GRATEFUL: Remember that your supporter’s gifts are meaningful , and their generosity makes a difference.
  • BE TRUSTWORTHY: Seek accountability and transparency, speaking and acting in a manner consistent with your values , character and culture
  • BE POSITIVE : Choose your words well, for they will motivate people to follow, donate , advocate and believe in your cause.
  • BE POWERFUL: Believe your cause is meaningful, and act in the belief that it has the power to change the world.
  • BE COURAGEOUS: Dream big dreams and have the courage to change and adapt in order to make your vision a reality.

I know right, how cool is this?  So tell me, after all that you have read, how would you describe your organisation? I’m referring to the personality of your organization—the human qualities and attributes that embody the purpose, character, and culture of your organization.  I could go on and on but i am still in the kitchen cooking up the best way to communicate what Femme Forte is up to. For now,  Femme Forte is building a movement!! ” We are mobilizing and equipping  women to become better leaders who change the story towards an equitable society!”

Just buy the book . I shall be back!!!!!

THE LOVES OF MY LIFE.

Rawjer has a way with words! He says the cutest , nicest things in life. He will sweep you off your feet every time he opens his mouth, but even before he does, you will be slain at how Faaaaayyyyynnnnneeeee he is! He is Loyal. One would think he is the mayor of this and many other cities, he practically knows millions of people. I can not begin to describe his heart. It is soooooooo huge and he is so generous with everything he is and does.  I call him a friend charmer because he casts spells on everyone he meets with his awesomeness. You will introduce him to your friends and before you know it, they will be calling him and taking him out and just like that, you will take the back seat while he is chilling on the passenger side.  He is the life of every party and his dreams are so big they scare me. He is an intense fashionista with a ballistically  amazing sense of style.  He is selfless and is not shy to show me he loves me. He is my baby brother!

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Pesh is my stunning muzungu sister. She wanted to have dimples so bad, she would wake up and touch our mother’s cheeks everyday and press her own hoping they would just arrive. She is super classy and adorable . You know those people who are always on fleek ,this girl  it !! She is always on top of dope trends. The true definition of neat and sassy.  She will have your back always and will not desist from giving fashion advice to improve someone’s style. She is brilliant and her advice saves me a lot of trouble.  she isn’t the lovey-dovey type but when she loves, its real. This gorgeous pearl  is our “nkwanzi emwe”

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Rhona, is beautiful and extremely intelligent. Always thinking out of the box and will do whatever it takes to win. She is stylish and daring, hardworking and dependable, she will go the extra mile for you. She inherited our mother’s nice legs and grandma’s adorable eyes, and that is a big plus. She loves community, and is very dedicated to transforming the lives of the people around her. Her Creativity is out of this world and her imagination wanders  to places only she can narrate. Don’t let her free spirit fool you, cross anyone she cares about and she will unleash the dragon!

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So Valentines day is upon us and even though it lands on ash Wednesday this particular year, people are already making plans for a Pre- day do. Many people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day by showing appreciation for the people they love or adore. Some people take their loved ones for a romantic dinner at a restaurant while others may choose this day to propose or get married. Many people give greeting cards, chocolates, jewelry or flowers ,particularly roses, to their partners or admirers on Valentine’s Day.

It is also a time to appreciate friends in some social circles and cultures. For example, Valentine’s Day in Finland refers to “Friend’s day”, which is more about remembering all friends rather than focusing solely on romance. Valentine’s Day in Guatemala is known as Day of Love and Friendship). It is similar to Valentine’s Day customs and traditions countries such as the United States but it is also a time for many to show their appreciation for their friends.

This month i will be appreciating and celebrating the people who make my life tick! They are the loves of my life and in no particular order they all bring sanity to my world. They make me happy! I appreciate you my people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How commercialization of politics affects women’s participation — fasifas!

In central Uganda, there is a saying that goes: “atalina sente tafumita lizindazi”, which literally implies a person without money cannot pierce (eat) bread. Yes, in Uganda today, it’s increasingly becoming clear that only those with a lot of money stand a better chance to get elected into (pierce?) political offices. Money is playing a […]

via How commercialization of politics affects women’s participation — fasifas!

SPIRITUAL DETOX

 

We are not a body with a soul. We are spirit beings with a soul and we live in a body. While the world rightly teaches us to detox our bodies, go on a diet, abstain from certain things, exercise regularly, keep hydrated and many other instructions on how to live healthy, very few mention the need to take care of our souls. Sometimes, we need to detox our souls. We need to identify what’s chipping away at our souls, and what’s getting in the way of us becoming the people God created us to be. We need to learn from God’s Word how we can neutralize these damaging influences and embrace clean living for our souls. We live in a very polluted environment these days, and much of our food is mass produced and altered in such a way that we end up consuming toxins that our body needs to process and eliminate in order for us to enjoy good physical health.
detox
verb
diːˈtɒks/
  1. abstain from or rid the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.
    “he checked into a hospital to detox”

     

There are a variety of cleansing and detoxification protocols and products used today for these physical cleansings of the body. Health specialists often prescribe a detox to cleanse our bodies and restore our health, we need to close temporarily for our souls and spirits to get nourished. Often Christians need a spiritual detox to invigorate our souls. Our spirit also is subject to spiritual toxins, and we are all in need of spiritual cleansing on a regular basis to keep our spiritual life healthy. So i will ask, how often do you detox spiritually? How often do you take time to think deeply on your spiritual health and devise means to improve that health? The bible clearly states that, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

 

What are those things that are slowly eating away at you? What are you defiling your spirit and flesh with? Have you considered the bible reading recipe? Have you thought about how good it will be for you to spend some time feeding on the word and nourishing your system with the food it so badly needs?  “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7)

So here is the big question. What are you and i going to do about this eternal life that we have received by grace? Someone told me yesterday that i have everything i need in Christ but, i need to start operating my faith. I know full well, that Eternal life can not be interrupted by anything, not even sin. so why not spend time edifying my spirit and soul with the word of my Father who has freely given me all things instead of living in condemnation? Why not abstain from the passions that so easily ensnare me and build intimacy with my new husband, having died to sin in Christ? The only way i know , that is proved to work, is spending time in the word as a means to spiritually detox. Try it out, thank me later,,,,,,it works like magic.

Therefore, while we take some time off to do our spiritual detox, let us activate our faith, let us not Limit God with our shallow imaginations and scenario building.  Let us Boldly approach the Throne with the knowledge that we already have received all that pertains to life and godliness and all we have to do is operate our faith. Let us walk with our chests out and heads high, knowing full well that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

YOU WILL BECOME A FOREST!

“One day when you wake up, you will find that you have become a forest. You have grown roots and found strength in them that no one thought you had. You have become  stronger and and more beautiful. Full of life giving qualities.You have learned to take all the negativity around you and turn it into oxygen for easy breathing . A host of wild creatures live inside you and you call them stories. A variety of beautiful birds rest in your mind and you call them memories. You have become an incredible self sustaining creature of epic proportions dependent on God. And you should be proud of yourself, of how far you have come from the seeds of who you used to be ” – Nikita Gile

Have you ever read this scripture in Mathew 13 : 32 which says with regard to the Kingdom of God being like a mustard seed, “………..which indeed is the least of all the seeds, but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”-NKJV. What questions does this stir up in your mind?

Are you aware that you are a seed that must be grown into a tree? That what you have deposited on the inside of you is far greater than you can imagine but you must be deliberate and intentional about growing it ? Are you aware that God’s gift to us is potential, Our gift to God is developing that potential. Do you not know that you have a purpose and you should not just sit there acting normal, you are not normal, you are extra-ordinary!!

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I was awakened by a big bang on my bedroom window last year and a crazy friend with a big Afro and colorful flower in the hair was screaming,” put some clothes on and open the door!” please don’t judge me, clothes are too much work. I got up, opened the door and a group of friends shouted surprise!! It was my birthday……….i was growing older. Now as much as that freaked me out,it did not scare me as much as the realization that i was not intentionally investing in my personal growth, it was just accidentally happening and this had to change.

With that realization, I made a deliberate decision to grow even if it was the last thing i was going to do. I chose to take my enrollment at the most prestigious leadership institute in Uganda,(Harvest Institute) more seriously, i started spending time with people who added value to my life through coaching and mentorship, i attended masterminds with the most brilliant brains in the country, i joined a gang that sharpened me and set me up for success, i met people and built networks to carry me along my journey of growth and i began to see the tree sprout out of the seeds i was investing in.  Here is the thing, prior to 2017, i had been growing, in age, in size, accidentally in my leadership and other areas in life, but 2017, i GREW! I intentionally set out to invest in my growth and it is paying off. Allow me to boast because even i ,can tell that i’m not the same woman i was a year ago, I  mean, i am an author now, i study my bible more deliberately and i enjoy it, my leadership lid has increased by leaps and bounds, I connect better with people, i have an opinion that is valuable and i am not shy to share :  all this has not been accidental, it was intentional.

one of the books that changed my life last year was John Maxwell’s 15 invaluable laws of growth. This book at some point discusses “arrivism” which is a disease many of us suffer from. We feel we have accomplished much or arrived and thus have no reason to go higher. It is said that “only a mediocre person is always at his best” I was sad when i read that  forty two percent of college graduates never read a book after college, how depressing is that? We need to do better for ourselves. we need to invest in our growth. we need to become trees!! So this year as you come to the end of January, make a resolution:

  1. To Intentionally Grow
  2. To stretch
  3. To be Teachable
  4. To be willing to serve others
  5. To be grateful
  6. To be continually challenged
  7. To have a sense of direction
  8. To be consistent

You must become a forest, you must bear fruit. And as you do, remember , ” If you won’t be better tomorrow than you were today, then what do you need tomorrow for?” – Rabbi Nachman