ESAU in Northern UgandaFORUM THEATRE IN NORTHERN UGANDA
ESAU through her partners secured a grant from Disabled People's Organization of Denmark (DPOD) to implement a two year project in Acholi sub region covering the 4 districts of Amuru, Gulu, Pader and Kitgum. The project is focusing on massive sensitization of the communities and institutions of higher learning through forum theatre and mobilizing people with epilepsy.
Forum Theatre is an interactive form of theatre that encourages audience interaction and explores different options for dealing with a problem or issue and it is often used by socially excluded and disempowered groups. Forum Theatre was identified by ESAU as a tool of providing accurate information on epilepsy as a way of Sensitizing young professionals and community members on epilepsy in order to enhance a better understanding of epilepsy so that they can provide adequate support to people with epilepsy.
The project is composed of 70 forum theatre performances in total. 50 of them are taking place in the communities while 20 performances are being conducted in institutions. The community performances are done in the local language (Luo) so that people can understand the messages in the play while the ones in institutions are conducted in English.
ACTIVITIES SO FAR
1. SENSITIZING/ TRAINING OF SELECTED POLITICIANS
In March 2013, the project sensitised district leaders about epilepsy care and management from the districts of Pader, Kitgum, Amuru and Gulu. The purpose and the objectives of these sensitization trainings were to sensitize the district leaders about the management of epilepsy, networking with the district leaders and Signing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the above district leadership.
In all the above districts visited, ESAU sensitized the district leaderships about epilepsy and requested the districts to support the projects and all the districts leaders after realizing the importance of the project to their people pledged to support ESAU in order to realize the success of the project in their respective districts.
2. COUL PERFORMANCES IN KITGUM DISTRICT
In April, the forum theatre team with the programme officer for the project visited Kitgum district and staged 10 Forum theatre performances in both communities and Institutions from the 8th to 15th April 2013.
The objectives of these performances were: - To create awareness about epilepsy among the Community members and professionals in the institutions, addressing the social stigma attached to epilepsy, and recruiting more members into ESAU. Communities reached epilepsy information were Gweng coo T/C, Obien T/C, Lumule T/C, Tumangu T/C, Pajiimo T/C, Okidi Central and the institutions includes Kitgum PTC, Kitgum Technical Institute, Kitgum Comprehensive secondary school, and Kitgum High secondary school. The total numbers of people reached with this information were 5272 i.e. female 2213 and male 3059.
3. THE TRAINING FOR THE 12 MENTAL HEALTH WORKERS
Epilepsy Support Association Uganda conducted training for the 12 mental health workers at Lamaco White House Hotel, Gulu on 7th June 2013. The 12 health workers were selected from the 12 health units where ESAU is operating in Acholi sub region.
The objectives of this training were: To provide refresher training in epilepsy care and management for selected health workers from the health units, equip health workers with relevant information that will be critical in building the support groups for persons living with epilepsy in their respective health center and to interface with ESAU in order to understand how the Organization operates.
During this training, health workers got refresher training in Epilepsy care and management and a presentation was also made about the relationships between epilepsy and the nodding syndrome. More emphasis was also put on how to establish and build the support groups for people living with epilepsy. ESAU National Director, the Accountant and psychiatric officers from Gulu hospital facilitated the meeting.