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A FIRESIDE CHAT AND A MIND CHANGING PERSPECTIVE

This is my video on YouTube recorded on my phone of a fireside panel I moderated for The Media Challenge initIative late February this year. Faced a few difficulties but I hope it works.

If that video is not impressive, here is another to substitute it. also recorded on my phone.

This is my audio reciting my favourite Elif Shafak TED TALK; the revolutionary power of diverse thought. She is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 50 languages. Her latest novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and chosen Blackwell’s Book of the Year. Her previous novel, The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by BBC among 100 Novels that Shaped Our World. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne’s College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow.

MRS. OBAMA, THE MODERN HELLEN OF TROY

Michelle Robinson Obama in her early days as the first black First Lady of the United States of America. 2009

Michelle Obama commonly known as M.O. is an American lawyer and writer who was married to Barack Obama, the first black American President elected in 2008 to 2016. Michelle was raised in Chicago and graduated top of her class from Princeton University and Harvard Law. Michelle is passionate about social justice, infant obesity, fitness and girl child empowerment mainly through education. Below is a clip of her speaking about the power of education.

‘When it comes to social media, there are just times I turn off the world, you know. There are just some times you have to give yourself space to be quiet, which means you’ve got to set those phones down.’

Mrs. Obama has written an autobiography entitled ‘Becoming’ which has won international awards for it’s raw honesty. The enlightening book was recently translated into an audiobook for her fans to experience.

THANK YOU FOR WATCHING MY DEARS.

My favorite quote from Michelle reads; “when they go high, you go low”

AN ARTICLE I WROTE FOR THE FRENCH EMBASSY

Anthea is an avid reader and writer

ANTHEA IN HER THINKING TIME
ANTHEA IN HER THINKING TIME

THINGS I LIKE TO DO

  • SWIM
  • EAT
  • READ
  • WRITE
  • OBSERVE

Children’s nutrition vis-à-vis development; Are urban mothers delivering it?

childhealth

By Anthea Ibembe. 

“I intend to dedicate my medical practice to pediatrics. If urban mothers could be more aware of the junk, they are putting in their babies’ bodies these days from the formative years, maybe we’d see why we have so many sick adults.” says Denis Gidoi a fifth-year medical student at Makerere University currently interning at Smile Pharmacy in Makerere Kikoni.

It makes perfect sense that full body development is linked to childhood nutrition. According to the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey, the standard unit for proper growth is weight for age and this ought to be most keenly monitored between the ages of 0 months to two years. The child should be getting enough calcium which is essential for bone development that contributes to a steady height for age measurement.

Kaitesi Elizabeth, a first-time nanny of a 5-month-old boy says that she only recently began to wean the baby. She weaned him off with mashed potatoes, milk and avocado. Her rationale for doing so is that these foods contain the combination of nutrients he needs to develop quicker. She expressed her discontent with artificial baby foods like milk formula and cerelac. Milk formula she argues, when ingested alongside breast milk, causes constipation. She therefore strictly advised mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively until at least six months. Her other strong disagreement was towards Cerelac and processed baby foods saying they create a sweet tooth in babies which makes them reject salty foods thus affecting their appetite at the formative stage.

Nankwanga Freda, a mother of three ranging from five years to ten months on being asked about the ease of enacting dietary recommendations for her children says it is an extremely challenging task as you’ll find that the five year old will have to feed differently from the youngest who is ten months because of their different dietary needs because of the curiosity and also the labour it takes into preparing three separate meals twice a day. Freda’s submission is that greasy foods are the root cause pre-teenage obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes among other weight related disorders.

She said her and fellow mother group of young mothers support each other by reminding one another to give the babies rice or maize porridge for breakfast, feed them soft salt-free foods every four hours and sugar-free fresh pressed juice all while breastfeeding to ensure healthy development.

MONEY ON YOUR MIND BUT WHAT IS IN YOUR MIND?

Mental

More popular than it should be in all societies across the globe, is the stigma around mental health and inadvertently the dishonesty about it. The suppression of and redirection of efforts from internal struggles to (at best) productive work and at worst self-destructive habits is seen to be the symbol of strength. It may seem a bit far removed from you and your surroundings but it is important to note that one in four people on earth are prone to mental illness and the twist in this is that the symptoms are often times well masked so it becomes difficult to know who of your three close friends to watch out for more keenly.

Seven out of every ten university students interviewed for this survey asserted that they are more comfortable staying silent about issues that unsettle their minds as long as they continue to appear normal. Where does such a mentality stem?

Earlier in January, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, among other high level dignitaries held a rather unorthodox conversation for royals who are formatted to be perceived as emotionally immovable. The Duke pointed out that the silence about mental health issues stems from the war times when most of everything from the world economies, to diplomacy, to health and social life was in shambles. At such a time, it only made sense that conversations about what hurts inside the mind stay right there and accidentally this culture was passed down to generations leading up to ours.

This is an information I find rather important because as we propose and execute solutions to a problem that costs the global economy to the tune of 2.5 trillion dollars annually, understanding the roots of it makes quarter the solution. Having this conversation at such a platform gives mental health as a fundamental segment of overall heath the prominence it deserves at widely broadcasted conventions.

After we understand the root of the problem, we move onto the practicality of the solutions. This blogpost seeks to identify social entrepreneurs as I would like to think of them, who have invested time, research and effort into ensuring the inside of their community’s minds are alright so that the people in the community can indeed only have “money on their minds”.

A sample space of a university community as a somewhat controlled but mostly liberal environment was used to assess how community members perceive guidance and counselling as a solution to the turmoil inside. Mr. Henry Nsubuga, the Head of the Counselling and Guidance Department at Makerere University speaks;

This goes to show that the solutions are in place but because people are unaware of the severity of the problem which includes a maniac state, suicide, terrorism and in the most cyclical and common practice, mental torture of people around the mentally unstable person which in turn may torment them to hurt others the same and the carousel does not stop turning from there on.

On a larger but more specific platform, I identified an institution that has taken a voluntary and bold step to address mental health challenges in Africa. Strong Minds Uganda located on Bukoto road was founded in 2013 and with the help of over 520 trained Peer facilitators, Strong Minds focuses on treating depression among women through intervention and group based Interpersonal Psychotherapy programs. Simply put, peer facilitators are trained “friends” to the victims of depression being treated and offer solace through efforts like talk therapy which is tailor-made to the symptoms of depression in their daily life. From its inception up until February 2109, has been able to reach and treat more than 43,000 women battling with depression including 150 refugee women

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This course of treatment mimics a course also taken by Zambian physciatrist that handle trauma victims and tailor make healing strategies for each patient in accordance with the intensity of their pain.

Strong minds is an institution of interest in this respect for it offers assistance to the part of society that has gotten mighty fond of bottling feelings down and yet is the backbone of every economy. Women are known to be the more loyal and industrious workmanship thus capitalism thrives off them but who is really taking care of them.

One would be disappointed to find that only less than 1% of national budgets world over are dedicated to remedying these troublesome issues of the mind and yet a great deal of budgets spills over into less important sectors yet none is as important as the mind.

Dr. Joyce Ocen, a Ugandan counsellor with a decade’s worth of experience in trauma, GBV and HIV/AIDS counselling on a phone interview when asked about the state of mental health awareness in Uganda,

“I must tell you we have a long way to go. Many of the people here don’t even know they are hurting. They think they are being brave, working hard and sacrificing for their families. I think workplaces should have a regular mental health alongside physical health assessment. A workforce that is well on the outside but unwell on the inside ends up being inefficient. To supplement this, in the western world for example, just like there is an in-house counsel, there should be an in-house counsellor. This is the future as regards to solutions for mental health challenges that arise from constantly working. If we don’t recognize that our society is broken on the inside, it will crack on the outside and we will still wonder why.”

THE COURT DAY THAT NEVER HAPPENED

IMG_6014.jpgBy Ibembe Anthea

I will call this day as The Day of Kampala Road. Having had other engagements to attend to at our university, a colleague of mine and I decided to catch up later with the rest of the fellows and Media Challenge Staff for court day. Everybody has been pumped about court day since the emails with the program were sent a week prior to the third week of the fellowship. Every young journalist recognizes the gravity of being in such a fate-determining space.  Elvis and I are no exception, we rush through our presentation and sneak out hastily before the end of the lecture. We must get to high court before they leave! Nobody warned us though that walls of court swallow people. More importantly, nobody told us what particular chamber of court would swallow our fellows.

On Kampala road we swung, from the one end of Buganda Road where the magistrate’s court is. Taking wild guesses all through. Contemplating opening court chamber by court chamber but boy, the police at these places is intimidating. With little knowledge about the protocols governing phones in court, Elvis calls every fellow and every supervisor but none would pick.

Frustrated, we proceed to the high court which is next to the Magistrates court, go through all the thorough checking and registration, only to spend a total of twenty minutes lost in the corridors where our colleagues actually were behind closed doors, behind doors we could not locate the exact.

In the glaring afternoon sun and with all our pent up disappointment, we make our way to the Commercial court at the end of the street. Just for finality’s sake, we go through security checks less enthusiastically than the other two courts and even more reluctantly, pretend to look for the chambers where other fellows could be.

All hope is lost in us, we leave knowing we have missed the pioneer journalist opportunity to witness a murder case, a defilement case and a case all in one day. It does not help that other fellows don’t stop gushing;

“Oh! Court was so fun. You really missed out on this experience you guys.”

   I will call this day as The Day of Kampala Road. Having had other engagements to attend to at our university, a colleague of mine and I decided to catch up later with the rest of the fellows and Media Challenge Staff for court day. Everybody has been pumped about court day since the emails with the program were sent a week prior to the third week of the fellowship. Every young journalist recognizes the gravity of being in such a fate-determining space.  Elvis and I are no exception, we rush through our presentation and sneak out hastily before the end of the lecture. We must get to high court before they leave! Nobody warned us though that walls of court swallow people. More importantly, nobody told us what particular chamber of court would swallow our fellows.

            On Kampala road we swung, from the one end of Buganda Road where the magistrate’s court is. Taking wild guesses all through. Contemplating opening court chamber by court chamber but boy, the police at these places is intimidating. With little knowledge about the protocols governing phones in court, Elvis calls every fellow and every supervisor but none would pick.

            Frustrated, we proceed to the high court which is next to the Magistrates court, go through all the thorough checking and registration, only to spend a total of twenty minutes lost in the corridors where our colleagues actually were behind closed doors, behind doors we could not locate the exact.

            In the glaring afternoon sun and with all our pent up disappointment, we make our way to the Commercial court at the end of the street. Just for finality’s sake, we go through security checks less enthusiastically than the other two courts and even more reluctantly, pretend to look for the chambers where other fellows could be.

            All hope is lost in us, we leave knowing we have missed the pioneer journalist opportunity to witness a murder case, a defilement case and a case all in one day. It does not help that other fellows don’t stop gushing;

“Oh! Court was so fun. You really missed out on this experience you guys.”