The Observer (Kampala)

3 March 2013

Uganda: Travel Fest to Celebrate Women

The Native Travel festival is once again back to celebrate womanhood.

The festival, which kicks off tomorrow, will run for five days at the National Theatre in Kampala. For the second year running, the festival will run during the Women's Day week and this year's festival comes as the world celebrates the 102nd International Women's Day on March 8.

Sarah Nsigaye, the Executive Director, Native Travel festival, says the festival is dedicated to celebrating the achievements realized in the struggle to realize women empowerment, and this year's festival is timely for it comes at a time when parliament debates the long overdue domestic relations bill.

As a result, the festival will feature keynote speakers like parliamentarians to assess how far women have come.

"We want to assess the affirmative action plan. Twenty years down the road, do we still need it, and what does it say about women empowerment? If we are still getting 1.5 points to university, do we, therefore, say we are equal to men?" Nsigaye said.

"As a woman, I have issues with affirmative action. Someone could be using it to just get numbers to parliament. If we are saying girls don't get enough time to read, what are we doing to make sure they get enough time to read instead of giving them points on a silver platter? Sometimes, discrimination can be dangerous," she added.

Apart from public debate and discussions, the festival, which is free of charge to the general public, will also feature music, dance, storytelling, poetry, bonfire, exhibitions and film screening.

"We want to promote women's rights through providing a platform where their contributions, challenges and successes are highlighted; elevate the profile of gender equality through commending success stories and mobilizing political support towards pro-women bills," Nsigaye said.

The festival also falls in a week where the Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC) has organized the first ever Uganda theatre festival, which starts tomorrow until Sunday.

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