We have all heard the stories. A Ugandan you know living or visiting abroad has been asked whether they live in trees or if they own a pet giraffe.A Ugandan I know, while visiting a church in Australia, was given 100 dollars by their neighbor on realizing they were from Uganda, on the assumption that they were destitute and in desperate need of donation.You hear of stories of people who are surprised when Africans go abroad to study and they get asked if they have clothes back home and sometimes its as bad as this (video of a guy posting on you tube that he wants to donate 1million shirts to Africa because they all need shirts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYZFyzmyCRE )

Now I can’t blame them for thinking that, their views of our country are shaped by ‘ Gods Must Be Crazy,’ and thousands of sob story pictures peddled by NGO’s.  Yes we have starving children, yes you might have an uncle crazy enough to own a wild animal of some sort, yes we might digging our way out of the effects of war, but our country is far from a war ridden jungle full of starving children, and the only way for them to know is for us to show them.

Growing up, my grandfather gathered all of us by the fire every evening to impart wisdom, through riddles, and how I loved hearing the phrase “ Koikoi,” which signaled the beginning of this riddle,a puzzle that would sometimes take us 2 days to solve but which also mean we would be a little wiser at the end of it all. Those times round the fire are the inspiration behind a 10 week challenge I hope will spread some wisdom and tell the Ugandan story because how will they know if we do not belt out our very own “KoiKoi.”

Thanks to the internet, the world is one global fireplace. With over 300million subscribers, if Instagram were a country, it would be the 4th largest in the world. Now that is one big fire place. And for the last couple of months we have been thinking, what if we could get 1 million photos and stories about Uganda on Instagram and by extension on Facebook? How many minds could we change? How many stereotypes could we break?

A man roasts chicken by the roadside at Bayimba International Arts Festival
A man roasts chicken by the roadside at Bayimba International Arts Festival

Now 1 million photo’s might seem like a lot, but it really isn’t if we do it together. Over the next 10 weeks, together with some friends in a collective of creatives called KafundaKreatives, we have structured 10 themes to act as a guide. Our hope is that every week starting September 11th, you will join us in sharing your interpretation of that weeks theme under the Koikoi hashtag.

At the end of 10 weeks, those 1 million photo’s will be compressed into ad’s about Uganda literally done by you. An ad about Uganda, by Ugandan’s, for Uganda. An ad telling the whole story, from the breathtaking serenity in the hills of kasese, to the unapologetic falls of Karuma and Bujagali, to the urban culture of Kampala, the technological innovation of our young and bright minds, out people, our culture, our communities. Join us in telling a story about Uganda that will blow the world away.

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