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Successful Mission trip to Uganda, the pearl of Africa

18-JUNE • Uganda •

Robert Colquhoun, Dr Haywood Robinson and Daphne Robinson travelled to Uganda from 12-16 June 2024. Dr Haywood Robinson is Director of Medical Affairs and Education for 40 Days for Life. Daphne Robinson is the founding executive of Atlanta Morning Center, a pro-life medical centre. During the visit we were hosted by Father Ssekabira Deusdedit who is the director of pro-life ministries Uganda. The purpose of the visit was to cement relationship and purpose partnership with pro-life activities and ministry in Uganda, and build the profile of 40 Days for Life in Uganda. 

Dr Haywood Robinson shared his testimony as a former abortionist of African American descent who had a personal conversion and is now a pro-life activist. He encouraged the young people we spoke to 'Follow the Rules' for find prosperity in following God's laws, with particular regard to chastity. He also shared his hopes that Africa will be blessed in coming generations thanks to its children. Daphne Robinson shared in her talks positive reasons for saving sex until marriage, how we are beautiful because we are made in the image and likeness of God, and shared her considerable experience of serving women for decades for the pro-life movement in the USA. What was particularly beautiful about the mission trip was how Haywood and Daphne's story and testimony resonated with the young African audience who were particularly touched by their words and witness. 

Uganda is very different to Western countries when it comes to abortion. Abortion is illegal in Uganda according to section 142 of Uganda’s constitution with a penalty of 7 or 15 years imprisonment. Unfortunately, the practice is going on privately. Some have estimated that there are 300,000 abortions in Uganda a year since 2009. With 12,000 abortions in Masaka since 2017. Out of 19 Ugandan females aged 15-19 years at least one aborts in a year. Each year, an estimated 775,000 women in Uganda have unwanted pregnancies, and 54% are teenagers. 2.6 million teenagers are having unprotected sex (AIDS indicators survey 2011), with 47.3% of teenagers having sex (AIDS indicator 2011).

Dr. Haywood during mission trip to Uganda in 2024

Father Deus has managed to spread the message of chastity to many different points of the diocese and outside. They have received a positive message from the young people who have received the message leading to a reduction in the teenage pregnancy rate among the teens, and strengthened marriage in the diocese. He has a very vibrant team to do ministry.

Despite the fact that abortion is illegal in Uganda, there is still plenty of pro-life outreach which is deeply meaningful and effective to be done: community outreach by reaching out to young people has already led to considerable fruit such as reducing the teenage pregnancy rate, helping young people avoid abortion, teaching awareness and sensitisation about the risks of abortion and helping to build a culture of life through the benefits of marriage, monogamy and chastity. The groundwork of this work has already been conducted extensively in Masaka Diocese.

The Ugandan government has already rejected LGBT funding which has led to a reduction of international aid, and had a world famous approach to reducing AIDS effectively. Despite cultural challenges such as development, communication and cultural barriers, there is plenty of effective pro-life outreach to be done.

During the visit we spoke to key pro-life volunteers, did outreach at St Michael Secondary school and also outreach to Sserwanga Lawanga secondary school, also speaking on the islands on lake Victoria. Talks were warmly received and had very positive feedback.

Masaka Diocese has a population of 1.8 million with 1.07 Catholics, 281 diocesan priests, 20 religious priests, 616 religious sisters, 38 missionary sisters, 91 religious brothers and 875 catechists, 55 parishes and 762 sub parishes (mass stations). The diocese also has 19 nursery schools, 449 primary schools, 66 secondary schools, 19 vocational institutions, 1 university of ecclesiastical studies and one secular university.

During this time we also spent time with 3 leaders from Kasese who have run 40 Days for Life campaigns. We were also joined by Bishop Bruno who has led a campaign in the Congo. Richard Masareka has helped to save a life during his 40 Days for Life campaign in Kasese. James Kizaa was a male student nurse who joined us.

Robert met the Kampala team for lunch who recently hosted a conference with USA local campaign leader Rachel Guy in March 2024 for 30 people. The team have helped to save a baby and have also made kits for mothers with new born babies. We also met Buyinza Tadeo who has run a local campaign near Masaka.

The long term goal is to engage with the culture to inculturate 40 Days for Life into an African context in a vibrant and sophisticated manner, touching hearts and minds, saving lives from abortion and impacting eternal souls. It is hoped that this mission trip sowed the seeds for that long term goal.

Pray for Uganda for an increase in pro-life outreach in the country. Many young people are open and fascinated to hear the pro-life message. With young people embracing a lifestyle, a strong birth rate the country, and by embracing God’s laws, the nation will establish a future full of hope.