Global Awareness

I will be a good neighbour to the people who share the Earth with me and help make the world a better place for everyone.

The place where you live has its own local language. It belongs to Uganda which uses English as its official language but is encouraging the use of Swahili, so that Uganda can develop closer ties with other members of the East African Community (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and United Republic of Tanzania). Uganda belongs to a number of other organisations that foster cooperation among different nations. These include the African Union, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Non-aligned Movement, the Commonwealth of Nations, the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation.

Collaboration among the nations and peoples of the world helps them to come together to solve problems that are bigger than one country can solve on its own. In some things, actions by one country affect people in other countries. This means that countries are inter-dependent and must work together to find solutions.

Activity 1 – Water Resources in the River Nile Basin

Access to adequate water for drinking and for agriculture is a great problem in many countries. World population is still growing, and this means that more people are drawing on the same water resources. The River Nile has existed for 30 million years. The flow of water from Lake Victoria into the White Nile at Jinja is fairly constant throughout the year, due to the Equatorial climate in the Lake Victoria basin. Water from Lake Tana in Ethiopia into the Blue Nile varies greatly between the wet and dry seasons. This means that the flow of water from Khartoum in Sudan to Alexandria in Egypt, varies according to the season. The flow of water is also reducing due to building new dams in Uganda, e.g. at Bujagali, and in Ethiopia, at Tissisat Falls, which hold the water back for use by the people upstream. As more water is used in Uganda and Ethiopia, less is available for the people of Sudan and Egypt. This is a growing source of tension among the countries that share the Nile Basin.

Group work: Discuss how the changes above could affect the economy and living standards of Sudan and Egypt. Can you see any political dangers from this? What steps could be taken to prevent future conflict between the nations gaining water and those losing water? Which of the international organisations to which Uganda belongs might be able to help resolve the disagreements over water? You might study this issue further in Geography.

Activity 2 – Global Issues

Identify some global issues that have implications for all countries on planet Earth.

Go to your library or the Internet. Find and read articles from other countries publications on the issue chosen. These could be magazine articles, newspaper articles, blogs, or other public media. Does what you read differ from what you hear on Ugandan radio, TV and in newspapers?

Choose one of the issues. Study it together in groups or as a class and apply the principles of critical thinking, empathy, altruism and any of the other Ten Humanist Commitments that you think are relevant.

Possible topics include: the climate emergency, habitat destruction and the loss of biodiversity, global pandemics, religious or racial intolerance, inequality in income and wealth within nations and between nations, the use of drugs, migration of people between countries, loss of democracy and free speech.

Right now we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat for thousands of years. Climate change.

David Attenborough

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