The final stop on the Shot@Life trip to Uganda, Africa was a visit to the United Nations Headquarters in Kampala. We were given the opportunity to have a private meeting with Dr. Ahuna Ezaikonwa-Onochie, U.N. Resident Coordinator of Uganda Center, an eloquent and classy native of Nigeria. Dr. Onochie is a 16 year veteran of the United Nations, and has worked previously in both Lesotho, South Africa and Nigeria using her power and influence to fight for social good.
She was encouraged by the fact that Uganda is not exactly where it should be, but that they have come VERY far in human and natural resources, and on the verge of bursting open even further. Her goal is to make sure the people of Uganda are well served and protected with a focus on providing EQUAL child and maternal health resources. During her 4 year assignment, she will focus on ensuring issues of health and economic growth are addressed, and generate jobs so the people will be better off.
“Growth doesn’t necessarily mean elimination of poverty. But each community taking care of each other.” Remembering conflicts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya, Dr. Onochie is dedicated to ensuring Ugandans continue to work to promote peace talks in trade, regional integration, and health.
In the past, organizations have worked in a fragmented way, overlapping each other on the same common goals. Dr. Onochie is pleased to come to Uganda at a time where department heads have checked their egos at the door and are willing to work together. I believe the U.S. can use a lesson here.
In 1989, the war had just ended in Uganda. But surprisingly, there were no street children and women looked after 14 kids that didn’t belong to them. There was clearly a spirit of sacrifice. People showed their good will and spirit of community. Dr. Onochie feels Uganda is on the cusp of achieving this way of life again.
As we shared the emotional experiences of our 7 day journey, Dr. Onochie reminded us of the following about Uganda:
“We must not erase the spirit of this country.”
“The enemy of progress is feeling like you have no hope.”
I have no doubt there are many other Dr. Onochie’s living in the villages of Uganda. They simply need education and support to flourish! With a powerful and educated woman of excellence at the helm, Dr. Ahuna Ezaikonwa-Onochie is a shining example of a positive image for the women and girls of Africa!