By ARU Reporter
Talitha Kum Uganda Network (TAKUN) convened at Association of Religious in Uganda (ARU), Nsambya on February 19-23, 2023. The goal was to train and integrate the new and old members of Talitha Kum Uganda; to strengthen their networks and build synergies of religious institutes to combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and modern slavery in Uganda.
“The main objective of the workshop is to prepare the Religious Institutes to participate in the processes of combating human trafficking from an informed perspective.” The TAKUN Coordinator, Uganda, Sr. Mary Lilly Driciru, revealed.
In background review, Sr. Lilly added that, Talitha Kum Network started when ARU sent four sisters to attend Talitha Kum conference in Nairobi Kenya in 2011, which prompted the sisters in Uganda to get involved in anti-trafficking activities immediately after the training. However, the networking process has prolonged to take root due to circumstances beyond control.
In 2016, a representative from Uganda attended the second International Coordination Committee of Talitha Kum in Rome and the following year, the International Coordinator of Talitha Kum Sr. Gabriella Bottani, CMS, visited Uganda and ARU to support the organization of the Network. In 2018, the religious sisters in Uganda were able to organize an inter-congregational group of religious sisters working on this issue and establish the bases for a Uganda Network.
Representatives from ARU also attended the first General Assembly of Talitha Kum international in Rome, 2019. The team came back with the hope of igniting the fire of Talitha Kum Uganda. However, due to a non-functional committee, it could not take off as expected. Another big blow to the growth of the network was the offset of COVID-19 pandemic, (2020-21).
“This workshop is expected, among others, to forge a way forward. In addition, streamline the committee, activities and introduce the sisters of the Holy Cross as Fiscal Agents to propel TAKUN to another level.” The Coordinator noted.
The Secretary General, ARU, Sr. Lydia, in her opening remarks reminded the participants about Network Membership and the importance of staying connected. “With communication network in place, the task force for effective communication about charity works, health, anti-trafficking, care for the elderly and the like would ensure group sustainability and enable sharing of success stories and good practices.” She urged the religious communities to be proactive and open about discerning and combating human trafficking cases. Sr. Lydia further implored members to collaborate and attract more institutes to fight this evil.
The Leadership of TAKUN noted that, they would do the needful to uphold the network through strengthening the internal collaboration and networking of the sisters in the shared mission of the church. They would expand and strengthen external networking with organizations on key human development issues. And increase service delivery of the sisters in their respective ministries through teamwork and shared vision.
TAKUN hopes to enhance continuous education to Families and Communities on the misuse of workforce and human trafficking, facilitate the generation of collective data that will demonstrate and highlight the collective impact of the sisters’ ministries. Empower survivors of human trafficking, promote awareness creation through the media and other platforms to combat human trafficking, amplify advocacy on critical elements of human development and share experiences and best practices with one another if the network is to flourish in its activities.
The three-day workshop discussed various topics. Among others, it tackled the evil of Human Trafficking in Uganda, gave a platform for the Survivors testimonies, success stories, challenges and plans of the original group Talitha Kum, with experiences of network collaborators, connectivity and network of Talitha Kum International, Regional and National expectations and plans of Uganda situation. Internal Human Trafficking, the case of Karamoja, participating Institutes also shared their experiences in terms of TIP, Research updates, and the role of the media in TIP and a presentation about TAKUN, building synergies were shared.
Thirteen Institutes of Consecrated Life attended the workshop, which culminated in selecting a new committee. These include; Talitha Kum Uganda Network Coordinator; Sr. Mary Lilly Driciru, MSMMC, Project Coordinator; Sr. Semerita Mbambu, CSC, Kampala Arch Diocese coordinator; Br. Dominic Joseph Bwambale, BSCL, Tororo Arch Diocese coordinator; Sr. Fernanda Christinelli, CMS, Gulu Arch Diocese coordinator; Br. Rogers Mwansa, M. Afr., Mbarara Arch Diocese coordinator; Sr. Rose Mary Kemigisha, DST. And Ex Officio members would be coopted accordingly.
TAKUN looks forward to strengthen Talitha Kum Network of religious against human trafficking in Uganda. To enhance the capacity of at least 36 institutes out of 114 Religious Institutes in the four Ecclesiastical Provinces, to prevent, respond and provide after care services to victims and survivors of trafficking in persons.
The network would raise massive awareness at family, community, and district levels in the country about the dangers, challenges and effects of trafficking in persons. To carry out activities of rescue, treatment, resettlement and legal interventions by the already active institutes in human trafficking, mitigation and engage in advocacy and communication and the use of technology to track cases of trafficking in persons.