BY REBECCA KARAGWA
As an ambassador for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), I had the privilege of being invited to the African Youth SDG Summit in Accra, Ghana, to make a presentation, particularly goals 5 and 16, “Gender Equality and Peace” and “Justice and Strong Institutions”, which goals I represented under |RepYourGoal. I felt esteemed and recognised for my work, because I had, previously been disappointed when I failed to make it to New York for the UN Youth General Assembly in August, 2017. I have always been committed to shielding and shouldering women and ensuring a fairer and just society for all and I was excited to have such an international platform to talk about the very things that set my heart on fire.
My flight from Entebbe International Airport was at 02:00 a.m. (EAT). I had a stopover at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa and waited there for about five hours before connecting to my next flight to Accra International Airport. I arrived in Accra at 13: 30 (GMT) and I was welcomed by someone from the African Youth SDG team, called Desmond Tutu. The organisers had scheduled that being a law student, I would attend a public lecture on peace and justice at the University of Ghana School of Law. I easily get along with people and for some reason, it felt like Desmond was someone I knew. I was eager to know why he was called Desmond Tutu and I didn’t hesitate to ask. I teased him about the possibility of him being the son of the famous South African Anglican prelate, theologian and anti-apartheid activist, Desmond Mpilo Tutu. For the rest of the journey from the airport to University of Ghana, we discussed about the famous Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his dedication to human rights activism and ending apartheid.
At the University of Ghana, Tutu took me to a restaurant that prepared traditional food. I was treated to fufu, banku and crab with okra stew. I further drank sobolo, a local traditional juice. I was shocked to see most people eat that food in the manner in which they did. Everyone, regardless of who one is, should eat with hands, not cutlery. This never really happens in my university or in official places in my country. I know that people eat with hands at traditional functions or in homes because those are non-formal settings. But here we were, in a university environment with professors and students eating with bare hands on a formal working day. I was happy to observe and understand that they took that much pride in their culture.
I felt refreshed after having lunch and attended a public lecture at 3:00 GMT at Legon Law School in the University of Ghana. The law faculty was hosting a visiting professor who shared about sustainability, particularly peace and justice. Later that evening, we left for Crystal Palm Hotel where I would be staying for the rest of my time with a few other delegates. Accra was extremely hot except it was a long and fulfilling week of erudition on sustainability of Africa. I was more than delighted to have had the opportunity to make my contribution in creating the Africa I want. As a |RepYourGoal, in the breakout sessions, I concentrated on the applicability of the sustainable development goals within the African context. The whole experience enabled me to appreciate the beauty of being informed, it helps in making an excellent analysis in the articulation of issues.
The writer is a fourth year lawstudent at Uganda Christian University