The IHEYO Regional African Working Group Meeting and Training was held from the 25th till the 27th October 2013. The meeting was organized by IHEYO in Conjunction with HIVOS and HALEA.
The conference kicked off in high gears with representatives from the East African region countries; namely, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda. Uganda took the top lead in having several secular organizations participating in the conference.The Humanist Association for Leadership, Equity and Accountability (HALEA) was the main organizer of the event and hosted several local organizations who work under the umbrella of the Uganda Humanist Association.
The first day of the meeting involved a number of speeches and presentations, which surrounded the key activities being preformed by organizations within the IHEYO Regional African Working Group and challenges being faced by African Humanists. Activities ranged from: Kasese’s Free-Thought Libraries to providing aid to war victims in Gulu, Uganda; the initiation of a Humanist Orphans program in Kenya to the promotion of Women’s and LGBT rights in Uganda. A presentation from South Sudan told of how “Humanism has been deep rooted in the South Sudan army and that they are passing it to local Sudanese in an effort to debunk the prevailing superstitions and beliefs in magic.” Daniel Twesigye, a University student and representative from Rwanda, spoke about free thought in his country; he emphasized that Humanism was still a new thing for Rwanda and appealed for well wishers worldwide, asking for donations of Humanist literature, books, magazines, DVDs and other media that will help them to understand the philosophy with ease.
Video media was also utilized during the meeting. A recording of HALEA teens that promoted Humanism through music was presented. Other videos about witch hunting by Nigerian pastors and Boko Haram fundamentalists were played. There was one scary and horrible video showing the Boko Haram fundamentalists killing a Christian faithful by cutting her throat with a knife and beheading her. This exposes the atrocities committed on the African soil in the name of religion. The participants were not happy with this act and condemned it.
On the second day of the meeting the delegates had training on Human rights. MsKisubi Esther, a lecturer at KIU, and an accompanying Professor taught the participants about a number of issues surrounding human rights, including their history, the role of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the promotion of human rights, positive rights and negative rights and a mention of Human rights treaties and relevant documentation.
The Trainers emphasized the need for local NGOs to employ networking with local and international organization in their efforts to promote people’s rights. A mention was made about the hierarchy of rights. A German Expatriate working with GTZ, Ms. AnkeWeisheit, cited the most influential personalities on the African and western soil and stressed that “Ubuntu or living by the golden rules, Humanist values and ethics can bring peace, compassion and harmony to the world”.
In an effort to strengthen the smooth running of activities conducted within the Africa working group, a number of issues were discussed ranging from social networking, creating sustainable projects to take local organizations towards self reliance, fundraising strategies, lobbying, creation of more humanist schools, magazines, newsletters and setting up of a radio station to advance secular views.
Special thanks go to HALEA Uganda for the nice reception, care and conduct of the conference and the Member Organization pledged to work harder in our effort to make this world better for us all.
Thanks HALEA, thanks IHEYO, thanks HIVOS and thanks to all the organizations that participated in this conference.
Adapted from a Blog Article by Bwambale Robert., Kasese United Humanist Association
Read Bwambale’s more comprehensive summary of the events at the African Regional Meeting on the Kasese Humanist’s Blog: http://kaseseunitedhumanistassociation.blogspot.co…