Uganda has recently benefited from a debt relief initiative coordinated by the World Bank designed to redeem the burden of debt crippling some of the world's poorest countries. But in a country where corruption is rife, is this relief - Uganda has been forgiven 60% of the $120 million it pays to service its foreign debt every year - really going to help the poor? Life travels in rural Uganda with the Uganda Debt Network, an NGO working to ensure that this aid reaches the poor and improves their lives.
An American academic, Steve Hanke, thinks that debt relief is a fraud and that believing that monitoring works is like believing in the tooth fairy: a free market and a vibrant economy is the only thing that can help poor countries and do away with corruption. But visiting poverty-stricken schools and AIDS orphans, Christine Nantongo of the Uganda Debt Network says relief really is working: she wants total cancellation of the country's $3.7 billion debt.
And Life reports on the thriving anti-corruption movement that has sprung up, with popular theater and campaigning schoolchildren.
The producer of this program has collected extensive resources at www.tve.org/life/archive/life29main.html
The other titles in the series are:
1. Life: The Story So Far - How the globalized world economy affects ordinary people.
2. Geraldo Off-Line - Globalized economy affects Brazilian factory worker.
3. From Docklands to Dhaka - English MD travels to Bangladesh to improve community health.
4. An Act of Faith: The Phelophepa Health Train - A group of health professionals tours the most deprived regions of South Africa providing care.
5. The Philadelphia Story - Globalized economy affects American jobs.
6. The Boxer - Young male looks to escape Mexican poverty by becoming a boxer in the United States.
7. The Seattle Syndrome - Were the WTO protesters right in their effort to protect workers and the environment from exploitation?
8. The Right to Choose - Women are denied human rights in Ethiopia and northern Nigeria.
9. At the End of a Gun: Women and War - The devastating effect that the civil war in Sri Lanka is having on women.
10. The Summit - The UN General Assembly meets to review progress on social justice worldwide.
11. All Different, All Equal - Examines progress in women's rights globally.
12. India Inhales - Activists combat tobacco companies that target India.
13. The Silver Age - Growing population of elderly worldwide seeks purpose and care.
14. The Cost of Living - AIDS drugs unaffordable in developing countries.
15. The Posse - Rap group in Sao Paulo, Brazil, expresses social problems.
16. Credit Where Credit is Due - Micro-credit organization in Bangladesh provides loans to village poor.
17. Regopstaan's Dream - Bushmen fight to live on ancestral land in South Africa.
18. Untouchable? - The caste system and bonded labor are still alive and well in India.
19. Because They're Worth It - Micro-credit, education, health information, and hope provided to impoverished Chinese.
20. For a Few Pennies More - Iodine deficiency causes health problems in Indonesia.
21. In the Name of Honour - Kurdish women fight for their rights in Northern Iraq.
22. God Among the Children - Community organization works with at-risk youth in Boston.
23. Without Rights - Palestinians are denied human rights.
24. Lost Generations - Poor health and poverty condemn people in India to sub-standard lives.
25. Educating Lucia - The odds are against girls getting an education in Zimbabwe and throughout much of Africa.
26. A-OK? - Examines prospects for Vitamin A distribution programs in Guatemala and Ghana necessary for children's health.
27. Bolivian Blues - Explores the success of new initiative to reduce widespread poverty.
28. The Outsiders - Explores the moral and economic dilemmas that adolescents face in the Ukraine today.
30. The On-going Story - Final episode examines the international community's commitment to linking social and economic development with human rights.
NOTE: A second series called City Life is now available.
Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2000
Copyright Date: 2000
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-493-1
VHS ISBN: 1-56029-872-3