At the height of the Anti-homosexuality Bill fracas in 2013,a Ugandan LGBTI activist Kasha Jaqueline Nabagesera tabled an idea to start a community media platform. The platform was intended to counter the various outings that are so common in Uganda’s main stream media as well as provide a safe place for LGBTI persons to share their own stories and also address issues that affect sexual minorities.
Efforts to have this this project kick off were squashed after the AHB was passed into law but even this did not completely wipe this dream off the table. After the newly enacted law that proposed life sentences for ‘persons caught engaging in homosexual behaviour’ was nullified, Kasha and her team decided to pounce at the opportunity before the Parliament could pull another quick one on the movement.
The group of less than 10 volunteers got down to wok and with the theme ‘RECLAIMING THE MEDIA’ launched Kuchu Times, a website that has grown tremendously since. In a period of about eight months, Kuchu Times has become one of the major go to news sites for LGBTI persons in not only Uganda but Africa and the world at large.
With very little resources, the team of eight has managed to bring hope to sexual minorities by airing their views and personal experiences which were otherwise ignored if not distorted to portray insanity or abnormality.
Like the site’s tag line, KT has provided a platform for LGBTI people to air their stories, lives and voices. Kuchu Times has also managed to publish Bombastic, a magazine aimed at telling the lived realities of sexual minorities and sharing them to grass root level.
The magazine was first distributed in December and again in May. Plans for a second issue are already underway and the team is working tirelessly to make the second publication a reality. Most recently, Kuchu Times has been the official media coverage for the just conclude Pride Festival in Uganda. They took the coverage a notch higher by live streaming all the events to the site visitors.
In its eight months of existence, Kuchu Times has garnered 1,000,000 visits with an average of 434 visits per day. These impressive numbers have been accumulated by approximately 150,000 visitors with most hailing from United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Uganda, Germany and China in that order.
According to Alexa, a site ran king website, Kuchu Times has improved from position 2,313,816 to 1,096,046 globally, in just period of three months.
While there are several setbacks especially in terms of resources, the Kuchu Times team is dedicated to continue fighting against discrimination that is based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity as well as create awareness by sharing life stories of LGBTI persons with policy makers, health providers and the general public.
Our dream is to see sexual minorities included in health policies, and equipping the general public and LGBTI community with useful information and knowledge. In the end, is non-discriminatory laws and policies are put in place and functional systems that hold human rights violators accountable are put in place, then we will have made the impact we set out to achieve.
Until then, may we continue to grow as a movement as well as support one another.