Human Rights

Is it Time 2 Play?

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Yesterday, I drove to Time 2 Play, the gals could not have been more excited. A friend’s children were joining us and it was after a sumptuous sunday lunch. I was on when I arrived to check on the gals a second time just before 5pm.

I walked through the gate, unchecked. Completely. The guard who manned the entrance was deep in conversation on the phone when I strolled past him. There was no metal check not body frisking.

On a Sunday evening, Time 2 Play is teaming with typically 2 or 3 birthday parties. During the school holidays, it has a residential camp. During the school term, the facility runs a nursery school. There is a junior swimming pool and an adult pool. There are swings and sand pits.

I witnessed a young man run into another with a bicycle. The “riding track” is also the defacto separation between the sandpits and swings and the upper area where parties are held; along with the occasional costumed entertainers.

I was able to walk to the main building, unrestricted, observing one attendant between the main pool and the children’s pool which was visibly swamped. There is a Kitchen that was serving up french fries on the ground floor, there is no way that children could possibly be in class with the smell of a live kitchen right beneath.

I did not observe any CCTV between the rooms and the corridors, nor around the perimeter of the play spaces that have been created for the children. I find that the only way to identify a child is the arm band that is stuck to the arm of a subscribed child, 8000/- UGX per head.

I was able to walk right up to the second floor of the main building with no one having approached me to ask if I was looking for something in particular or if i was lost. This is when I started thinking…

  1. How may child minders should play spaces have? What is the ideal and practical ratio?
  2. What kind of child minder training and guidelines should be in the places where we expect to leave our children for a few hours?
  3. Can children of the different body mass and height access the same play spaces comfortably?
  4. Should it be mandatory that play spaces have video surveillance?
  5. What should the guidelines be for adults accessing child play spaces?
  6. Would Time 2 Play and other children play spaces do background checks on the child minders and care givers?
  7. In this terror filled era, how do we make sure that adults like me do not walk in and present a potential harm to the children?

As a parent, I know that when I take my children to play, it is time to play, but when the environments of the spaces we have created for our children to play are so visibly unsafe, I keep wondering, when it comes to their safety and future, is it time to play?

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I am not Charlie Hebdo- Dr. Carabine

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Below are the words of a woman I have come to respect and honor, Dr. Carabine.

I thought I might have been Charlie Hebdo, but I’m not …
I watched the events of Paris unfold, much like everyone else, with horror, shock, and distress. I read about, and saw pictures of, the deadly Nigerian Boko Haram slaughtering 2000 people with the same distress. I saw a few still pictures of IS throwing at least one man, deemed to be gay, from the top of a tall building in Iraq with even more sadness. And I also read about the centre pages of the latest Charlie Hebdo edition containing crude, non-satirical cartoons, one of the pope and another of a nun, and found these anything but funny. In my view they are rude and offensive (and I am generally tolerant). I watched pictures of long queues of people waiting to buy their copies of Charlie Hebdo, and I suspect some of them will be shocked and embarrassed too.
Call me old fashioned, but I do not think it is right to make fun of people’s religion. Freedom of speech does not mean I can use foul language just because I can, because I am claiming a right.
I support the right to freedom of speech. I will defend the rights of any person not to be gunned down or killed in cold blood, be they innocent citizens or those claiming their right to free speech. But I also believe there are limits to freedoms and rights, and that rights come with responsibilities.
That is why I was uneasy when watching the world leaders link arms in the boulevards of Paris protesting the deaths of the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket staff. Why? Because I kept wondering: where are the protests for the citizens of Baga. Who is speaking for them? Where are the solidarity marches for the children of Pakistan? Do we care? Where are the African leaders protesting Boko Haram?
Now there are anti-Charlie protests in Niger, Pakistan, and Algeria, sparking even more violence. And 7 churches torched in Niger! I am so sorry for those who lost their lives in Paris, and my heart goes out to their bereaved families, but no, I am not in support of crude and offensive journalism in the name of freedom of speech.

Dr. Carabine captures my heart and mind ever so adequately. I definitely am not Charlie Hebdo – what about you?

Men Can Help Stop The Spread of HIV to Infants and Children

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Together with GHC CEO, Barbara Bush, find out how Men can help STOP the spread of HIV to Infants and Children: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-bush/how-can-men-help-stop-the_b_5862200.html

Global Health and Open Source

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(First Published on Global Health Corps – Blog)

In the world of software, your best bet is open source software – usually – because, it comes free, has been developed by a community, and everyone working on it, depends on everyone else to review what they are doing to make it better. You tend to get the most original ideas, refined by the most creative minds, who have the most nobel motivations. Even if you have been living under a rock, you have heard of the popular Open Source Operating Systems (Ubuntu, RedHat, CENTOs), Office Suites (LibreOffice and OpenOffice), Mobile OS (Android) and some of the coolest tools in the technology world today (Linux Core, Apache, PHP, BIND.

If you have sent an email before, there is a very strong likelihood you used one of the 70% Servers running Apache. And you are reading this, most likely, because DNS is working fine, for you to get from your local subnet onto the internet.

At the core of it, these cool tools are developed using the “open source model” –  open source as a development model promotes:

  • Universal access via free license to a product’s design or blueprint, and
  • Universal redistribution of that design or blueprint, including subsequent improvements to it by anyone

A more academic definition of Free Software is: “Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”. (Source) Freedom 1 (the second) has a precondition, to have access to the source code – that makes it opensource.

But is there such a thing as open source, outside of software?

osdc_520x292_opensourcedoctor

Yes. We can engage aspects of life – all of life –  “the open source way”.

Imagine a global understanding towards expressing a desire and willingness to share, to collaborate with others transparently. Imagine an understanding where failure is seen as a means to improve, and where all of us are constantly looking to improve. Where we go out of our way to make others better at what they are doing.

For the last 9 months, I took a break from the confines of the server room, to join the Global Health Corps. I feel like GHC, in many ways, is open-sourcing a new kind of work force to fight global health inequalities. ICT experts, architects, accountants, public health specialists, fresh graduates, you name it – all of us can contribute to the global health equity movement. The solutions are no-longer churned out only in medical school, they are traversing the globe in all sorts of shapes and forms and careers.

This is the very core of the post 2015 agenda. The Sustainable Development Goal proposed for Health is – Achieve Health
and Well-being At All Ages – To achieve this Universal Health Coverage, there are 4 underlying principles to think about:

  1. The Life Course Approach
  2. Primary Health Care a Priority
  3. Action on Determinants Through Multi-sectoral Initiatives

The 3rd one is critical to the future of health care. We cannot leave the future of our health care to only “medical experts”. We all need to roll up our sleeves and dive in.

Household Sanitation is not going to be the preserve of the Village Health Team, that is yours to deal with, that;s for you to teach the little ones. Out-of-pocket spending on health care, as a measure of household incomes – that is for health economists and policy analysts to decipher. Drug stocks, lets get managers into health facilities to streamline business processes to near perfection, and lets get more doctors into the labour suite – no mother should die while delivering, let alone, without the hands of a skilled health worker. And lets get Architects to build ‘healthy’ buildings; accounts, to manage facility and sector grants.

Lets get you to find how you can be a part of this process, and when we all curve out our niche, lets do it the open source way.

The Open Source way means we all commit to play an active role in improving the world, which is possible only when everyone has access to the way that world is designed. The world is broken in many places, but, together, we can all design the best parts of the world, and open source them to the utmost end of the world.

The world is full of “source code”—best practices, blueprints, guidelines, recipes, rules —that shape the way we think and act in it. I believe this underlying source code (whatever its form) should be open, accessible, and share-able!

Now.

 

I Do.

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I Do. In school, my teacher used to call it Present, Simple, Tense.   It has got to be shorter than the famed scripture “Jesus wept.”  Unlike the events recorded in the bible, when we say I do, generally our results don’t walk out of a grave wrapped in clothes, ours, mortal men, take a life time.

iDo

When I first said I do, nearly 6 years ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. Bliss? Hell? Thankfully for me, I have enjoyed every minute of it, I would do it all over again. But not so many people say I do and live to enjoy it.

You see present tense means its right here, right now. You are alive in the moment and you do. But this short sentence also has no time frame, so I wonder, would my English language teacher call it Present continuous tense? When you say I do, you literary remove every notion of time – you do, and for as long as you live, you continue to do. That’s what I do means. No wonder, its aptly followed by – you guessed it – till death DO us part! That’s why death is with us, now and forever.

“…Though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil…”

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Global Health Corps – #GHC

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So am all packed up and ready to head home – after 15days at the GHC Training Institute, hosted at the famed Yale University. This past few days, my cheese has moved, in interactions with great people like Barbara Bush, Havard Business School’s Rob Kaplan, and Phil Wilson of the Black AIDS Institute.

And my life has been dramatically changed! I am a Global Health Corp – or rather, simply put:

I belong to a community of young passionate leaders who, now more strongly than ever before, share a common belief that Health is a Human Right. And I believe that I have my own share of the work to use social justice to being about Health Equity.

I embrace the philosophy of active problem solving, and engaging global partnerships in order to bring about real and sustainable change. I need the complete spectrum of life itself, in skills, experiences, and perspectives from people like you in order bring about a serious change in global health.

Architects, Nurses, Computer Scientists and people like You from allover the world – break down walls to unite and enact expertise from all disciplines and backgrounds. Together, we support Global Health Equity Movement.

I am a Challengers, I am a Thinkers, and I am a Change Maker. I am, a Global Health Corp.

More about Global Health Corps

 

My Reactions to the #MediaSiege

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So, today Uganda Government Media Centre, released a statement on the Closure of Daily Monitor and The Red Pepper. In my simple mind, I still need the Minister to explain a few things – – in simple lay man’s language:

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