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She is Armed Against Human Trafficking: Meet Uganda’s Daughter Agnes Igoye

20130710_inq_sclinton10z-a[1]Agnes Igoye is unstoppable. She has her sleeves rolled up to fight human trafficking in Uganda. Sadly, Ugandan children are trafficked within the country, as well as to Canada, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. But this this phenomenal Ugandan woman is armed to the teeth to fight for the children of this beautiful land.

Who is Agnes Igoye?

Agnes is the Deputy chair of the National Prevention of Trafficking in Persons office-Uganda and the Training Manager at the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control.  She has provided her expertise to several organizations, including the United Nations and The International Organization For Migration (IOM). She is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, with a commitment of action with President Clinton to counter human trafficking. In fulfilment of her commitment, Agnes has fund-raised and delivered 69,000 text books to support vulnerable children in Uganda, has trained over 1500 law enforcement globally to counter human trafficking and rehabilitates survivors of human trafficking.

Agnes is the founder of the Huts For Peace program, a community based initiative by women who have suffered gender based violence, rebuilding their war-torn communities in Northern Uganda, She is Board member of Sister Schools, Health Access, a trustee at Give a Chance to All, which provides education and support to disadvantaged children, including victims of human trafficking, orphans, and the disabled. She is also the National Coordinator of the Uganda-US Exchange Alumni Association

Agnes, has received several awards, including the 2014 University of Minnesota Distinguished leadership Award for Internationals, U.S. Department of State Hubert H. Humphrey Award (Human trafficking Policy and Prevention), 2012 Inspirational Woman of Uganda Award for Anti Human Trafficking Work & Youth Empowerment. In 2013, she was selected as one of 50 emerging Global Women leaders by the Women in Public Service Project, launched by Secretary Hillary Clinton in 2011. In 2014, Agnes was named one of 40 inspirational women of Uganda by CEDA International and the African Women Development Fund (AWDF)

Agnes is passionate about VOLUNTEERISM and has extensive volunteer experiences

From 2012 to 2014, I was the National Coordinator, Uganda-U.S. Alumni Association. An Association committed to promoting networking among U.S. Exchange Alumni both within and outside Uganda and within different professionals; contributing to Uganda’s social and economic development and building lifelong relationships among members.

In 2014 became member of the Fulbright/Humphrey Fellows inaugural mentorship Program- Mentoring/helping Fellows with their re-entry back to their home Countries after their Fellowship program in the USA. Also joined the Sound Artists with Answers (SAWA), volunteers from South Sudan and Ugandan, fundraising in support of displaced South Sudanese in refugee camps. Fundraising events included bicycle riding from Kampala to Jinja (April 12th 2014) and Art Exhibition at Nommo Gallery in Kampala (April 18- May 2, 2014 )Which was also a collection center for supplies such as blankets, mosquito nets, food, clothing etc

Since 2011 I have fund-raised and partnered with Books For Africa USA to deliver 69,000 text/Library books for the education of vulnerable children including orphans/victims of human trafficking in Uganda. Since 2013 up to date I am a board member of Sister Schools and Member of the University of Minnesota Global Mentor Program (GMP), to provide second year students with insight into career paths (especially International carriers) and advice about developing professional networks. In 2012, Volunteered with Sister Schools-Distributing donated materials from American Children to vulnerable school children, Orphanages in Uganda and interviewed vulnerable children to tell their story. And from 2011 upto now I am a Trustee at ‘Give A Chance To All’ ( non-profit organization providing Education and support to prevent, raise awareness and support victims of human trafficking, orphans and disabled children. And an International Advocacy officer Chain of Hope, a local Non-Governmental Organization based in Northern Uganda which provides emergency humanitarian relief, educates orphans and vulnerable children, empowers women and vulnerable groups and provides training and counseling, I volunteer with Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) including volunteering at San Diego food bank with President Clinton In 2010/11: I Volunteered for Not For Sale MN, an organization dedicated to counter human trafficking. Activities included speaking on behalf of the organization creating awareness, mentored & trained college students involved in the abolitionist movement and organized awareness campaigns


Share with us your Journey.

Girls were not the most welcome in my village. So my birth was a scandal because there was preference for a boy child, so girls hardly had a chance of an education. But luckily for me, my parents defied the odds and decided to take their girls to school. We have survived war, cattle rustlers, Joseph Konyi insurgency including loosing property and ending up in an Internally displaced people camp in a catholic mission. At a certain time we were nomadic due to security reasons, and this is how I ended up attending many primary schools. However, spent all my secondary school years at Trinity College Nabbingo.   The joined Makerere University undergraduate and master’s degrees then Studied management at Uganda Management institute, enrolled for Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship-University of Minnesota to study Forced Migration at University of Oxford UK and Bryn Mawr College USA (2013, July 7-19) Peace Building and Development

In 2011, I received a Certificate of recognition from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, on behalf of the Government of the United States of America, in recognition of the successful completion of a one-year program of graduate study and professional development at the University of Minnesota 2010-2011, as a participant in the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.

I have attended several courses on leadership and transnational organized crimes (in various countries) including trafficking in drugs, arms and human trafficking, and counter terrorism, including; International Criminal Police Organization-INTERPOL training in combating terrorism, Maritime Piracy and other forms of organized crime, Certificate, International Workshop on Profiles of Trafficking: Patterns, Populations & Policies (May 14-24, 2012- Haifa Israel), Global Development and Social Justice Certification with a special session with President Jimmy Carter, Humphrey Fellowship Program Rollins School of Public health Emory University and The Institute for International Education, Atlanta Georgia (March 13-18, 2011), Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Commitment of action certification to counter human trafficking, by President Bill Clinton, University of California San Diego (April 2011) Leadership Training, The White House Project, Minnesota USA, (2010). And Investigator Certification, Investigating Human trafficking Course, Not For Sale Abolitionist Academy, San Francisco USA (December 27-31, 2010)

Tell us about your work to fight human trafficking?

My hear beats for the children, men and women, boys and girls that are trafficked. I have worked as Deputy National Coordinator Prevention of trafficking in persons office and the Deputy chair National Task Force to counter human trafficking and a training manager at the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration control. I am also a member of Clinton Global Initiative (commitment of action training law enforcement globally, rehabilitating victims of human trafficking and awareness rising. Since 2011, I have fundraised and partnered with Books For Africa USA to deliver 69,000 books for the education of vulnerable children including victims of human trafficking. I am a Board member Sister Schools: Sister Schools teaches compassion, service and social responsibility by partnering students in donor schools in Seattle USA who donate school supplies and clothing to children in need in Uganda. We also have a scholarship program as well as build literacy centers (libraries) and Currently I am fundraising and building a rehabilitation center to rehabilitate survivors of transnational human trafficking

What is your inspiration?

Survivors of Human trafficking who despite the horrific experiences they have gone through, are able to pick up the pieces. Am also inspired by self-less leaders like Presidents Obama, Carter, Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton all of whom I have had a privilege to meet and benefit from their words of wisdom. And I am greatly honored to be a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Since 2011, I have been inspired and learned so much Interacting with so many Global leaders at CGI.

What has been your great victory so far?

My great victory has not yet come because we still have a lot of people subjected to slavery/trafficking. Great victory to me would mean an end to human trafficking.

Please tell us about your achievements.


 2015: Organized the first (in Africa) Women In Public Service Project (WPSP) institute in Uganda . WPSP was founded by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011, in partnership with U.S. Department of State and seven sister colleges.

Here are Special remarks from Director, President and CEO of Wilson Center And a WPSP/Wilson Center DC women’s day article dedicated to WPSP Uganda…

The WPSP Uganda institute was also inspired by the 2013 WPSP Institute Delegate Declaration, where 43 Women delegates (including WPSP Uganda Coordinator Agnes Igoye), representing 35 countries from Asia, Africa, America, Europe and Middle East from diverse sectors, ethnicities, ages, cultures and religions pledged among other things, to engage in mentoring, sponsoring and supporting other women in their communities and organizations in developing their full potential, as well as to commit to both individual and collective acts that support the role of women in public service.

2015: Invitation by Hillary Clinton to join her, Melinda gates and Chelsea and other women leaders to launch the No Ceilings Full Participation Report (March 9th, 2015 in New York) made of data points collected from more than 190 Countries over the 20 years. This report highlights gains Women and girls have made since the 1995 U.N Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the gaps that remain on the road to full participation.


2014: Invited by U.S. President Bill Clinton, Hon. Hillary Clinton and Chelsea to join them as a member of Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) at the CGI meeting in New York.

 2014: Honored to participate in a high level J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board meeting and panel; Fulbright Effect: How do we shape the future of Public diplomacy and global education? (

2013: Selected to pay tribute to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she received the 2013 prestigious Liberty Medal in Philadelphia USA.

Since 2011, fundraised and partnered with Books For Africa USA and delivered 69,000 books and school supplies for the education of Vulnerable children in Uganda, including victims of human trafficking and orphans.

2013: Among the delegates of the Women In Women in Public Service Project Summer Institute at Bryn Mawr College who wrote a 50/50 declaration committing themselves and urging their governments and international organizations to “promote gender equality, especially in the areas of public service, politics, economics, foreign policy and security, peace-building and development”. They pledged and called their Governments to act in achieving 50% of Women in Public Service by 2050.

Recognition by The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board’s 2010-2011 Annual Report to U.S. Senate page 23. (2012)

2011: Outstanding Clinton Global Initiative (CGI U) commitment to action rehabilitating victims of human trafficking, raising awareness and training law enforcement


2014: Profile on Ugandan National Newspaper.

Have you received any awards since you began this noble fight?

Yes I have;

2014: Distinguished Leadership award for Internationals-University of Minnesota

2014: One of 40 Inspirational Women of Uganda, who have created impact in their local communities, regionally or nationally .Featured in the Inspirational Women of Uganda Directory distributed to schools and Organizations to inspire others. By CEDA International and African Women Development Fund (AWDF)

2014: Global Freedom Exchange Award: A Hilton Worldwide and Vital Voices Partnership in recognition of emerging and established women leaders who are on the forefront of global efforts to prevent and respond to the destructive crime of child trafficking.

2014: Recognized as an outstanding Fulbright Alumni (Globally) for her achievements in the field of social entrepreneurship by the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program and the Institute of International Education (IIE) Board (

2013 Selected one of 50 emerging Global Women leaders by the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) for her significant contributions to her Community (Peace building and development) and Country through leadership in Public Service (launched by Secretary Hillary Clinton in 2011)

2012: Inspirational woman of Uganda award (presented to her by U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Scott DeLisi) from CEDA International/Mentoring walk Uganda for anti-human trafficking work and youth empowerment.

2012: Certificate of recognition from Rotary Club of Bugolobi-Uganda for raising awareness about human trafficking.

2012: Certificate of merit from Access Youth Initiative Uganda for contributing to youth empowerment and community service in Uganda

2010: Department of State Hubert H. Humphrey Award

18/12/2009: Immigration Achiever’s Award from the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control, in recognition of outstanding contribution to team work in the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control

The trafficking cases in Uganda especially to the Middle East and Asia are on the increase. What do you think Uganda can do to fight this vice?

A combination of Preventive measures including continuous awareness campaigns, MOU’s with these Countries to ensure safe export of labour and protection of victims.

But most importantly to for us all to know that we all have a role to play to combat human trafficking in the areas of Prevention, Protection of victims, prosecution of offenders. Let us all learn and read widely about trafficking and participate in creating awareness to save those who haven’t yet fallen victim but also make sure we protect those who have already fallen victim.


What challenges do you face in your Human Trafficking fight?

Human trafficking is a multi-billion organized crime industry which requires a multi-billion response in terms of funding.

Victim assistance remains a challenge-currently Government lacks shelters for the rehabilitation of especially transnational victims of human trafficking. That’s why instead of lamenting about it, I have decided with the help of well-wishers to embark on building a shelter

Countering human trafficking has led me to some of the most dangerous places/situations. But I must say those experiences have made me stronger

If you were to become minister of internal affairs, what would your agenda look like?

It will start with consultative meetings with the experts/staff from different departments/agencies including Police, Immigration, Prisons service, Uganda government chemist, stakeholders including my predecessors. Then we shall draw an agenda starting with our collective priorities as a Ministry. It’s a big and very sensitive Ministry you know and I have high respect for all the great people who have headed it.

Agnes has represented Uganda in several inter-governmental committees on Migration, peace and security.

2014: Member of the East African Community (5 member states) One Stop Border Post (OSBP) technical Working Group serving in two committees; Legal and Procedures, and Training and Public awareness.

2014: Member, Technical working group on Peace and Security, Great lakes region

2014: Uganda Delegate Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit (East African Community)

2013: Member, Horn of Africa (12 Countries) Integrated Border Management Task Force and Joint Law Enforcement Border Control Operation led by INTERPOL, to counter transnational organized crime

2013: Expert/Resource person to East African (5 member states) Heads of Anti- human and drug trafficking agencies; Best Practice bench marking workshop, Kampala.

2012 To date: Technical committee member to the Joint Permanent Commission of Uganda and South Sudan -Peace, security and development. Chaired the 1/22/2013 meeting between Uganda and South Sudan which brought together 40 high ranking government officials/stakeholders to resolve cross border conflicts, manage refugees, curb illegal Migration, human trafficking and other forms of organized crime.

2012-2013: Trainer Uganda Foreign Service officers on Prevention, identification and supporting Victims of Human trafficking and Uganda’s Ambassadors and high commissioners on their roles as heads of missions abroad

2012: Member of Uganda’s delegation to the Regional Center on Small Arms (RECSA) in collaboration with Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO) under the AU/EU Project ‘The Fight Against Illicit Accumulation and Trafficking of Firearms and Explosive materials in Africa’.

December 2011: Delegate to the International conference of the 11 Member States Great lakes region summit to Provide policy leadership, advocacy, and guidance on peace, Security, stability and development in the great lakes region. Expert to the special session: ‘United to prevent, end impunity and improve support to the victims of Sexual gender based violence in the Great Lakes Region’

2011: Resource Person, ‘Frontier awareness and Immigration Challenges’ trained 598 Police cadets from South Sudan, Uganda & Somalia; Masindi Police Academy, Uganda

2009: Member of the Inter Government Authority on Development (IGAD) team of experts to the 33rd ordinary session of IGAD Council of Ministers meeting (December 2009), Djibouti. Discussed and passed policy resolutions regarding issues such as IGAD Regional Consultative Process on Migration, Peace and security strategies as well as the IGAD Strategic Plan for 2009-2013.


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1 Comment

  1. kwagala frank

    June 1, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    so much in love with anti human trafficking

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How This Group of Young Men is Creating Employment Through Art and Craft


A group of 6 youths in Makindye has embarked on a life changing journey, turning their passions and skills into a profitable business.

After attending a crafts exhibition at the National Theatre in 2015, these friends were inspired by the attractive crafts on display to start their own workshop making and selling crafts.

“We talked to Mr. Muwembo, the craftsman who was showcasing his work. He offered to give us training as we worked for him. His workshop was in Kanyanya so we used to come from Makindye every day to Kanyanya. It took us over a year to master how wood craft is done,” said Mark.

While at this apprenticeship, these young men started making their own pieces which they sold, using the profit to purchase their own equipment.

“We had a strategy. Every month we had to buy equipment. After a year, we had developed skills and were able to start our own workshop,” said Malakai, one of the proprietors of the workshop. “To start any business, it needs commitment, passion, and ready to take risks, consistency and involvement.”

In 2016, these committed youth started their workshop on a small piece of land given to them by Malakai’s father at Lukuli, Nanganda.

“After two months, KCCA came and demolished our workshop saying that they wanted only built up structures on the main road. Even all our equipment and materials were taken. We went back to zero and all our savings had been used to buy these things,” narrates Mark. “We visited KCCA offices several times trying to see if we could recover the materials. We had lost wood, vanish, paints and tools like small axes, carving tools, pry bars, clamps, hammers and marking tools. We never got any back so we gave up on them”

As a result, their work was put on a standstill for some time. This was a very big set back to their dream of building a very big craft shop. Their next challenge was getting another location.

“Towards the end of 2016, KCCA advertised a funding opportunity for the youths who had business ideas and also those that had running businesses. We wrote a proposal but this took a while and we never not get any feedback.”

Desperate for capital to start over, they sought loans from their parents to no luck. Only Abdul’s parents supported them with a small loan that wasn’t sufficient to cover the cost of materials and new equipment.

“During that time, there was a road construction project. we asked for jobs and worked there for 6 months. We saved all our money and rented a small piece of land where we put up a workshop. This time it was not on the main road.  We started working again and lucky enough, we had market from our time at Muwembo”s workshop,” narrates Mark.

Malakai working on one of the pieces in the workshop

Due to their hard work, these six young men have managed to create jobs and employ more eleven young people who distribute and take on other tasks like filing, shaping, chiseling, painting among others. The group is constructing a workshop and a showroom on the main road in Lukuli. By next year, they believe, the workshop will be done.

“Basing on the current situation in the country, we are able to earn a living and also employ other people,” says Abdul.

When asked about their goals, this inseparable team wants to have at least 100 employees by the end of next year and also start exporting their craft. They encourage their fellow Ugandans to follow their passion and find a way of earning from it.

*This is a guest post by MARVIN MUTYABA, a student at Makerere University Business School, currently pursuing a Business Administration in his second year. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, skills development and fitness. 

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How Kasule Is Changing The Lives Of Children Of Prisoners One By One


Jimmy Kasule Chan is a 29-year-old man who has dedicated his life to supporting the children of prisoners in Uganda. With over sixteen children from twelve families in his programme today, he is working towards his vision of a prosperous future for the children of Ugandan prisoners.

Kasule (Right) does homework with one of the children in the programme

His desire to change the lives of prisoner’s children was awakened in 2012 when he was wrongfully detained at the Harare remand centre in Zimbabwe for six months.

My friend had told me to go with him to South Africa for work. When we got there, things were very tight and we decided to come back home after two weeks with some electronics for sale. We thought this could be our business. On our way, we had to go through Harare but we did not have some stamps in our passports. Because Uganda does not have an embassy in Zimbabwe, we had gone through the Tanzanian embassy but the people at the border could not understand this. We were taken to Interpol and on getting there, we were arrested for Border Jump. We were detained in Harare remand centre for 6 months without having any real contact with anyone. There were 12 Ugandans in total” he narrated. “My wife was seven months pregnant at that time and I kept thinking, what if I never go back to Uganda? Who will help my child? I resolved to help children of prisoners if I ever got out of this prison.”

Jimmy described his time as a prisoner in a foreign country as horrific and inhumane, with poor feeding and little to no medical care.

It was terrible. The food was the worst and sometimes not cooked properly in fact, people used to get sick all the time. One Ugandan died from a stomach infection. We used to eat something called “Chingwa”, that tasted like spoilt bread. Winter was the worst because we were given these thin blankets and no mattress.”

With the tireless help of his wife, jimmy was released from Harare remand centre in 2012 and on getting back to Uganda, the first thing he did was to get a job that would give him the funds to support these children.

A friend introduced me to a gentleman who gave me his car for business. I used to transport people most especially tourists and pay him UGX 300,000 every week. I got a very nice client called Mona, who I found out was the president of Children of prisoners, Sweden. After she left, I sent her an email asking for a meeting and she agreed to meet me. I told her about my vision and she seemed very excited about it. She was happy to meet someone who shared her vision.”

A few months later, Mona asked Jimmy to visit one of the children her organization sponsored, Chrispus, at his school.

When I visited him, he was excited that a stranger could come to see him. I kept visiting him on Visiting Days. He told me about his father who had been serving a long sentence in Luzira. I went to visit him and I asked him to introduce me to other people in the prison who I could talk to. I met people who would directed me to their families now my wife and I go to visit them and take for them some things.”

For four years now, Jimmy has conducted monthly visits to families of prisoners and has taken on the guardianship of Chrispus, who he regards as his first born. He also hosts an annual Christmas party for the children where he invites other children from the neighbourhood to make merry and meet father Christmas.

At one of the children’s Christmas parties Kasule has hosted

Jimmy believes that children, more so whose parents have been imprisoned, need to be loved and cared for so they do not find the need to commit any crimes and end up in prisons as well.

Would you like to support children of prisoners or volunteer on family visits? Please call/text Jimmy on 0774739500 or send him an email at

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Turning Rubbish into Money In The Fight Against Unemployment


Meet Calvin Matovu, a twenty-five-year old graduate from Makerere University who recycles wastes and rubbish into charcoal.

After attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental science in 2013, Calvin searched for a job in vain. His life started becoming difficult as he had no source of income and he found it senseless to finish university and sit at idly at home.

In the struggle to fight unemployment, Calvin harnessed the idea of collecting wastes and rubbish from the community with his friends, to make some money.

“I asked myself, all this waste we collect and KCCA burns, can’t we reproduce a product out of it?’ Basing on my knowledge from campus, I came up with the idea of recycling wastes into charcoal.” Says Calvin at his factory in Erisa zone, Kyebando.

He set his plan in motion by gathering jobless youths in his community to create employment for themselves. Calvin and his team of seven started reusing wastes, especially organic wastes from agricultural products for example peelings from matooke. These are mixed with ash, clay, carbon and water to make a final product.

“At first we did not have market because people were already using charcoal from firewood with no clue about charcoal from wastes.” He says.

The idea of reusing garbage to make charcoal seems so unrealistic until he breaks down the process through which waste can be made useful and environment friendly.

“The raw materials include banana peelings, paper, clay, cow dung, cassava flour basing on your income level for example one can use clay or cow dung or cassava flour. The machines used are: a charring drum, crushing machine and a stick briquette machine. Peelings are collected and dried then sorted and grinded. Then they are burnt and put into the charring drum. The binder, which can be either  cassava porridge, clay or cow dung is added to the wastes mix and the mixture is then poured into the briquette machine. the last step is to dry the briquettes to produce charcoal. This is done in the drying rack.”

Calvin’s workmate sieving the raw material in the workshop

Calvin and his team have faced a number of challenges but this has not stopped them from going further.

“In the beginning, we used our hands to mould the charcoal which was very tiresome and it left our hands spoilt with dead skin in the palms. Our quality also wasn’t that good. The market too was very low but we never gave up.”

“Use what surrounds you” is a common saying that we often do not give attention too, but instead, we keep asking our leaders for help yet what’s surrounds us can be very useful in our daily life.

Basic principles of Physics state that “Effort + Load  = Work done.” Calvin’s hard work and desire to see his brilliant idea boom led him to overcome all the challenges that he and his team met. After months of several dynamics, critics and mental exhaustion, the season ended and he harvested fruits from his tree. Schools and some small companies started making orders for his charcoal. He has since received support from KCCA in form of a a manual machine that ended the hands era.

The briquettes are laid out to dry in the drying rack

Calvin Matovu now he employs twenty young people from his own community in Kyebando. The charcoal briquettes they manufacture cost UGX 1500 and last for over seven hours, which minimizes the daily costs also reducing demand for firewood.

“Anyone can do this anywhere at any time.” He says in conclusion. “Every person should base on talent at least 50% of their daily economic activities.”

The finished products. Briquettes ready to be sold.

This is a guest post by MARVIN MUTYABA, a student at Makerere University Business School, currently pursuing a Business Administration in his second year. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, skills development and fitness. 

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