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Y+ Beauty Pageant: This Pageant Aims at Fighting Stigma And Discrimination of Young People Living With HIV

On 25th September, the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA) launched the 7th edition of the Y+ beauty pageant under the theme “Changing The Narrative.” 

The new Mr. and Miss Y+ Central region 2020/21

The Y+ Beauty Pageant is a novel concept that was developed to celebrate beauty with zero stigma and zero discrimination together with having zero new infections and having zero AIDS related deaths. The entertainment calendar has several beauty pageants and, one of which is the Y+ Beauty Pageant that has been on for the last seven years.

The beauty pageant has, over the years, served as a platform to young men and women (16 to 25 years) living with HIV to become voices to the voiceless, pillars of boldness and strength to those still afraid of HIV testing, these young people also share testimonies of assurance that acquiring HIV is not the end of life. Which is not that easy.

Nicholas Niwagaba the team leader at UNYPA speaking at one of the Y+ Beauty Pageant pre-events

“Our mandate is to better the lives of young people living with HIV/AIDS (YPLHIV), and we boldly take it upon ourselves to ensure that we fight stigma through the Y+ Beauty Pageant. Over the years we have managed to position young people in the fight against stigma and in so doing, HIV,” said Nicholas Niwagaba, the team leader at UNYPA.

The COVID- 19 virus has worsened stigma towards people living with HIV/AIDS, the current pandemic threatens to reverse the accomplishments that have been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda.

As soon as the first case of COVID-19 was identified in Uganda on 19th March 2020, strict lockdown measures were enforced, including a ban on all public and private transport, night curfew, closure of schools, suspension of religious and social gatherings, and closure of non-essential shops and markets.

UNYPA ambassadors were supported with transport as well as bicycles to conduct the door to door home visits for fellow YPLHIV, face to face conversations, SMS for psycho social support to ensure adherence and positive living among YPLHIV.

UNYPA therefore, organizes the 2020 Y+ beauty pageant for YPLHIV in order to re-echo their voices, co- create to build a strong, energetic, creative, and productive generation able to address the multiple dimensions in which stigma and discrimination affect young peoples through raising awareness and empowering Y+ Ambassadors both male & female as champions to challenge HIV related stigma, discrimination & gender based violence within their communities. 

The Y-Plus pageant model in Uganda is now a nationally and international recognized and awarded model for a successful fight against HIV related stigma and discrimination, increasing awareness on HIV prevention but of more critical concern still largely remains unaddressed the problem of stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS and society’s attitude to it is still a big concern.

The contest doesn’t focus on looks or beauty, but on a young positive person being a role model for other young people with HIV, on being able to advocate for the needs of young people, and to increase acceptance and understanding of young people living with HIV in society.

Through its yearly cycle, the Y+ Beauty Pageant has so far bred over 844 ambassadors who are part of a generation of YPLHIV youth champions advocating for and working towards an HIV stigma-free Uganda. The campaign shall be staggered in three stages: regional auditions; central- Kampala, eastern- Kamuli, western- Kabale and northern- Kwania followed by the boot camp, and a grand finale event on Friday 20th November 2020. 


UNYPA is a youth led and youth serving organization coordinating meaningful engagement of young people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in Uganda in the National, Regional and Global HIV/AIDS response.  With a membership of over 50,000 young people; UNYPA works to implement National Evidence-driven Advocacy programs that address HIV/AIDS related stigma and discriminations, Gender inequalities and promote Young People’s empowerment and universal access to integrated SRHR (SRHR) and HIV/AIDS information and services. UNYPA is driven by the needs of young people living with HIV and implements an evidence informed national programme and advocacy for YPLHIV to lead healthy and productive lives. 

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2Gule: This Platform Makes it Easy For Ugandans to Shop And Ship From The US, UK And Canada

It has always been very difficult for people in Uganda to shop and ship items from popular stores in the USA, UK, and Canada, but that gap has been bridged by the 2Gule platform.

This has been the case especially when it comes to shopping from stores like Amazon, Fashionova, eBay, and Walmart among others. These stores don’t ship to Uganda, and that had become a very big problem to perpetual shoppers of authentic goods.

The 2GULE platform is here to help you buy what you want, when you want, at the best price & have it delivered straight to you in Uganda. There is no need to give up & settle for counterfeit products on the market because you can’t get what you want from the USA, UK or Canada so get around shipping restrictions once and for all.

How 2Gule works

Go online & look for the products you want to buy, and then visit the 2Gule website where you can send them a link to your product or just a simple description of the items you want to buy from stores in the USA, UK & Canada.

Afterwards, they will send you a quotation with the total cost including; Cost of product, shipping costs, and taxes on arrival. After which, you can then pay 60% of the total price for which they buy, ship & pay taxes on arrival, all in under 14-21 days upon receiving the goods at their 2GULE warehouse in the US.

You can then pay the 40% after receiving your product from #2GULE. You receive an email you as soon as your purchased goods have arrived at their offices in the US and you can then either choose to let them know whether you want them delivered to you when they get to Uganda, or to pick them up from their offices at Kirabo Complex, Level 2, room 222.

In the event that you already bought your goods OR have items still stuck in the USA/UK or Canada, they can still help you ship them into Uganda, pay the customs fees and deliver them safely to you. Their fees range from $8 to $9 per pound of weight (includes shipping fees & tax on arrival), the cheapest on market at the moment.

Pricing for goods to be shipped

Assuming you want to purchase an item at $110 from Amazon. On checking out, Amazon will charge you a $15 USA tax making the total price of the good $125. 2Gule uses a dollar rate of 3850-3900 per Ugx. This makes a $125 product cost about Shs487,500.

Airliners often charge about $8 per pound. Assuming your item weighs 12 pounds, it would bring the price to Shs861,900 however, this is before the URA taxes that vary from item to item, music equipment attracts about 30% tax at Customs. Remember, you will have your item in Uganda within 14-21 days from date of purchase.

Although owned by youthful Ugandan citizens that still prefer to remain anonymous, 2Gule has come a long way to support Uganda thrill spenders and high-class shoppers to be able to access the items/goods that they want, when they want, and at an affordable price.

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GLIM! This Website is Celebrating, Motivating, Uplifting, And Empowering Women to be The Best Version of Themselves

Born on February 19, 2018, GLIM has come to be one of the most celebrated websites in regards to empowering women, and giving women a platform to tell their stories, and inspire each other. GLIM is a platform that celebrates women and lets them pride in who they are, as it motivates, inspires and uplifts.

Glim, is meant to collectively build a positive community that celebrates women, their achievements, inspire each other and build confidence in themselves to be the best versions of the people they aspire to be, while enjoying life of course.

Women make up more than half of the world’s population. At Glim, the team believes that it is important to empower the woman, take a front seat in purposefully contributing to the world. 

It’s no secret that Africa is still lagging behind in terms of women empowerment, mainly because Culture has stripped women of their inherent power, leaving them feeling unworthy, uninspired and restricting them to mere marital duties. 

GLIM is also a media platform that wants to inspire and open women to the realization of their full potential and power, and the great role they can play in the development of the continent. 

To this effect, they curate content that celebrates and hypes women’s accomplishments in different fields, and empowers them financially with a goal of making their content informative and fun, as they give value to their readers.

The Mission of GLIM is to empower the African Woman, while their Vision is to be the number one go to digital media platform for purposeful women related content.

Show them some love by following their social media platforms;

Facebook –

Instagram – @glim_ug

Twitter – @Glim_ug

Website –

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This Young Lady is Fostering the Restoration of Uganda’s Pride through different incentives that conserve the environment

Right from childhood, Linah Nanziri has been interested in environmental conservation and ecology. She co-founded Pearl of Africa Environmental Organisation to restore Uganda’s pride as the “Pearl of Africa”. We had a chat with her to talk about her idea.

What is and why Pearl of Africa environmental organisation?

Pearl of Africa Environmental Organisation, or as we prefer to call it, ‘PAE’ is a non-governmental green organisation. The name actually holds a profusion of historical value and sentiment. Uganda was named the ‘Pearl of Africa’ by Welsh- American, HM Stanley in 1892 (Fortnightly Review, Volume 52), who was taken aback by her beauty. She, however got her international identification as the ‘Pearl of Africa,’ when British Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies/writer and eventual two- term Prime Minister, Sir. Winston Churchill aggrandised her aesthetic in his book, My African Journey, which was published in 1908, saying, “Uganda is a fairy-tale. You climb up…and at the end there is a wonderful new world. The scenery is different, the vegetation is different, the climate is different…from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa…I can say: Concentrate on Uganda: For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life— for a vast scale–Uganda is truly ‘the Pearl of Africa.” These powerful words that were made by such a powerful man are still remembered to this day, however, this is where the underlying concern ‘stems’ from (no pun intended). Our once attractive, alluring and appealing country is facing an age of atrophy, which is what induced my co-founder and I to start this NGO in order to put an end to this appalling degradation of our environment.

How did you start this organisation?
Many answer this question with the date their organisation was up and running. We, rather prefer to paint a picture of how the idea was born and how it eventually came to life, from the perspective of both founders of PAE. I was around 8 years of age when I got interest in not only environmental conservation, but ecology as a whole. My primary school, Greenhill Academy Kampala held a writing competition on the notion of preserving the environment. I was quite agitated since I was one of the youngest competitors but this did not stop me. I do not vividly remember what was written, but I do remember how passionate I was about what I wrote about. Unfortunately, I did not win the competition but I won the love and the drive to move forward with this newly acquired passion, which subsequently led to the birth of PAE when I was at the age of 13 years. How exactly did it start? Co-founder, Mr. Seruwu Isaac, who happened to be my father’s good friend (or as we traditionally refer to them ‘uncle’) was always a keen environmental enthusiast. Mr. Seruwu believes that the misuse of the environment leads to substantial damages, loss of lives and could cease the development within a country socially, economically and even politically. Once he found out about my love for the environment, he acquired interest in working with me since he believed that he who has influence on the youth, has influence on the future. He subsequently registered PAE as a non-governmental organisation in Uganda during the close of 2010.

What is this kind of  work do you do at PAE?
Our organisation ensures to preserve pastures, trees & water bodies, promote the sufficient utilisation of natural resources (which happen to be available in abundance). We work to propel education on the benefits of environmental conservation to the civil society, ensure the refining of environmental policies, foster the restoration of the once known ‘Pearl of Africa’ to improve the tourism industry in order to boost our economy and guarantee food & water security for our generation and those to come.

What are your biggest accomplishments ever since you started Pearl of Africa Environmental Organisation?
Tough question, considering the fact that we have been in existence for close to 10 years. We are very humbled to have had the privilege of working with the army of Uganda, conventionally known as the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) on improving sanitation and recycling of items. We were also fortunate enough to be supported by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), The Ministry of Water and Environment, Sewage and Water Corporation Company (SWCC), which have are essential institutions since they affect they greatly influence the environmental situation in Uganda, whilst working with us on our common cause. We have also had the privilege of introducing effective programs in 20 schools based in Kampala, some of which include recycling of items, education on sanitation, personal hygiene, agriculture and leadership. This has definitely helped us feel somewhat accomplished since it practically incentives the youth to realise how crucial the environmental conservation is in the world, which is a main point we have been and still are trying to get across. I am a part of the British Ecological Society (BES) and have had the privilege to be accorded to the nomination for the Mash Award for Ecologists in Africa.

What are some of the programs that you run at Pearl of Africa Environmental Organisation?
Well, education is a vital aspect in PAE. We educate people on the benefits of environmental conservation. There are some recent programs that we have been involved in, one major one being renewable energy, which entails utilising the energy from the sun that we have in abundance, by using solar panels instead of Hydro Electric Power (HEP), which negatively affects fish and dissolves oxygen levels in the water. Axis, a start up company in Uganda has endorsed our cause and has been supporting us far beyond our expectations. They install automated solar panelled lights in people’s homes/ company environments at extremely affordable prices. Axis also collects spoilt laptop batteries and they are able to recycle them into power banks. Yes, power banks! Some have been sold earlier this year, 2018 to finance some of PAE’s activities. I better stop here before this turns into a commercial. Nevertheless, we are truly thankful to them.

Where do you see Pearl of Africa environmental Organisation six years from now?
Nice question, I see us changing history six years from now, or even prior to that. I see us being the reason for changes in/ the introduction of new environmentally favourable policies. I see free education institutions on acquisition of environmental knowledge with our ‘amazing’ PAE team doing what they do best. I see recycling of paper, leading to decreased murder of trees. I see typhoid becoming a thing of the past. I see our water bodies turning back to the attractive and prepossessing blue, instead of green or whatever colour they are now. I see tourists flooding the ‘Pearl of Africa.’ I see an improved economy. But most of all, I see a world that has been improved by PAE and other organisations that support our cause. Even if this takes over six years, it has always been my obsessive fixation. It is my purpose and it is what I have dedicated my life to revolve around.

Running an organisation takes great courage and commitment, what are some of the challenges you have faced so far?
Mr. Seruwu and I have faced issues in acquiring funds. Most, if not all of PAE’s activities are currently self-funded. By that, I mean that the money that sustains our organisation comes from our personal banks. This is the biggest challenge we are currently faced with. This was not the case some years ago. Just like you said, we do have an amazing team, however, we have had to deal with untrustworthy and incompetent people, which made it eminently difficult to run different programs in the organisation. One of the main challenges faced is the time consumed to run our NGO whilst balancing studies for myself and work for Mr. Seruwu. The challenges are too many to list out individually. However, I run by this rule, “no hurdles no achievements, know hurdles know achievements.” This is what I realised throughout my time running this NGO. The number of unforeseen challenges are too great a number that it is likely for one to give up a few years in. What has kept my co-founder and I going through all these years is our passion and obsession with ‘making Uganda great again.’

Any worst moments or regrets?
One of my worst moments was when I was a young teenager, I believe. Mr. Seruwu would get into esoteric ecological discussions with the PAE team that I lacked knowledge on. I disliked this because it made me feel irrelevant in the team. I do not have any regrets because every mistake that was made was a lesson upon us and it has enabled us to become stronger than ever.

Who have you worked with in your environmental campaigns?
Uganda Rotary Clubs have been involved in our campaigns, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), The Ministry of Water and Environment, Sewage and Water Corporation Company (SWCC), recently closed Television station, Wavammuno Broadcasting Station (WBS), Axis, among many other partnership collaborations.

Any remarks you want you make to appeal to the people?
Oh, I believe there are so many interwoven remarks within this interview, nevertheless, I will conclude by saying, refraining from action is much more ‘comfortable’ than reaction, however, history is not made by those who didn’t take action, so let’s take action now and SAVE GLOBAL NATURE! Postscript: Comfortable is in quotation marks because I cannot begin to imagine how ‘comfortable’ one may be while watching the earth they call home die right in front of them.

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