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Japanese dancer and WFP ambassador visits Uganda

The celebrated Japanese dancer ÜSA dancing at a warehouse where he visited farmers supported by WFP in Namalu, Nakapiripirit. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

ARUA – Last week, a popular Japanese dancer and global WFP celebrity supporter visited Uganda and travelled to Karamoja and the West Nile region to see the work of the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

The celebrated Japanese dancer ÜSA was on a five-day visit of Karamoja and West Nile regions of Uganda in a global co-operation that’s tangibly meant to change people’s lives.

“I’m convinced that through dancing I can convey messages to different people. Dance is a powerful tool for communicating without speaking. As a WFP supporter, I created a dance called “oishii” which means “delicious”.

During his five-day trip from June 17-21, ÜSA was over-seeing first-hand a raft of educational, agricultural and nutritional projects that are supported by WFP in a strong partnership with the Government of Uganda – some of the projects- are funded by the Government of Japan.

“It is my first time to come to Uganda. I witnessed WFP’s school meals programme, as well as nutrition programmes and WFP’s support to small-scale farmers.” ÜSA revealed.

ÜSA says he has witnessed how children look forward to receiving their meals and noted that having access to meals enables children to study with a peace of mind and in so doing pupils can easily complete their education.

He also pointed out that food security contributes a lot in helping the children in building a dream for their future.

He also visited the home of a schoolgirl whose father did not receive meals at school and as such did not complete his education. But now, because of school feeding, his child is going to school. One generation has become different from another because of school feeding.

“When I visited a small-holder farmer (in Namalu) she said that maize she produced was supplied to the school. So, a locally produced product is being used at the Namalu. I was very impressed by that WFP system (called home-grown school feeding).” ÜSA narrated.

The food WFP provides is vital for mothers and infant children – it’s enriched with vital nutrients that enable healthy feeding among children who benefit from this sponsorship.

“The system at the (Government) health centre enables mothers to not only collect WFP food but also to learn how to nurture their children. Education and training of mothers is also important.” He noted.

“I have found Karamoja to be very beautiful and touching, but there are many challenges. It was heart-breaking for me to see malnourished children and mothers. So when I go back to Japan, I will communicate what I have seen to the Japanese people. ” he affirmed.

He expressed his joy saying that he was so happy to have been received warmly by the multitudes of people from all walks of life who welcomed him.

“They were energetic and active and I was so happy to see them dancing and welcoming me. The children quickly picked up the dance.”

He noted that he has seen many young people and so much hope and opportunity in Africa, but also expressed his concerns over the many challenges he has seen people experiencing during his short visit.

He has identified agriculture as one of the areas where Japan can cooperate with Karamoja, through by sharing Japan’s agricultural technologies for example in irrigation and water systems.

“The reason I came all the way to dance with people in Uganda: I strongly believe dance is a universal language. Dance helped me to develop myself.” ÜSA acknowledged.

He conveyed his message of Zero Hunger (Sustainable Development Goal 2) to the world saying.

“ If people can think of zero hunger as they see me dance oishii, my mission will be complete because they will then spread the message and zero hunger will be achieved,” he said.

Caption for photos I sent you

ÜSA eats porridge with children of Namalu Mixed Primary school, Nakapiripirit
Him dancing at a warehouse where he visited farmers supported by WFP in Namalu, Nakapiripirit
– ÜSA at Rupa health centre II in Moroto district

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