“UGANDANS AT HEART “(UAH), is a free-to-join, non-profit making e-mail discussion forum that is secular, intellectual and non-aligned politically, culturally or religiously with over 30,000 members worldwide. It was started in 2007 and it is devoted to matters of interest to Ugandans and East Africans. People from Uganda have scattered to countries around the world. Most of the Ugandans in Diaspora like to maintain their African connections and values.
At UAH, we discuss political, social, economic, technological and healthy issues affecting Uganda as a nation. We’ve entered the political discussions to restore liberty and Uganda values. Through enlightening, we believe we can make the population aware that it is them -not the government-to decide on how to run their life, cheque book, retirement, education, and family.The overall goal of UAH is to empower Ugandans and shift power from the leaders to the people themselves or communities. Potter(1988) identified five factors which must be addressed if this goal is to be achieved: access, choice, information, redress and representation. We are equating the people here to consumers of products. UAH is therefore trying as much as possible to give information to Ugandans to help them make better independent choices.
Objectives of the ‘UAH’
- To promote better acquaintance, understanding, friendship and cooperation among Ugandans all over the world.
- To act as a link between Ugandans abroad and Ugandans at home.
1. Anyone who is a Ugandan by nationality can become a member. In this context, the term ‘Ugandan’ shall mean anybody born in Uganda or naturalized as a Ugandan citizen.
2. Anyone who loves Uganda or who has got Uganda at Heart can become a member. If you describe yourself as socially tolerant and fiscally responsible, you’re a Ugandan at heart.
The more than 30,000-strong UAH membership is an integrated federation of Ugandans all over the world. Anybody can become a member regardless of their political association, social status, tribe, religion, gender and clan.
The forum’s mission is to preach the gospel of the truth in our society. The forum does not officially fund any political party though members can do this individually.
UAH and political parties
The forum is neutral in matters of party politics. However, political parties and their supporters can always use it to fundraise for their own parties or politicians. The forum is not attached to any particular political party in Uganda and it welcomes all members of different political parties. In other words, every Ugandan is welcome to join this forum.
The forum does not:
* Endorse, discourage or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms. However, members can individually endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms. The owner of this forum is allowed to express his political opinions on an individual basis. Any official position of the forum must bear the expression suggesting that it is being issued on behalf of Ugandans at heart forum.
* Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader. However, the forum members can use it as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction over government decisions or policies on individual basis. Then it is up to the government to act on these thoughts or not.
The forum does:
* Encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections.
* Expect its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that members of the forum come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.
* Request candidates for office not to imply that their candidacy or platforms are endorsed by the Ugandans at Heart forum.
* Reserve the right as a group to address, in a non-partisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or those directly affect the interests of Ugandans.
Uganda discussions connect you with other Ugandans around the world to share your questions, insights, and views about important issues in the country. You get a chance to read what others are saying about hot topics, get knowledgeable answers, check out comparisons, and swap comments in our easy-to-use group discussions. Please share thoughts that you think will add to the discussion and help other Ugandans interested in that topic.
Debating is about developing your communication skills. It is about assembling and organizing effective arguments, persuading and entertaining an audience. Debating is not about personal abuse, irrational attacks or purely emotional appeals.
Argument is the process of explaining why a point of view should be accepted. It concerns the logic and the evidence supporting a particular conclusion. Use evidence (i.e. examples, facts, statistics, quotations of expert/public opinion etc.) to back up each point you make in your argument. Show how each piece of evidence is relevant and how it advances your argument. Make a point, give the reason for that point, and supply evidence to back it up.
The aim of this document is to give you an idea of how to discuss or argue at UAH forum without offending others. It’s not just a simple case of writing the first thing that comes into your head. There are certain rules and guidelines which have to be adhered to if you want to have any chance in a competitive discussion. This is not the document with all the answers. It is only a rough set of guidelines to help get you started. Everyone should try to find their own strengths and failings. In general most discussions should be conducted in English though we allow the use of one or two sentences in own local languages.
What shouldn’t I post?
Do not post:
- Profane or obscene, or spiteful comments
- Messages that abuse, denigrate or threaten others
- Any racist, sexist, discriminatory or otherwise harmful statements that are offensive
- Any personal information about children under 14 years old.
- Descriptions that intrude on the privacy of another person, including revealing personally identifiable information such as their name or address
- Text that promotes illegal or immoral conduct
- Repeated posts that make the same point excessively
- Repeated unwelcome messages that harass or embarrass other members or participants.Please post items that will appeal to the widest numbers of our members.
- Any form of “spam,” including advertisements. Any body posting an advert will require the permission of the head moderator.
- Messages from other forums that break any of the rules of UAH.Private conversations or photos should be posted to private members
- Photos of members without their permission.If a member has posted his own picture in a thread or in a Salute, then this is considered giving permission. Otherwise, do not use their picture. Anyone posting another member’s picture without permission will be disciplined(start moderating their messages). When messages are moderated, they take longer to appear on the forum as we have to approve them first.However, posting photos of public figures is allowed on the forum without their permission. It does not matter whether they are members of UAH or not.
How do I start a new discussion?
On the UAH website or in a discussion forum, start a new discussion below the list of recently-active discussion titles. Once you click in the discussion topic text box, you’ll also see a box to enter the initial post. You can also do this by sending a new message to the forum email: Ugandansemail@example.com
Please do not use the forum for:
♥Advertising – other than short, informative notices about programmes and events of interest to Ugandans.If you intend to advertise on a weekly or monthly basis, you will need the permission of the moderator before you do so.
♥Questionnaires of any kind;
♥Requests for help with private MBA, PhD or commercial research;
♥Discussing the purpose and/or management of the forum, or the more general topic of how to run discussion forums. Experience has shown that such debate (discussion within a forum about its own purposes and organisation) is sterile and very off-putting for subscribers who joined to discuss the forum’s stated topics. The purpose of the forum is stated in its home page on the website; these rules set out the way it operates. The rules are enhanced from time to time and we welcome suggestions for changes to the rules or indeed the purposes of the forum, but please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org not to the forum. Please help us maintain the overall quality and interest of the main topic discussions by avoiding “why are we here?” types of debate in the forum itself!
* Promoting terrorist activities or anything that may lead to genocide anywhere in the world.
General Guidance – Good Practice
- Please only send messages in plain text mode. This makes it easier for everyone to read and respond to your message.
- Only reply if you have something new to add – don’t send messages just saying “I agree with Patrick Otto” or similar – unless Patrick Otto is isolated and really needs support. Silence is generally taken to imply agreement!
- Reply to the forum not to the sender of the message – messages to the UAH forum are intended for public discussion. Your email package should pick up the “Reply to:” line in the message header or you may need to change the reply address, but you should always reply to the forum unless you have something personal and private to say to the sender. The forum address is: Ugandansemail@example.com . But you have to join before the forum will accept your messages.
- Keep your messages within the general topic area of the forum
- Special note: Announcements- Announcements of local and national events etc are welcome but please send only the very basic details and include date, place, topic, type of event, and where to get more details
6. When replying to a message please use the same “subject” line so that people will find it easy to follow the “thread” of a topic.
▪If you are introducing a new topic choose a new subject line that makes the subject of your message clear to all.
▪Always choose a new subject line when your reply moves the topic away from what most people would expect from the existing subject line or when you have replied to the same subject line more than twice.
7.Use plain English – remember that people from 80 or more countries may be trying to make sense of your message. Some of them may not be completely fluent in English. Please refrain from using a language people don’t understand in your messages.
8.Be thoughtful and generous in your response to other people’s messages – try to consider what might be useful in what they are trying to say even if you disagree with it.
9.Never be rude or dismissive about someone’s messages – if you have any complaints about other people’s behaviour take it up with the forum manager rather than trying to deal with it yourself. Being rude or dismissive leads to “flaming”. Even if it doesn’t, it makes lots of forum participants very uncomfortable, not only the person you are being rude about!
10.Always sign your messages – please add your name at the end of your message, in the way you would normally introduce yourself, for example:
Best wishes, Mulindwa Edward
This helps to make the discussion friendly, since people can then say “I agree with Mulindwa that . . . ” or “Hello Mulindwa, thanks for your useful comment. My own view is that . . . “.This is particularly important if your name isn’t clear from your email address.
▪ if you have a particular reason for needing to remain anonymous, it is very fine and let members know.
▪ Please don’t make your signature block so long and please don’t add irrelevant material, especially advertising copy, clever formatting etc. All this does is increase the traffic level on the network and the forum server – if you want to impress people with your understanding and know-how, the best way to is through the relevant content of your messages!
CONSPIRACY THEORIES ON THE UAH FORUM
If anybody posts what one considers a ‘conspiracy theory’ , he or she is always exposed on this forum by some body else because we have got a lot of informed people here.For instance, when one says that ‘Obote never rigged the 1980 elections‘, there is always going to be two sides to this story and eventually the truth comes out.
Yes, I agree that some people enjoy spinning conspiracy theories. Perhaps they feel superior by believing they are “in the know” while others remain ignorant. Perhaps they like expressing themselves this way. What I know about conspiracy theories is that there is a great measure of truth in their claims.The truth is never far from these kind of theories but then again the truth would necessarily not be easy to accept by some people.
So,I suggest you do your own thinking instead of listening only to what you read on this forum. Of course, as a moderator, I try to post some of these opinions to the UAH blog and other sister blogs as a way of seeking other people’s opinions. Surely, in the end it helps people to reach their own conclusions and extend their knowledge about issues.
The most important thing to note here is that we(UAH forum) are not out to divide Ugandans but we’re out to share messages; dissect problems facing the country; seek solutions; bring Ugandans together and build a team that will run our country in future inishallah. We do this because we love our country.
More information can be found by joining UAH at: http://groups.google.co.uk/group/ugandans-at-heart or by contacting the head moderator at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members are individually responsible for whatever content they post on the forum. One can also join UAH on either Facebook or Twitter at:
Issues to do with Buganda are posted on our sister blog called: Ekitibwa Kya Buganda:
JJANGU ONKWEKULE BLOG:
This is an extension of the UGANDANS AT HEART forum(UAH). It has got a lot of reports on various issues for those interested in research:
Please share your audio with UAH at:
Alternatively, send the audio to email@example.com and then we will upload it on here.
WRITERS AND ‘ADVICE’ CENTERS
We would like Ugandans to voluntarily start writing about human rights and other various subjects which may be beneficial to Ugandans for the UAH (Ugandans At Heart) Community? One can do so at least once a week or month: come up with any topic of one’s choice and post an article on any day of the week they fancy.
We feel that teaching Ugandans about Human rights and other topics will foster consciousness-raising and empowering experience among the population that will eventually allow Ugandans to be open to some issues happening in our society. We are going to need UAH volunteers to do this job for us as part of our effort to build a true Uganda community on line. If whatever you write can have an effect on at least over 20,000 members of this forum, we shall consider this job done. All articles posted on different subjects will be posted on our so many blogs for the consumption of those who are not yet subscribed to the UAH forum and the future generation that will come after you inishallah. Meanwhile, other members should find ways of critiquing whatever is posted on the forum, and they should do so with a lot of respect under the guidance of UAH rules. I mean, we should respect the UAH rules and guidelines in the process of our arguments.
Let us also remember that we have got a lot of university students following what we do on this forum. The media in and outside Uganda is also interested in some of our stuff here. So it is very important that we try to put in some effort in whatever we post on this forum despite lack of enough time due to ‘KYEYO’ demands.
Some of the topics we are looking at include:
1. Problem Solving
3. Oral re hydration
5. Leadership skills
6. Feasibility studies for income generating local projects
7. Project management
8. Human rights
9. Women and Men’s Health
10. Early childhood development
11. Sustainable natural resource management
12. Climate change
13. Kampala Politics in general
14. Community empowerment
For members, just post the articles directly to the forum or to the moderator. For non-members of UAH, articles should be posted to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com . Please, I expect full cooperation from everybody on this as we try to turn UAH into a real Uganda Community that will have more effect our kids now or in the future.
UAH is one of the many self-help groups online -that is made up of Ugandans in and outside the country, but come together for mutual support and to share experiences, information, ideas and ways of coping under different situations. We are not motivated by profit in whatever we do and encourage authenticity of whatever is posted on the forum. Membership to UAH is defined by either self-declaration (if one wants) or mutual agreement (by subscribing through email address), but not by subscription fees. Our discussions are frank and open as possible. So we are not a ‘gossip’ forum or community.
Benefits of UAH membership:
• Reducing depression,
• Increases self esteem especially among regular contributors,
• It’s a platform for more personal contact with fellow Ugandans and those with power. It bridges the gap between: leaders and the people they lead, and Ugandans abroad and those inside the country.
• Increases skills in IT, debating, problem solving and Conflict management, people skills in general, e.t.c- through regular contributions and reading other people’s messages,
• Gives a comparative perspective on one’s own problems,
• One gets information and news bulletins on a regular basis,
• Making new friends and expanding one’s social network,
• Fundraising for national causes,
Basically, we encourage all Ugandans to join us in one way or the other through facebook, Google, twitter, digs, yahoo, blogs, e.t.c. Those who are already members, we thank you, but you have got a responsibility to help other people make a decision about membership to UAH.
Finally, we request Ugandans through their respective capacities to pressurize the government to start up ADVICE CENTRES in different parts of the country which will ultimately be one of beneficiaries to the literature published on various websites or blogs. For instance, in the UK, they have got Citizens Advice Bureaus that help to give out advice and information about different concerns from individuals in the community. I think we should start something similar on a voluntary basis. Religious leaders could help champion this cause at the beginning before it is adopted by others.
UAH would love to expand itself into a print newspaper or magazine with its own radio station in future. We would love both the newspaper and radio to be based in Uganda but the management has got no money at the moment. Therefore, the management requests anybody interested in helping to finance this project to contact the head moderator as soon as possible at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We would appreciate any ideas or contributions that can make these projects a reality rather than just a dream.
UAH planned to start up a Ugandans at Heart Foundation in 2007 but the idea stalled again basically due to lack of finances and commitment from some members.The main aim of the foundation was to participate in economic development of Uganda by being involved in various developmental projects around the country.
We are still looking for volunteers or business angels who can help us technically or physically in implementing the above ideas. The foundation or newspapers or radio is not a replacement for the Ugandan-at-heart forum in any way.
ABBEY KIBIRIGE SEMUWEMBA