July 17, 2011

AGYA Conducts Outreach on Lingira Island

 By: Kenny Mulinde

With a population of about 600 people, Lingira is one of Uganda’s largest islands on Lake Victoria. The most dominant economic activity on the island is fishing. The people depend on fishing for sustenance and to generate revenue because farming is not very viable due to rocky, infertile soil. According to a Lingira health advocate, the rate of HIV/AIDS on the islands is a staggering 80%. That is, of every 10 people, 8 are HIV positive. Other diseases like malaria are also prevalent. There is only one school and one health facility on Lingira Island, and people from neighboring islands also come to these facilities to learn and get medical treatment. Youth and children make up about 60% of the island’s population.  Only 20% of the youth attend school; nearly 40 % spend the majority of their time fishing to support their families.

Lingira island is associated with high rates of illiteracy, wide spread poverty and limited social and economic resources due to inaccessibility and isolation.

AGYA came to know about the challenges facing Lingira residents through the EDGE Project (Empowerment through Development and Gender Equality) which is a student group at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. AGYA has been collaborating with EDGE since AGYA Co-Founder, Divinity Barkley Matovu first met the UW-Madison student leaders in 2009 at the Annual Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting.

AGYA youth on the boat en route to Lingira.
Last year, AGYA’s Country Director, Abraham Matovu, traveled to the island with UW-Madison students to observe EDGE programs. On 24-26 June 2011, Abraham returned to Lingira with 8 youth. While there, AGYA youth facilitated dance, art, and sex education workshops with approximately 200 youth.

Despite all its challenges, Lingira is a very beautiful island with gorgeous scenery. In the middle of the Lake Victoria waters, Lingira Island is a place where everyone would love to be. Due to the positive response we received during the June 2011 workshops, AGYA plans to continue sending teams of youth from Kampala to provide outreach in Lingira. We hope, in the near future, to have a better Lingira with AIDS free healthy living and self reliant people.

Above: The AGYA team at Lingira!