Lango Web

The Independent Voice of Lango, Northern Uganda, since 2007

Papers not presented

This section contains papers submitted but not presented at the conference: 


Lango in the 21st Century: A 40 Year Plan for Prosperity and Posterity of a People, by Joe Nam, a Journalist and Development Communications Specialist 


Realising the Right to Education in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda by Judith A. Oder, a Lawyer with INTERIGHTS’ Africa Programme.


How information access and the media can empower communities in Lango sub-region, by Robert Olet Egwea, Information Management and Community Development Specialist 


Challenges in education – improving education in Lango sub-region, by Charles Wana Etyam, Wana Consultants


Lango Environmental concerns by Partick Ogwal Elor


The role of Diaspora Students and Youths in Development of lango Sub-region, Uganda, by Geoffrey Odur

Joe Nam

Lango in the 21st Century: A 40 Year Plan for Prosperity and Posterity of a People, by Joe Nam, a Journalist and Development Communications Specialistt


The population of Lango is estimated at 1 million people with 98% living in Northern Uganda, 1.5% in other urban areas of Uganda and about 0.5% living in the Diaspora.


There is a consistently low level of development for Lango and northern Uganda as a whole as evidenced in UNDP report and other independent reports that places Northern Uganda at the bottom places in human development indices, year by year. The background of such deprivation is driven by historical events dating back over 70 years, and subsequent events that have tended to perpetuate the “underdog status” of Northern Uganda in comparison with the rest of Uganda.


After independence, the post independence government led by Milton Obote, driven by the then principle of nationalism did not exploit the opportunity to use the affirmative action to correct national imbalance for fear of tribalism and undermining national cohesion. Lango thus remained underdeveloped under Obote’s 1 & 2 governments. Other governments/regimes did little to change the situation in Lango. With the shift of power from North to West under the current NRM government, the Langi accepted the political reality and did not perpetuate an armed rebellion against the government.


The relative progress in Lango evidenced by growth of commerce and property is a testament to the hard work and determination of the Langi to triumph over adversity. Prosperity should be consolidated through a new non-partisan approach to development with land reforms as the core.


Through a bold initiative of land reform, we will lose land as individuals but gain as a community; instead of hoarding land and keeping it idle, our land will become asset delivering economies of scale; human development and growth of intellectual capital will flourish.


Since new to Lango, land reform will be frightening to some people but may be supported by forward looking people. Accordingly, resistance may arise due to fear of the unknown; fear of losing land; fear by the big land owners; resistance from the conservative elites bent on preserving the old model of land ownership and keeping the status quo; political distortion among others.


Recommendations from Joe Nam’s paper


(a)  A non-partisan approach for recovery and prosperity is highly recommended in order to reverse our fortunes for the better of the new generation. 

(b)  A significant foundation to trigger growth and prosperity of our people in the short, medium and long run is through a bold and comprehensive land reform programme. The land reform would sort land ownership and use from small holding peasant farming (subsistence) to modernized-mechanized agriculture for local and international market.

(a)  The way forward is to appoint a committee to review the feasibility of land reforms report and back to our community.

Judith Oder

Realising the Right to Education in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda by Judith A. Oder, a Lawyer with INTERIGHTS’ Africa Programme.


This paper seeks to analyse some of the main current challenges facing education in a region emerging from a long period of conflict against the country’s constitutional and international obligations. Some of the challenges are as follows:


  • In 1996 the government launched Universal Primary Education (UPE) a policy initiative to remove direct fees for primary school-attending children. However, despite the government’s contribution, parents still have to pay for school materials, uniforms, Parent Teacher Association fees, and lunch and building fees.

  • Universal Secondary Education launched recently eradicates fees for secondary education, but under the policy the government will not cover boarding and meal costs and the education ministry is relying on private schools, parents, donors, and innovative strategies to fill in the gaps.

  • Children in Lango face a number of barriers – economic; physical, psychological – which hinder their ability to access the state school system.

  • Many children have been orphaned or have been forced to become the heads of their households, engaging in work.

  • Children returning from captivity as a result of conflict are too old to enroll in age appropriate grades in the formal schools and, in addition to their domestic responsibilities, often have psycho-social difficulties that hamper their effective participation.

  • Girls in particular have problems accessing education. In internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, where people generally have no money to pay for schooling, if a child does go to school (as per the practice across the country) it will tend to be the boy who attends. Due to the household responsibilities they must carry out, girls who are sometimes older when they begin are behind from day one.

  • There is a shortage of teachers in remote areas and teachers lack skills to proficiently manage large classes. A large proportion of available teachers are unqualified, poorly motivated, and ill-equipped with most of them residing far from schools with the result that they are perpetually late or absent from work.

  • Schools lack instructional materials for infant classes and for children with disabilities. Children sit on floors due to shortage of desks. The result is that after seven years of compulsory education many students still lack basic numeric and literacy skills.

·         The impact of the armed conflict led to a wide variety of human rights abuses of children including abduction, killing, sexual abuse, displacement, psychosocial and physical traumatisation.

·         Children’s attainment of requisite learning competencies is poor and school attendance is erratic, with either too few children attending or too many, often leading to problems of over-crowding due to lack of resources.


·         Schools lack feeding arrangements and safe water and do not provide children with opportunities for play and recreation.


Recommendations from Judith Oder’s paper


(a)    The Ugandan government should respect its international obligations by playing a leading role in enforcing the right to education for children in its post conflict northern region rather than relying on local and international organisations.

(b)    The various education stakeholders – national and local government, international aid organisations – need to surmount the economic and psychological barriers affecting children’s attendance and participation at school, although this is beginning to be addressed by some local and international organisations through specially tailored programmes (e.g. Save the Children).

(c)    In addition to greater resources the other key issue that must be addressed is child protection which has been undermined by displacement, poverty and conflict related insecurity. This includes issues of child abduction, abuse and molestation by militias and rebel forces, and sexual abuse and cruel treatment of children, including in school.

(d)    Other critical protection issues that need to be dealt with include: heavy domestic chores and children assuming adult roles such as heading households, harsh enforcement of school discipline including corporal punishment and lack of separate remand facilities for children in conflict with the law, as well as hunger deprivation.


Robert Egwea

How information Access and the media can empower communities in Lango sub-region, by Robert Olet Egwea, Information Management and Community Development Specialist 

Access to information is defined as an individual’s ability to acquire information held by public authorities. It is a right that is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of Uganda. Article 41 of the Constitution of Uganda grants all citizens the freedom of access to information. Since 1995 when the current constitution was enacted, parliament has never legislated on this fundamental human right. Access to information is a vital tool in fighting corruption and a pre-requisite of a transparent system of government.

People who have sufficient access to information and are enabled to use information effectively are better placed to promote development in their community, but people who do not have access can become marginalised. The situation is even worse for people who have underdeveloped mass media, like the people of Lango.


The main sources of information in Lango sub-region are 6 FM stations, 2 English language newspapers (New Vision and The Monitor) and one bi-weekly government owned local language newspaper (Rupiny) - all  published in Kampala. There is no public library in the whole sub-region. Even schools hardly have books in their libraries. There are only two local tiny TV stations which cover about 5 km radius in Lira Town and their programs are sporadic.


The absence of locally published newspapers and magazines in Lango sub region implies that matters affecting the people’s lives are not being properly recorded or disseminated. For instance, an account of what happened in Barlonyo in 2002 is so scarce. This is because verbal information such as the ones from radio & TV broadcasts gets easily forgotten and once forgotten it is gone for good.


Recommendations from Robert Egwea’s paper


·           Establish a Lango publishing house to print newspapers, magazines and books in leb Lango and other languages


·           Introduce district mobile information units that can reach out to remote rural areas. Each unit should be stocked with a variety of books, newspapers, magazines and journals, and equipped with modern ICT for public use.


·           Set up in each sub-county a community information resource centre stocked & equipped like the mobile units mentioned above. 


·           Ensure communities are able to effectively access and use information by providing appropriate training right from the grassroots. 


·           Link the region’s information network to the national framework while ensuring professional management of the network.


Charles Wana

Challenges in education – improving education in Lango sub-region, by Charles Wana Etyam, Wana Consultants


Knowledge is the key to development. Education is the key to knowledge. If you deny someone education, the amount of knowledge he/she can acquire on his own for a meaningful development is very limited and can only condemn him/her to perpetual poverty or a life of dependency. This is the main reason why many of the countries that were at the same economic level of development as Uganda in 1962 at our independence have surpassed us more than ten times, e.g.  Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Ghana, and Korea. 


The Langi have been at the centre of history of Uganda. No amount of effort to re-write the history of this country will erase historical facts no one can change. We have had more than a fair share of the turbulent past of Uganda. This has inevitably permeated in all aspects of life; education inclusive.


However, today the performance of our schools is below national average. At Primary level, Grade I pass rate is no more than 2% while the failure rate is at about 20%. National averages are about 7% and 10% respectively. The situation is no better at other levels (O’ level, A’ level and Junior Technical Examinations). The statistics for admission into Public Universities on Government sponsorship has been equally poor.


For the year 2007/08 out of the 1399 students with Lango origin only 82 (5.9%) were admitted on merit with additional 55 (3.9%) on District Quota. The merit admission reflects a 3.5% admission into Public Universities. These figures contrast significantly with performances some thirty years ago when Lango sub-region sent nearly 10% to Universities on Government sponsorship.


Since the onset of insecurity in Northern Uganda that resulted in the tremendous decline of security and economy, there have been two major interventions by Government in Northern Uganda that were aimed at reconstructing the infrastructure and the community – NURP and NUSAF, both of which seem to have been dodged by the scourge of corruption that has engulfed our society. There is plenty of evidence to show complicity on the part of almost every stakeholder: central government staff, project staff, local government leaders and community.


What is being alleged/said about the implementation on NUSAF in the public and private is a very sad chronicle of corruption in Lango sub-region and we can not politicize or trivialize them because evidence is there to see where work is not delivered.



Recommendations from Charles Wana’s paper


In order to uplift the standard of education in Lango sub-region, it is recommended that:


(a)    Everybody holding a public office, including headmasters and businessmen who get contracts with government, should desist from unprofessional conduct, perform work as prescribed and earn money honestly so that we can all develop.


(b)    Districts should reestablish bursary and scholarships’ schemes for the bright students and the bright and needy ones-this will motivate students to work harder and assist the poor;


(c)    Districts must allocate/facilitate the District Inspectors of Schools to do their work effectively;


(d)    Management of school finances must be open and transparent where both the teachers and parents know how money comes in and how money is spent;


(e)    Selection of Members of Boards of Governors should limit members who are likely to be dependent on school finances for attendance/participation in school work/meetings;


(f)      PTA Executives should be members who volunteer their services and do not need to drain school of their meager funds;


(g)    Code of conduct amongst teachers should be publicized;


(h)    PTA and Boards of Governors should strive to provide accommodation to teachers;


(i)       A way should be found to institutionalize dialogue and support from the Langi and their well-wishers in Diaspora;


(j)      Religious and traditional leaders (including clan leaders) should work to establish community awareness and sensitization; and code of conduct for children;


(k)     Commercial brewing and consumption of alcohol should be banned in all school premises;

(l)       Parents should demand from the sub-county officials to know how Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) funds are being used by schools;


(m)   Business community should take more interest in education because better welfare comes as a result of higher income that works to their advantage;


(n)    Individuals should be encouraged to start endowments/scholarship schemes that target interest groups of their choice;


Patrick Ogwal

Lango Environmental concerns by Partick Ogwal Elor


The environment of Lango is seriously under threat due to:


(a) Population explosion: The population of Lango has been increasing as follows: 1969 (475,800), 1980 (630, 690), 1991 (910, 550) and 2002 (1,385, 480).


Least densely populated area is along the Lake Shores and Eastern parts of Lira districts due to cattle rustling and insurgency. The rapid population growth in Lango sub-region is due to high fertility rate associated with poverty and high childhood mortality rate. Population explosion coupled with marginalization and LRA war has given ride to high levels of poverty.


Poverty is a condition of chronic deprivation and needs at the family level. Poverty reduces human beings to a low level of existence. Poor people lack access to land and income to meet basic needs. A lack of basic needs results in physical weakness and poor health. Poor health decreases the ability of the poor to work and put them deeper into poverty. Instead of allowing poverty to persist in Lango, it is important to limit our number. At the moment, statistics show that over 70% of Langi lack adequate food, shelter, water, education and employment.


(b) Soil degradation: The Land clearance deforestation, agricultural depletion of soil nutrients and urban conversion. Other stresses on land include accelerated soil erosion by wind and water, soil acidification and alkalization due to poor farming methods, salivation and the destruction of soil structure including the los of organic matter. Severe land degradation has affected a significant portion of Lango land, decreasing the wealth and economic development of the sub-region.


(c) Deforestation: Deforestation results from removing trees without sufficient reforestation and results in declines in habitat and biodiversity, wood for fuel timber and buildings and quality of life. This is affecting the climate and geography of Lango and Uganda at large.


NOTES: Forests support considerable biodiversity, providing valuable habitats to wildlife and foster medicinal conservation and the recharge of aquifers. With forest biotopes being major, irreplaceable sources of new drugs, deforestation has destroyed genetic variations(such as crop resistance) irretrievably.


(d) Wetlands


  • Town areas – settlements and agricultural crops leading to more demand for water.
  • As a result springs and wells are drying up. Communities that depend on these are facing constant water problems.
  • Growing of Paddy rice – demands lots of water, putting pressure and draining wetlands.
  • Species of fish (rec amoli no longer seen), birds, insects, reptiles and medicinal plants have become extinct.

(e) Lake shores


  • Becoming overpopulated
  • Lakes shrinking in size due to human activities in catchments areas.
  • Number of fish decreasing and different species of fish become extinct due to
  • Over fishing and use of wrong fishing methods.

 Recommendations from Patrick Ogwal’s paper


(a)        Soil conservation- by natural method of fallowing, or the use of organic fertilizers to increase soil fertility.


(b)        Agricultural improvement – introduction of new crops preferably perennial crops with more yields per acre and more economic values


(c)        Restriction on encroachers - by introducing enforceable laws – issue of ‘Balalos’ should be addressed and settled once for all.


(d)        More economical use of land by investors – we must not lose our land to investors but hold land in perpetuity, that is, to be leased out for a specific period of time and returned after use – not speak the language of politicians


(e)        Population control: Overpopulation and continues population growth are making substantial contributions to environmental degradation and destruction in Lango. More public education is needed to develop more awareness about population issues.


(f)          Action plans and strategies should be developed to increase public understanding of how rapid population growth is limiting chances for meeting basic needs. The spirit of open communication and empowerment of women and men will be key to a successful solution to many population problems.


(g)        Collective vision about health-care, family-planning, and women’s education at community level will build a basis for action. Free and equal access to health care. Family-planning and education are desirable in their own right and will also help to reduce unwanted fertility.


(h)        Individual choice, human rights and collective responsibility are keys to allowing families to plan size and spacing of children. It is essential to achieve a balance between population and the available resources. Teachers, parents, other educators, politicians and other concerned citizens can practice how to make good decisions in everyday life.


(i)          Decisions about family size and resources in Lango Sub-region should be made now because it will affect future generations. Through community forums, specific issues about population growth can be discussed and possible action plans can be developed.


(j)          Workable plans for wetlands – Apac has biggest chunk of wetlands and the water level is high (incorporating cattle grazers, brick-makers, agriculture and horticulture and fishing


(k)        Funding by government and NGO’S - and transparently managed to eradicate corruption.


Geoffrey Odur

The role of Diaspora Students and Youths in Development of lango Sub-region, Uganda, by Geoffrey Odur Akaki

The youth are defined as persons between age 14-24 (UN General Assembly) or 15-35 Years of age (Developing countries and African Countries). While a considerable number of youths and students from Uganda come to study in specialist programmes or higher education in Europe, America, Asia, Australia & New Zealand and Africa, the majority of these students remain abroad causing skills shortage at home.


The challenges faced by Diaspora students include: visa processing, getting gainful employment, social exclusion, discrimination, stress management, depression and adaptation to their new environment. There should be a focus on Diaspora students because they are a strategic asset in building Lango.  


Some of the sectoral needs in Lango sub-region are:


(a)     Encouragement of higher education

·         Having more graduates in scientific and technical education

·         Stemming of  human capital flight (Brain Drain)


(b)           Encouraging health & social services

·         Training of specialists doctors and other medical professionals


(c)     Encouraging scientific & technical development

·         Engage Langi scientists and Engineers in local development (Social Responsibility)

·         Encouraging acquisition of  technical skills and other skilled trades


(d)           Economic growth

·         Address poverty.

·         Ensure grass-roots development

·         Skilled manpower for effective public sector to create, maintain & enforce policies necessary for economic growth

·         Address effect of HIV/AIDS on Human resource depletion


(e)           Governance & democracy

·         Technical expertise to promote and sustain good governance

·         Development of civil society

·         “AIDS is the biggest threat to governance on the African Continent” (James D. Wolfensohn, the President of the World Bank Group)


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