Redeeming Lingira Island through Fanfare and Social Empowerment
By Mouris Opolot
Haunted by desire to re-structure the poor infrastructure and the ailing healthcare and education services at Lingira Island, Joanita Nakayiza through Lingira Island Foundation and partners held the Lingira Island Festival in 2017.
The prospects spilled by the first festival made organizers to make it an annual event and preps for the 2018 chapter are in high gear.
Themed “Redeem and Inspire Lingira”, the 2018 Lingira Island Festival will among others have music performances, narrative workshops on health and education, art exhibitions, football matches, cultural dances, musical performances, interactive art contests, bonfires, hill climbing, canoe rides among others.
Joanita Nakayiza hopes to draw several stakeholders to take up corporate social responsibility roles in areas of communication, governance, sport, art and culture, agriculture, health and education to bring about positive change and sustainable development in Lingira Island.
Faisal Ibrahim, one of the Lingiria Island Foundation partners with interest in sport development says the island settlers comprise of young children with hidden talents that could yield Uganda lots of dollars and medals once they are well nurtured and developed.
What the Lingira Island Foundation Intends to bring out of the 2018 festival
Sitting in an estimated 1,237 metres above sea level in Buvuma District of Central Uganda, Lingira Island will for the second time be home to the second edition of Lingira Island Festival 2018.
“Amidst excitement fun and happiness there is going to be a common good, the redemption that shall see lives of islanders in Lingira transformed,” Nakayiza affirms.
Education, access to safe water and better health services continue to elude most parts of rural and hard to reach Uganda. The Islands are among the top deprived settlements when it comes to social service delivery.
Dr. Charles Wamala from Eggwanero Life Saving Hospital worked with UHMG to deliver family planning services to Lingira Island in January 2018. He was appalled with cases of manageable diseases such as measles, malaria and diabetes. “We had to divert our emergency travel medicines to treat the locals,” he says adding that mass sensitization to fight malnutrition, UTIs and trachoma is much needed.
In collaboration with Lingira Island Foundation, Wamala hopes to take part in the 2018 Lingira Island Festival to help him finalize plans to set up a private not for profit health unit on Lingira island to address health service gaps.
Whereas government efforts sometimes yield less returns, inputs and undertakings such as those championed by Lingira Foundation would definitely constitute a push towards equitable growth and development.
In the area of sport, plans are being finalized to organize a tournament for local football clubs at the island. This is aimed at enhancing social interaction among locals, business community, corporate bodies and foreign visitors.
For the non-islanders, it is going to be a venturous three-day bazaar and to the islanders from across Buvuma District, the Lingira Island Festival is a union of islanders.
The fanfare, art exhibitions, born fires and music acts instigates business among visitors. The spending on foods and beverages, art pieces, boat riding and accommodation all boost the financial wellbeing of the locals. On average, a sightseer will likely spend Ushs. 50,000 per day through out the festival.
Activate pride among settlers
Instilling and nurturing a sense of pride amongst the locals will be one of the key objectives of the festival. To Lingira Island Foundation, there is no possible way to transform a society whose occupants don’t pride in it.
If the people of Lingira have pride about their cultural, linguistic, geographic and general mode of life, taking up initiatives spearheaded by government, corporate bodies and social foundations for their own benefit and better good is a sure do.
The participatory nature of the festival through cultural dances, painting contests, art exhibition, cookeries, music and drama, by locals helps preserve and promote local content for example weaving, Kiganda dance, foods and norms.
Educating the locals
As the entrepreneurial minds focus on how to eke an income out of the festival, health providers, micro finance advisors and security officials as well as tax authorities can take the roller-coaster get-together as an opportunity to educate the Buvuma publics on non communicable diseases, sanitation, cancer and adolescent health.
Islands are associated with poor saving culture, microfinance support organizations ought to extend their support and teachings to islanders for them to form and run Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOS).
Lingira Island proximity to Kenya makes it potential hub for illicit acts such as human trafficking and subversion. During the Lingira Island Festival, local councils and security bodies such as police can educate the locals on the importance of human safety in community transformation and growth.
The recent efforts by government to foster domestic revenue mobilization may as well be advanced through preaching to settlers tax compliance as a national responsibility whose outcomes are better roads, hospitals and ferries for much effective water transport.
Drum for sustainable resource use
The fertile vast soils in Lingira Island provide an avenue for smart farming entailing use of low cost irrigation technology to draw water from the bristling lake Victoria. Vegetable growing will also help fight malnutrition since most locals survive on fish for food. The alarming rates at which the vegetation is being lost calls for afforestation to mitigate climate change effects.
Foster Tourism Growth
In terms of tourism, many opportunities come in handy for Lingira. “The historical image of Lingira needs to be put into paintings and drawings, on walls and rocks,” EmmaKavuma one of Uganda’s powerhouse artists says.
He is partnering with Lingira Island Foundation to advance art at the island. His dream is setting up a technical art college to impart skills on local students. Kavuma will spearhead an art contest during the 2018 Lingira Island Festival to inspire local artists.
Other plans by Lingira Island Foundation include; human latrine biogas harvesting where the residue will be used as manure in the farms, setting up windmills to provide power to schools and settlers.The foundation calls upon telecom companies to expand their reach since the rich island has limited network connectivity.