Community, Diaspora and Immigration

Uganda ranked happiest nation in East Africa

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If you want to live a happy life in the East African region, do not look elsewhere but Uganda.

The first-ever happiness report that was released this week in New York at a special UN sitting, ranked Uganda as 128th happiest country in the world out of the 156 countries, with an evaluation life score of about 4.5 out of 10.

Rwanda came in at 132, while Kenya came 134th. Tanzania (149) and Burundi (152) were among the 10 least happy countries, while Togo emerged the least happy country in the world.

The criteria
Nordic countries Denmark, Norway, Finland and Netherlands-in that order-were found to be the happiest in the world. The data was compiled from dozens of reports and other statistical information collected between 2005 and last year.

The variety of factors considered in the report, published by Columbia University’s Earth Institute, included economic, social support, absence of corruption and degree of personal freedom- and environmental qualities. Trust between citizens, but also in institutions also came up as a factor.

At individual level, good mental and physical health, someone to count on, job security and stable families were judged to be crucial, the report shows.

Forum for Democratic Change Vice President Salaam Musumba said the report says a lot about the rest of the world.
“Ugandans have nothing to be happy about, except being alive,” Ms Musumba said.

To the common man in Uganda, happiness is perceived differently.

Ms Ruth Atim, a phone operator, said she is happy because God has at least provided her with life, which she needs most.

“God has given me children, a job, education and independence,” she said.

Mr Jeffery Sachs, the co-author of the World Happiness Report, said happiness could be achieved independent of economic well-being as measured by a country’s gross national product.

He cited an example of the United States that has had a three-time increase of GNP per capita since 1960, but the happiness needle has not improved.

He called on governments not to leave the pursuance of happiness to individuals but rather treat it as a matter of national policy.

Some of the key factors that were considered during the research included work, social capital, values and religion, mental health, family, education and gender.

What to do

  • Governments need to. Helping people meet their basic needs.
  • Reinforcing social systems.
  • Implementing active labour policies.
  • Improving mental health services.
  • Promoting compassion, altruism and honesty

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