Today, the Court announced that Princess Marie would visit Uganda as Patron of DanChurchAid next week. Read more below.
Princess Marie has been Patron of DanChurchAid since 2011. It is one of the association she works the most with during the year and she has been on humanitarian trips with them before. In 2012, she visited Cambodia to visit projects fighting hunger. In 2014, her visit to Ethiopia focused on growing new crops, access to HIV medicine and strengthening rights. In 2016, she visited Myanmar to learn about poverty reduction efforts.
DanChurchAid has been supporting poor communities in Uganda “with relief and long term development assistance since 1979, working in areas with increasing levels of inequality and exclusion based on income, geography, gender, age and displacement as a result of conflict and other disasters and harsh climatic conditions.”
During her visit to Uganda, Princess Marie will be joined by Secretary-General Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen and the organization’s local staff, as they will visit a number of DanChurchAid’s projects in and around Uganda’s capital Kampala as well as in the cities of Arua and Katakwi.
The program will start on February 26th as Princess Marie will visit the Raising Gabdho Foundation in Kampala. The Foundation works in collaboration with DanChurchAid to ensure that environmental and natural resources are protected and reused for the benefit of refugees in Uganda among other things. They have three strategic program areas to help the communities reach that goal : Clean Energy, Innovation and Livelihood.
One of the Foundation’s main project is focusing on how to end energy poverty in refugee camps : “Refugee communities in Uganda need energy to power their homes, schools and health clinics. Families need it for earning an income, for cooking and studying. Yet, in most refugee camps, electricity is scarce and expensive. The average displaced household will spend at least $200 per year on fuel. Lack of access to energy stops refugees from being able to rebuild their lives and keeps them reliant on aid. That’s where our sustainable energy projects come in.” They work with communities and organizations to identify problems and design pilot solutions for sustainable energy access and environmental protection. They also believe that sustainable cooking is a great way of saving energy while helping refugee women & girls to rebuild their lives.
On February 27th, Princess Marie will visit the DCA project “Fresh Fruit Nexus” in Arua. The project was developed by the Danish International Development Agency in Northern Uganda in 2018 and is administered by DanChurchAid. This five-year project was established in partnership with Nordic Fruit, UniCool, and Biofresh to “create more than 2000 jobs, boost local marked development and thereby provide substantial contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals.” Princess Marie will meet farmers and families who grow crops both for the local population, but also for Danish consumers.
The project also aims to improve livelihoods in one of Uganda’s poorest areas by supporting “the development of decent employment opportunities for refugees and host communities by training smallholder farmers to grow certified organic fruit for export through an effective cold chain. The partners involved in the project connect the entire supply chain from community mobilisation, organic production, fresh handling, cooling, and import to Danish supermarkets.” This also helps in reducing food waste which has been one of Princess Marie’s main focus in the past few years.
The project has four intended outcomes :
- Increased certified organic production and income for refugee and host community farmers.
- 2150 employment opportunities created, especially for women and youth, along the organic fresh fruit value chain, including on farms in post-harvest handling and transportation.
- Improved efficiency of fresh fruit supply and exports boosted/increased through an effective cold chain
- Several business partners and stakeholders in the food and agricultural sector integrate and apply international standards on responsible business conduct in practice
The association aims to replicate the project and take it to scale both in Uganda and other countries affected by refugee influx.
Princess Marie will then visit a refugee settlement in Omugo. During her visit, Princess Marie will meet refugee families who have been involved in a project on sustainable climate solutions for refugees in the districts of Arua, Yumbe and Kampala. As part of the project, DanChurchAid supports, among other things, the work of forming new forest areas. This settlement opened in 2017 and was the fourth refugee settlement in Uganda at the time.
On February 28th, Princess Marie will take part in a dialogue on the inclusion of villagers in sustainable development. DanChurchAid is working to promote the inclusion of villagers in a more equitable and responsible development in the Teso region. The work will be based on teaching and aimed at reducing corruption and securing basic rights. DanChurchAid collaborates with the Church of Uganda – Teso Dioceses Planning and Development Office (COU-TEDDO) on this project.
Afterward, Princess Marie will visit villages in the Teso region. She will meet farmers who are working to combat the consequences of climate change. DanChurchAid cooperates with the organization Soroti Catholic Diocese Integrated Development Organization (SOCADIDO), which provides assistance to self-help among the population. The project aims to give the villagers courses in gender equality, budgeting, vaccination of chickens, prevention of climate change and crisis management in the event of natural disasters. Princess Marie has been working with the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) since 2011 and is a special assistant for prevention of crisis for the Agency so crisis management in the event of natural disasters is also a big focus of her work over the years.
On February 29th, Princess Marie will have a meeting with young climate activists. DanChurchAid collaborates with the ACT Uganda Forum on various issues related to climate change so this is why Princess Marie will meet some of the young people who are fighting for climate justice to hear their views and learn more about their work. The ACT Uganda Forum is part of ACT Alliance‘s work. ACT Alliance is the largest coalition of Protestant and Orthodox churches and church-related organisations engaged in humanitarian, development and advocacy work in the world and DanChurchAid is a member of ACT Alliance. ACT-Uganda forum’s first joint development project on Climate change advocacy was launched in 2015 as part of a bid to advocate for climate change financing and preparations for the COP 21 due to be held in December 2015 in Paris. The project aimed to work toward disaster risk reduction using climate change adaptation approaches. In 2015, Uganda also launched the “ACT now for Climate Justice” Campaign, which asked the government of Uganda to deliver ambitious and fair climate change agreements during the international UN Climate change conference.
Afterward, Princess Marie will attend a reception hosted by the Danish Ambassador to Uganda Nikolaj A. Hejberg Petersen in his residence.
To end her visit to Uganda, Princess Marie will have a meeting with the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) on March 1st. DanChurchAid works with the Uganda Women’s Network to provide education for women with the aim of educating and supporting women’s opportunities to participate in both local and national political work. UWONET has three main areas of work:
Women’s Governance and Leadership
“To transform social beliefs, norms, practices, behaviors, and attitudes that perpetuate gender discrimination demands a well–coordinated, actively engaged and supported a critical mass of activism and diversity. Therefore, in the next five years, UWONET will focus on galvanizing the capacity of women in leadership including in elective (politics) and appointive positions (civil service and private sector), members, networks and allies for improved participation and collective action for GEWE by 2023.”
They have three objectives in this area of work:
- To coordinate strategic and programmatic actions that promote women’s participation and influence in leadership and decision making in politics, civil service, private sector and selected civil society.
- To strengthen the capacity of UWONET’s membership and the district women’s networks for strategic, programmatic and administrative interventions by 2023.
- To strengthen UWONET’s institutional capacity for strategic, programmatic and administrative interventions by 2023.
Women’s Economic Justice and Empowerment
“UWONET believes that Women’s rights to access, control and own productive resources individually and collectively needs to be reinforced by policy, practice, and enabling environments. The structural, institutional and socio–cultural barriers that hinder women from this pursuit should be challenged through economic and legislative reforms intended to recognize that women have economic rights which entitles them to share and own not only the products of their labour but also to have control over decisions intended to transform them economically. Economic, financial, labour and agricultural policies, laws and regulations should be reviewed, reformed and implemented to enable women not only access but also own and control economic resources and attainment of economic justice. While it is recognized that women contribute over 70% of the labour in agriculture they benefit 30% and control only 7% of the land(Watkins, 2007).”
They have three objectives in this area of work:
- Advocate for the implementation, review, and formulation of gender responsive trade policies, laws and regulations at national, regional and international level
- Advocate for increased women’s access, ownership and control of economic resources
- Strengthen capacity of civil society to engage, influence and demand for gender responsive policies and guidelines for equitable national resource allocation, distribution and management
Knowledge Management, Voice and Accountability
“This thematic focus will facilitate collaboration for strong women’s voice and visibility to demand for accountability, evidence based and user-friendly research, strengthen networking and information sharing on selected areas of focus and emerging issues during the strategic period. In the next five years, UWONET will continue advocating for the change of attitudes and mindsets towards the rights of women and girls, advocate for gender responsive laws and access to justice. The thematic area will have an emphasis on movement building.”
They have two objectives in this area of work:
- To challenge the negative cultural practices and advocate for the enforcement of laws and processes that protect women’s rights and access to justice.
- To strengthen networking and information sharing amongst stakeholders through women’s spaces.
Princess Marie will then fly back to Paris, France where she currently lives with her family. I expect that we might not get a lot of official photos of this trip – as is usually the case – but I will try to cover this trip and the associations and projects Princess Marie will visit as best as possible. I expect that Princess Marie will have more events in France and in Denmark in March but nothing has been announced by the Court yet.