*Ateker Diaspora organisation launched in Germany*

The last weekend saw the launch of a long sought after organisation aimed at bringing together Ateker clusters at home and in the Diaspora to unite and support development initiatives in their mother land.

Ateker International Development Organisation (AIDO) was launched at the Red Carpet Gala Dinner, on 27 October 2018, in Cologne, Germany by Hon. Agnes Akiror Egunyu, Minister of Teso Affairs.

The inauguration was the finale event of a week long retreat, 23 – 28 October, organised by Namasagali Former Students and Friends Foundation (NaFSaFF) in collaboration with Iteso Cultural Union (ICU) UK, and Ateker International Development Organisation (AIDO).

The week was packed with a range of activities including city tours of Brühl and Cologne, and a Cultural awareness day in Düsseldorf, which raised awareness of citizenship, cultural values and the need to preserve those values that especially promoted personal and community development. Exhibition stands of products made locally in Uganda, were also displayed.

The glass ceiling retreat, dubbed the first of its kind, to Germany, brought together up to 200 business minded people, from over 10 countries, not only to celebrate culture and diversity, but also to promote business, and to identify and engage stakeholders in investment opportunities, and tourism in Uganda.

Mrs Filda Lolem Braun, the lead event organiser, and Founder member of AIDO, was appointed Ateker Cultural Ambassador for Germany, in a heart warming ceremony presided over by Teso Cultural leader, Ambassador Chief Michael Okwalinga and Toto Beatrice Akaliat, on behalf of the Teso Prime Minister Papa Omome. The newly appointed Ambassador is the first ever female to be given such a high honour in the Ateker community.

Ateker supporter and Founder member of AIDO, Scottish borne Ms Gillian Sutton, also given the Teso name, Asio, introduced the new organisation. She impressed the audience when she mentioned her love for Uganda and the fact that she had volunteered within the Teso community for the last 12 years.

The main objective of Ateker International Development Organisation (AIDO) is to bring the people together to build a network of individuals, professionals, community groups and organisations, with a common goal of promoting cultural heritage, and advocating for unity and social change.

Ms Sutton thanked the attendees for their support, and continued by pointing out that the Gala event had representatives from Uganda, US, Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, Luxembourg, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Kenya, which was a key example of what AIDO is about.

AIDO aims to promote and lobby assistance and cooperation of NGOs, Governments and International bodies to alleviate poverty of marginalised groups by supporting sustainable development initiatives. AIDO will work to effect social change, by raising awareness and understanding in a bid to enhance people’s attitudes, and increase participation in development.

Ms Sutton went on to call upon the Chairman of AIDO, Mr Paul Jones Eganda, the Chief Guest, Founder members and stakeholders to witness the launch of the organisation.

Hon. Akiror Egunyu launched AIDO, and cheered on the Founder members, and stakeholders to continue to see through the organisational objectives, which had been presented to her, with the same conviction as the inspirational launch. She was impressed by the great teamwork, high level of professionalism and networking demonstrated by AIDO.

She pledged the support of the Ugandan Government of initiatives like AIDO, and echoed that such organisations played a key role in complementing the work of the Government of Uganda. She spoke about investment and tourism opportunities in Uganda, encouraging non Ugandans to come and visit the country, and also made a plea to the Ugandans living in the Diaspora to renew their love of tradition, culture and Country, to embrace the beauty and wealth opportunities within the most beautiful country in the world.

Dr Bell, a Germany doctor, and one of the event sponsors also pledged to use his Germany network to support the Aido initiative and investment in Uganda.

The highlight of the event was the cutting of the magnificent ceremonial giant cake inscribed with the words _‘ Red Carpet Gala in aid of clean drinking water’,_ an initial project of Aido. The cake was presented in a 5 minute Karamojong dance procession which moved, Hon. Akiror Egunyu, as she read the words, to praise the newly appointed Ambassador Filda Lolem Braun’s love of her people, after which she lifted her up, in a motherly mix of emotions of great pride and joy.

The Gala dinner ended on a high note, with a promise to unify people, and a dance party until the early hours.