Arise A Womenâ€™s Development Magazine Published by ACFODE
Issue 54 April 2013
Women and the Establishments
A just society where gender equality is a reality
To empower women and influence legislation and policy for gender equality in Uganda
Advocacy for gender equality and equity
Helen Twongyeirwe Regina Bafaki Nancy Nandudu
This publication was made possible through the kind support of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS). ACFODE greatly appreciates this generous contribution.
Contents Editorial.........................................................................................................................................................................2 Letters to the Editor....................................................................................................................................................3 Is Girl Child Education a Favour or an Obligation................................................................................................4 Leading Women Speak Out........................................................................................................................................6 Credibility in the Work Place as a Result of an MBA ........................................................................................ 10 Empowering Women Through Access to Property Rights in Uganda............................................................ 12 Book Review- Lean In ............................................................................................................................................ 14 Modernizing the Face of Uganda’s Agricultural Sector...................................................................................... 16 A man’s World Through Feminine Lenses............................................................................................................ 19 Justice for the Female Defenders of the Law....................................................................................................... 21 From Rags to Revelation: A Lira Woman Councillor’s Journey to Power....................................................... 22 “To Be or Not To Be” in the Political Sphere...................................................................................................... 25 Women Leadership: A Culture of Peace............................................................................................................... 26 Religion, the Backbone of African Women’s Development.............................................................................. 28 Culture at the Cutting Edge of Development...................................................................................................... 30 Lights Camera Action............................................................................................................................................... 34 Marriage: Women Too Should Pay Groom Price................................................................................................ 36 The War Between the Modern Woman and Sports............................................................................................. 38
Editorial Dear Readers, Women are an undeniably invaluable resource in the development of a nation. Unfortunately, in Uganda the contribution of these women is largely undermined, thus denying our nation the ability to fully utilize its resources for development. Issue 54 of the Arise magazine is therefore placing the spotlight on institutions (political, social, economic...etc) and their specific roles in the development of women. Its aim is to create awareness about the various avenues for women improve their options. It also serves as a self assessment tool for each female reader to determine how well she is being served by the existing structures and how well she is utilizing them. The insights within these pages will also, hopefully, be an eye opener for male readers to their individual roles in either promoting or eroding gender equality. The magazine uncovers mindsets of women, and the existing structures that determine these mindsets, while suggesting new and better ways of moving forward in the movement to attain credible social standing. Enjoy the read! Nancy Nandudu Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
ACFODE Board of Directors
Contributors to this issue
Gertrude Ssekabira – Chair
Alice Bongyeirwe – Treasurer
Stacey Pearl Keirungi
Josephine Kasaija – Member
Dismas Otoori – Member
Florence Muhwezi Tayebwa – Member
Deo K Tumusiime
Jane Nakintu – Member
Regina Bafaki – Secretary
Daisy Yossa – Staff Representative
Action For Development
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Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Action For Development (ACFODE) is an indigenous, voluntary, non governmental women's interest and development organization About – Suggest an Edit
ACFODE wins Women Achievers Award 2012 In recognition for Outstan for her commitment to promoting women’s rights in Uganda, Notes 30 Action
Education The girl child needs special attention to her physical needs in order for her to continue performing well in school
Is girl-child education a favor or an obligation? Tumusiime K. Deo
t birth, boys and girls are equal in all; at death, boys and girls are equal in all. If equality is distinguished from similarity, then boys and girls have equal propensity to benefit society in irrespective roles. What this ideally means, is that subjected to the same study environment, boys and girls should be able to perform excellently without any regard to their gender. A 2013 study by the University of Georgia and Columbia University points to better performance by girls compared to boys, which is said to be a result of factors external to their natural academic ability- for example, their better classroom behavior compared to boys subjected to similarly standardized tests. This is confirmation that the
gap between boys and girls in academics has largely resulted from historical imbalances. In order to justify the focus on girl child education, we need to look at three key historical aspects forming the threesome vicious cycle of imbalances against women; First, is the Biblical imbalance, which depicts women as second to men. More than 90% of all the stories in the Bible rotate around men and menâ€™s authority and importance, epitomized by the choice of Jesusâ€™ very own 12 apostles that did not include a single woman. Yet in the choice of Mother Mary to bear Godâ€™s own child and Joseph for her spouse, there is no mention of one being more important than the other! Therefore, since
Articles Research shows that girls perform better in class than boys
the Bible has historically played a key role in human development, it has equally contributed to the marginalization of women. The second issue worth mention is the Traditional imbalance fostered by women’s historical status as housewives. Married off at a tender age, women traditionally are only charged with the duty of maintaining the home and doing all sorts of unpaid jobs that require no academic excellence. Third, is the Natural imbalance that has everything to do with the physical variations between men and women. These include menstruation, child birth, and the whole question of women as the weaker sex. Male folk traditionally consider girls as sex instruments, often using and dumping them, therefore destroying their futures. While all this happens, the boys are able to proceed with education unimpeded. The above imbalances have existed almost since the very beginning of creation, underscoring the massive difficulty which it will take to address the situation. It’s therefore not enough to merely subject girls and boys to the same academic environment without due consideration of the historical imbalances which have robbed the girlchild of so much over the decades, and even in modern society! The girl-child deserves special focus not as a favor but as an attempt to make up for the imbalances. During our school-going days, my father always gave my sisters slightly more pocket money than he gave us the boys. At the time, we did not understand why he did that; our argument was always that since we are all children, we deserved to be treated equally. But we learned that the extra pocket money was intended to take care of our sisters’ vulnerabilities, many of which were not of their own making, but even so affected their
Since the coming of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, various governments and institutions have attempted to address some of these blatant imbalances. For example, the cultural belief that women are meant for the kitchen has started to change; women are actively involved and mentioned in church and spiritual circles, and girls today manage menstrual periods much more easily and are able to go about their education with fewer interruptions. Nonetheless, it’s still a long way before we can begin to celebrate that desired equality between boys and girls. Many instances still blatantly show that girls’ education needs particular focus, possibly until such a time when the imbalances previously mentioned have been dealt a final blow. Of course all blame for the imbalances cannot be placed on the current generation since we were all born into this very situation. However, times have changed quite a bit, and many of us are able to acknowledge the considerable contribution of educated women in various aspects of life whether in politics, business, agriculture, technology or any other industry. Therefore we have both the moral and social responsibility, appreciating the conscious and unconscious injustices meted on the girl-child, to ensure correction and respect for them and to desist from perpetuating the same unwelcome practices to future generations. I have heard a few people suggest that because women have been receiving special attention, they are about to overtake men! No, it’s not a race of sorts. When that desired balance between men and women has been realized, the dividends will speak for themselves and we will all be thankful for whatever contribution we made towards upholding girl-child education. The writer is an International Communications Consultant and can be reached at tumusiimedeo@ hotmail.com
Leading Women Speak Out Jovia Musiimenta Mrs. Janet Kataaha Museveni, first lady of Uganda, and Minister of Karamoja Affairs There is potential among the youth to lead instead of lamenting about employment that may not be forthcoming
Queen of Buganda Kingdom Our challenges cannot and should not be viewed in isolation. Buganda is an integral part of Uganda, East Africa and Africa. We must appreciate our problems in that sense, if only so that we may be able to postulate solutions that foster harmony with our brothers and sisters in the country, region and continent as a whole.
Justice Julia Sebutinde, former Chair Person of three Commissions of Inquiry into corruption in the Ugandan government, and judge of the International Criminal Court “Be tenacious! … Let no one despise you on account of your age, gender, tribe, race or any other stereotype out there. 30 years ago if someone had told me that a young girl from a humble family in Kiwafu Village in Entebbe would one day be the first African female judge in the World Court, I would probably think they are crazy! By the way, speaking of tenacity, I do not consider that I have reached the pinnacle of my career yet. There are still one or two dreams on my “Bucket List” which, God willing will one day come to pass!”
Allen Kagina, the Commissioner General, Uganda Revenue Authority When you define where you want to go, lead from the front. If you don’t take the lead, who will the others look up to? Show the way and don’t just direct from afar. Secondly, no one is an expert in everything. Be willing to allow the experts to do their job and learn from them. Personally, I don’t dictate where I have no expertise. Thirdly, if you have no credibility before the people you lead, you have lost your position though you still have the title. Let your people be sure that you mean what you say and you will deliver what you promised. Jennifer Lubwama Semakula Musisi, current Executive Director of Kampala City Council Authority “The Authority, in its drive to transform Kampala, will not shy away from taking bold decisions and implementing them, even if they may cause inconveniences to some members of the public,”
Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament When we go for field monitoring visits, we find policemen without the Constitution or Penal Code. How do you enforce the law when you have not seen the Constitution?
Dr. Miria Rukoza Koburunga Matembe, a former Chair person of the Committee on Rules, privileges and Discpline at the Pan-African Parliament “Ignorance and lack of resources are some of the issues hampering the advancement of girl child education. Are women healthier with three women ministers in the Health Ministry? Or is there coownership of land since we now have a woman Lands minister?”
Dr. Margaret Blick Kigozi, a consultant at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and former Executive Director of the Uganda Investment Authority “A woman dressed in a busuuti (African garb) doesn’t attract as much attention as a man when it comes to getting bank loans ... In fact, she may have to come along with her husband..”
Articles Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State “It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation. It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will. If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, it is that human rights are women’s rights - and women’s rights are human rights. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely - and the right to be heard. (from ‘Women’s Rights Are Human Rights’ Speech Beijing, China: 5 September 1995)” Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, the world’s first elected black female president and Africa’s first elected female head of state. Be not afraid to denounce injustice, though you may be outnumbered. Be not afraid to seek peace, even if your voice may be small. Be not afraid to demand peace.”
Angela Dorothea Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, and the Leader of the Christian Democratic Union. “Politicians have to be committed to people in equal measures.”
Graca Machel, a Mozambican politician and humanitarian and the third wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela is an international advocate for women’s and children’s rights. Therefore my challenge to each of you ... is that you ask yourself what you can do to make a difference. And then take that action, no matter how large or how small. For our children have a right to peace.
Credibility in the Work Place as a Result of an MBA Jovia Musiimenta
n the quest for career development, women are motivated by the same factors as men, that is, core knowledge, strategic perspectives and influential networks. Although the majority may not know exactly what they will do immediately after graduation from universities and other institutions of higher learning, let alone 10 or 20 years into the future, a few realize that investing two years and six-figures in a top education can catapult their careers and provide a lifetime safety net like nothing else. The financial break-even may take a few years, but with a prestigious MBA the return-on-investment is virtually guaranteed.
Many women find that a top MBA degree is a “catalyst”, that is, the education creates more and better career opportunities to move forward at a faster pace, builds alliances that produce future job offers, increases chances of consideration for promotion ahead of non-MBAs, and funding for entrepreneurial ventures. An MBA provides a career/business woman with a great opportunity to improve her “credibility skills”, which are highly considered in the marketplace, and to its credit, it specifically hones her skills in some prime areas which include;
Articles Results based operations In our imbalanced world which perceives women as the weaker sex in all arenas, they automatically work twice as hard as they are expected to consistently exceed performance expectations in their workplaces in order to measure up to their male counterparts, and climb the career ladder. The education that an MBA delivers however, would empower women to work smarter instead of harder, take initiative, and bring in the best results all the time. Undoubtedly it is necessary for a woman’s visibility to be positive and supported by good results in order for her credibility to keep growing. Overcoming stereotypes Given that women are naturally inclined to encourage participation, are willing to share power, exchange information and willingly involve others in their work, this can easily be taken to mean that they lack ideas and want to be liked. Also, the fact that women are more prone to express enthusiasm at work, their genuine moral disposition can often times be mistaken for naiveté and may in turn undermine their credibility. Thus, with the clear distinction between men and women’s methods of managing people, added qualifications help women not to fall victim to the key misinterpretations that may arise from this. Perceptiveness and adaptability The MBA education develops numerous new skills in women that are incredibly useful for business. The ability to adopt a flexible management style that is acceptable to both women and men is a key ingredient in dealing with the ‘office politics’ that has its roots deeply in stereotypes and intrigue. However, through the right intervention, such politics can be effectively overcome. Resilience The competitive road ahead of an individual without an MBA can also seem insurmountable considering the younger, more qualified competitors springing out of institutions every year. With such a platform, a professional MBA would level the playing field for older women, and offer them a competitive advantage over their more youthful contenders. According to Rita, a business woman in Katwe, the passing years
are no longer an excuse to be ill-prepared for anything. According to her, “No matter what you decide, you’re going to be older two months or two years from now. So, why not be older with a higher qualification!” Confidence-building Through the MBA training, women are able to start believing in themselves. This is because the curriculum enables individuals to discover and isolate those unique assets within themselves that may be crucial in dealing with their peculiar business problems. Coupled with the resilience that is gained through this program, women business owners as well as career women can expect to be able to fully utilize their internal and external resources in the competitive marketplace. However, it is possible to get blindsided along the way in the excitement of pursuing an MBA, and it is important for women especially to remember to set their sights high, both in terms of the caliber of school that they choose to attend, as well as the goals they wish to achieve. Self-belief is therefore imperative, as it would help to reassure them of their unique experiences and assets that would add value to the overall MBA program. In addition, although some people do not seem to recognize its importance, women need to realize the need to go the extra mile by building up on their resumes, cultivating their recommenders, crafting great essays, visiting schools, and introducing themselves to students and alumni. This type of prior ground-laying is crucial in convincing the admissions committee at the institution of your choice that you understand value and embody their selection criteria, and hold powerful aspirations for your future. Thus, it is safe to say that while credibility can be difficult to establish, it is key to business success and therefore is rightfully prioritized by the MBA throughout its curriculum. And with the high levels of credibility inadequacies that face women, it is therefore important for us to pursue every opportunity that gives us a chance to successfully prove our ability to articulate and implement projects, whether personal, or for employers. Sources: Internet The writer is a social worker and can be reached at email@example.com
Empowering women through access to property rights in Uganda By Esther Namitala
Women contribute the largest portion of effort to the agricultural sector in Uganda
he quest for gender equality in the institution of marriage in Uganda is a historically one-sided affair that has largely not favored women. With challenges arising mainly from deep seated cultural backgrounds which placed rights to all property in the hands of men, i.e. land, houses, cars, cattle and unfortunately women through widow inheritance. In such circumstances, chances of women taking charge of their hard-earned property can only be attained after expensive court cases, which they basically cannot afford. â€œThis is contrary to our Constitution under Article 2(2) which allows us to practice our traditions and cultures as long as
they are not repugnant to the provisions therein,â€? notes Grace Babihuga, Executive Director of Uganda Law Society (ULS). The largest number of affected women lives in rural areas, and because of this they remain less exposed to the legal options available to them, and where their awareness cannot be brought into question, their ability to access the services remains a challenge. With the majority of Uganda's population living in rural areas, and women being the major actors in the agricultural sphere, a major debate still remains as to how they can achieve justice amid heavy socio-cultural hindrances. According to Babihuga, â€œWomen are
Articles offered protection or legal rights on paper but in reality, very few women particularly those in rural areas, those on customary land and those in conflict and post conflict situations have benefited from these policies.” The most immediate obstacle to accessing their privileges and rights, which perhaps remains the hardest to overcome, is the high poverty index, which is perpetuated by cultural arguments that have withstood even the most intense interventions by Non-Governmental Organizations. For instance, culture dictates that women do not own property which makes them perpetual squatters and because they are not supposed to share domestic matters there is a tradition of subservience that forces women to suffer injustice silently. According to Babihuga, the most common cases of injustice are brought on by insufficient knowledge of justice, inferiority complexes, ignorance of rights, and these personal hindrances are perpetuated by non functional institutions, which exist only on paper but in reality, do not carry out the sensitization processes that they should. More so, women daily suffer from economic violence. Often times they are the victims of illegal evictions, denial of spousal consent by their husbands in matters of land disposal, land grabbing and denial of property, especially in the case of widows in matters of estate administration. Unfortunately, only a handful of women are aware of property laws, and their protections. For instance, going by the number of illegal land sell-offs that are victimizing women, clearly the amendment to the Land Act of 2004, which stipulates that a man must seek the consent of his wife before he can sell family land, is not widely known. Thankfully, Ugandan law does attempt to provide culturally sensitive measures of dealing with property rights, while still allowing for gender equality in distribution. Clauses in the Constitution of Uganda (1995) and Section two of the Land Act (2010)stipulate that ownership of all land in Uganda rests with the citizens of Uganda who own it according to the four tenure systems. “By taking advantage of the above laws, a cross section of women has accessed justice,” says Babihuga. She adds that “access to justice by women regarding land property ownership varies from women in urban areas, to those in stable areas, registered title
Women in rural areas remain largely unaware of their rights in regard to property ownership
owners and the literate woken.” Although contentious issues such as provision for spousal co-ownership of land aren't adequately addressed in these laws, they issues regarding safety for the vulnerable spouse should be prioritized by ensuring that upon divorce, all property should be equally shared including that which one party may not have purchased, but may have contributed to the improvement there of. In addition, the existence of justice centers such as FIDA, ULS, public defenders, Advocates San Frontiers and FHRI also serves to strengthen women's positions economically through awareness creation campaigns, income generation opportunities and legal aid where necessary. “Regardless of gender, everyone has a right to property and it is against our laws for women to be denied enjoyment of their rights, for those whose rights have been abused, there are channels or institutions, through which redress can be sought,” says Babihuga. The outstanding gap that this brings to light concerns awareness about property laws and rights, among women. It therefore remains for the concerned bodies to work together to ensure that this gap is bridged with consistent, relevant and updated information being taken to the grassroots for the benefit of these vulnerable women. More often than not, scattered efforts are undertaken with minimal success because of the absence of depth in their approach. However, through a concerted effort of government institutions, the civil society institutions and JLOS institutions, it will be possible for plausible improvement of women's access to the justice system to be achieved. firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Sheryl Sandberg Reviewer: Sasha Mumbi
he inspirational book by Sheryl Sandberg is a call for every woman to rise above all the gender biases that they experience in their work places and stop making excuses for not taking up leadership positions. Throughout the pages of this publication, the message that rings loud and clear is the need for women to embrace their ability to juggle work and family, and not let the overwhelming responsibility that they have, override their ambitions to advance their careers. Sandberg’s theory is that by Leaning in and duly rising through the ranks, a woman can finally be positioned to effectively fulfill her obligations both professionally and personally. She therefore discourages what she terms ‘unnecessarily
subservient attitudes’ among women that see them edging themselves out of the competition for high ranking positions simply on the presumption that their families shall eventually need to take precedence over their careers. Sandberg opens up about her insecurities, describing the many times in her career when she was deeply unsure of herself, as well as the haunting uncertainty, which hasn’t completely disappeared despite her many accomplishments. This makes her come across as compassionate, honest and likeable. “I still face situations that I fear are beyond my capabilities. I still have days when I feel like a fraud. And I still sometimes find myself spoken over and discounted while men sitting next to me are not. But now I know how
“Lean In” is full of many slogans that ambitious women would do well to pin up on their wall. Figure out what you want to do before you meet with the people who can hire you. Ask yourself constantly: “How can I do better? What am I doing that I don’t know? What am I not doing that I don’t see?” “Done is better than perfect.” And many readers will enjoy the glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous that Sandberg affords.
to take a deep breath and keep my hand up. I have learned to sit at the table.” Her advice to young women is to be more ambitious; she asks them the direct question — “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” — in order to address the selfdoubt that still holds many women back. Sandberg, at 43, has scaled the walls of power and leadership, humbly starting from the position of research assistant to Lawrence Summers at the World Bank, proceeding to management consultant at McKinsey, then to chief of staff to Summers at the Treasury Department; and six and a half years at Google, where she rose to the post of vice president of global online sales and operations. She has also made it to the top of the notoriously male-dominated world of Silicon Valley, where the scarcity of women among the ranks of computer scientists and engineers is still all too visible. She credits her success to intense commitment, intelligence and a ferocious work ethic. “Lean In” is full of many slogans that ambitious women would do well to pin up on their wall. Figure out what you want to do before you meet with the people who can hire you. Ask yourself constantly: “How can I do better? What am I doing that I don’t know? What am I not doing that I don’t see?” “Done is better than perfect.” And many readers will enjoy the glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous that Sandberg affords. Owing to the nature of Sandberg’s examples, it’s easy to put this book aside as a young woman’s book, however this book applies to any woman who isn’t afraid to meet challenges head-on with hard work and self confidence. On the other hand, in reference to the kind of women that are not half that confident, the book declines to address the fact that for most of them,
the challenge is not so much the need to Lean in, but rather the need to find the right balance between their career and family life, which many times becomes squashed in a woman’s ambitious efforts. This brings me into agreement with Sandberg’s argument that it is easier for a woman to handle her work-family conflicts from higher up the ladder, but if the process of rising to the top brings the very stability of her life into question, then no amount of psychological coaching can help. That is the real debate here, and it’s an important one. Sandberg puts her finger on it when she writes: “For decades, we have focused on giving women the choice to work inside or outside the home. . . . But we have to ask ourselves if we have become so focused on supporting personal choices that we’re failing to encourage women to aspire to leadership.” Still, Sandberg’s approach, as important as it is, is only a one sided affair, which does not consider the fact that young women might be much more willing to lean in if they saw better methods and possibilities of fitting their work and personal lives together, as opposed to only examples of successful role models: ways of slowing down for a while but still staying on a long-term promotion track; of getting work done on their own time rather than according to a fixed schedule; of being affirmed daily in their roles both as parents and as professionals. Therefore, Sandberg’s book only serves to raise a pertinent question; Is the scarcity of women in top jobs due to a lack of ambition or a lack of support? There may be a need for the businesses to also Lean in to support women on the rise. Source: Internet Sasha.email@example.com
Equipped with appropriate skills and knowledge in modern agriculture, women can effectively benefit from the sector
MODERNIZING THE FACE OF UGANDAâ€™S AGRICULTURAL SECTOR Yossa Immaculate Daisy
Articles security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Unfortunately, the existing situation is a far cry from the ideal in spite of a number of government interventions. One of the programmes that the government of Uganda rolled out in this regard is the National Agricultural and Advisory services (NAADS). First introduced in 1997, NAADS is one of those programmes in the National Development Plan aimed at creating food secure households and improved livelihoods. It emerged from the Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA), a programme contained in the national Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP). More than 10 years down the road and critics continue to question the impact of NAADS on the livelihoods of the common person, but no one can deny the fact that it has greatly mainstreamed gender into its interventions. “With a model that encourages farmers to come together and form groups through which advisory and technological development services can be accessed, many women farmers have benefitted from this programme”, says Ms. Zalwango Prossy, the District NAADS coordinator of Mukono District. According to her, 7/10 women in every village of her district have accessed advisory services and received equal portions of improved seed types and breeds like their male counterparts.
n Uganda, women in rural areas engage primarily in agriculture, all the way from the production to the small scale processing of harvested products. This awesome responsibility however widely acknowledged through national and international income indices, remains the bane of their existence due to the fact that they remain the poorest and bear the brunt of food insecurity in the nation. The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food
Mary Kalungi is a farmer from Nakabago village in Mukono central division. Through her group Gavamukulya, she has acquired pigs, banana suckers and has benefitted from numerous trainings. “As a widow, and household head, the services received from NAADS have made me a better farmer, increased my household income through sale of produce and improved my livelihood” says Mary. “I am also in position to meet other household needs like fuel, healthcare and education for my grandchildren,” she adds. Norah Nabulya of Nsambwe ‘A’ village in Mukono district swears by the NAADS component of “promotion of food security amongst households.” She is proud of the knowledge, skills and expertise that she has gained through her group ‘Basooka Kwavula’, which introduced her to modern methods of poultry farming. “Before joining the NAADS programme, I practiced zero
Article they have come to terms with which affect their efforts to sustain food secure households include the erratic weather patterns characterised by prolonged dry spells and frequent rains that affect the quality and quantity of their yields. Relatedly is the fluctuation of agro inputs which make them inaccessible to the farmers according to the NAADS coordinator. In addition is the workload women have to shoulder with little assistance from their partners. According to the NAADS coordinator “majority men leave all work to the women which at times hinders them from attending NAADS trainings and yet labour costs are high and unaffordable for them”. They as a result miss out on the knowledge and skill transfer of the training. Mary Kalungi in her garden
While women farmers owe much to NAADS, their optimism lies in more investment in the agricultural sector in particular subsidisation of agro inputs to make them more affordable including making available and accessible small irrigation facilities especially for the long dry spells. Unfortunately not many women farmers respond well to developmental programmes due to their eagerness for immediate profit, instead of the attainment of the lasting knowledge and skills to boost their future possibilities. This as a result has made many susceptible to food insecurity.
With advanced technology, agricultural yields can be drastically improved
grazing”, she narrates. “However through the training, I have been able to expand the pig sty and also increase on the number of pigs I keep.” Norah even uses the waste from the pig and cow pens to fertilize her banana garden, which has boosted her banana yield. The main challenge women farmers like Mary and Norah face is the tendency for buyers to exploit them by offering low prices for their produce unlike their male colleagues. Other challenges
The emergence of proactive interventions such as the Agricultural Technology and Agribusiness Advisory Services (ATAAS), which is the brain child of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and fisheries heralds the dawn of an era of limitless possibilities for female farmers including; increased yields, improved storage mechanisms and enhanced value for previously uncompetitive farm produce. Therefore, although a range of complex risks including climate change, environmental degradation, population growth, conflict and food price volatility are challenges that continue to beset women’s struggle for the attainment of food secure households both locally and nationally, these strong pillars of society need only adapt to the positive winds of change, embrace strategic opportunities as they arise, and make use of vital information which is readily available through the right channels. firstname.lastname@example.org
A Man’s World Through
Feminine Glasses Violet Muwebwa
hroughout history in Uganda, the medical profession has been largely dominated by men, with talented women fading into the background despite their commendable skills in this sector. Over decades, women have slowly been rising through the ranks, and the statistics, although not the best, are not as dire as before. Rising from stereotypical positions such as nurses and paramedics, women have reached out to make their own stamp on the profession. With Uganda now boasting of 3 female surgeons, and the deputy director of its national hospital, Mulago, being a woman, hopes are high for further elevation of women in the ranks. In order to get a glimpse into the obviously difficult world of women in the medical sector, I met up with Dr. Doreen Male, the deputy director of Mulago for a chat. Before we met, my premise for this interview were the words of Hon. Salam Musumba who commented thus about women’s struggles within the political arena, “For a woman to succeed politically you need to work six times harder than a man; the few of us who have made it are the super girls”. With no choice except to replicate the sentiment across all institutions, I confess a certain level of curiosity for how female medical doctors feel, considering that they too struggle daily to force their way into a “man’s domain”. My questions were quickly answered by a relaxed, good humored Dr. Male, who immediately agreed
Dr. Doreen Male, the Deputy Director of Mulago hospital
that surgery, which is her main area of expertise is typically known as a ‘man’s arena.’ She added that her decision to pursue a career in Medicine had caused a huge uproar from some people, who even accused her of pride and unnecessary ambition. Such attitudes, she says, are the leading cause for the current status quo of women, who do not consider pursuing a medical career as easily as men. She reiterates that, “In as much as women are being encouraged to join the medical sector every year, the ratio is still way too low.” Dr. Male joined the medical sector in 1985 after graduating from the Makerere University Medical School, as a Medical Doctor. After a brief
Mulago hospital is Uganda's only national referral hospital
internship at Mulago hospital, she enrolled for a Masters degree in Surgery in 1989, going ahead to specialize in Pediatric Surgery in 1994. Emerging as one of only three female surgeons in Uganda, Doreen is the only practicing female surgeon who persisted in the practice even after the exit of her counterparts. She asserts that the rewards of her career have spilled over from her professional life into her home. Dr. Male attributes the ease with which she mentored her children to aspire for strong positions in society to her highly successful career. “I have never regretted my profession. My children respect me because of what I do and this has spurred them on to excel in their various careers. One of my children is an Engineer and another, a Statistician” Regarding the entry of women into the medical profession, Dr. Male is adamant that key players in the national authority should show due respect to those few women that manage to attain success in this particular field by empowering more women to enter into the profession with ease.”Women are paying a high price for their success both at work and at home because the heavy burden of their natural roles isn’t often shared by their spouses, and this de-motivates them,” she says. As an interim remedy, Dr. Male strongly suggests that women doctors need to form an association that will act as a support group for accountability and internal mentorship. “We as female doctors need to identify with each other, and help each other to realize our dreams. I do have some medical “daughters”, whom I mentor on balancing work and home life for improvement in their productivity.” She cites the most prominent challenge of female doctors as male ego. “Men are naturally bullies. I
survived the terror because I knew what I wanted and I was assertive,” she says. In her opinion, women can only surmount this obstacle with commitment, hard work and determination. Dr. Male believes that the above is important in determining the direction of the entire medical profession. According to her the profession should not be taken lightly, although on the surface it may be advertised as very noble, aspiring doctors need to be mentored in the service-providing nature of the profession, in order for them to prioritize the needs of their patients instead of their own financial needs. “I have many patients out of my department who prefer that I attend to them because they know that I care and am willing to serve them. My greatest motivation is seeing a person become well, not getting anything from them.” Dr. Male reveals that a pertinent issue for women’s inclusion in the health sector, is drive and strategy. Without these two elements, any person is likely to be overwhelmed by events as well as the obstacles that have been in the way of women’s’ development, and will probably maintain a hold on society in the foreseeable future. Her story calls for women to be strong in the face of opposition, seek out every possible opportunity for their professional development and assert their competence in every area. With this winning formula, doors will freely open to them, and only the sky will be the limit for their potential. “I did not apply for this Office, rather on one Monday morning I found an appointment letter on my table. I am glad that some people were able to see my great potential,” Dr. Male says with a smile. ACFODE MEMBER: email@example.com
Justice for the Female Defenders of the Law By Esther Namitala Judith Nabakooba is the spokes person for Uganda Police Force Judith Nabakooba is Uganda’s Police spokesperson. She was recruited in 2004 making her one of the longest serving Public Relations Officers in the force. Esther Namitala caught up with her to seek her views regarding the status of women police officers in high power positions in the Uganda Police Force i.e. the challenges/struggles faced, and women considerations among others. Read on to find out what she had to say.
How is police work and what are some of the challenges faced by Women officers in the UPF Establishment? Police work is O.K and flows quite well for the women Police officers with a few exceptions; • Women being mothers; there is conflict of interest in the roles played by female officers. Police work demands full time presence at the place of work especially for the lower cadres until one is relieved by another officer e.g. Absence from a point of guard like at a bank even for 5 minutes may result in robbery. • Quite often the women officers do not find time to attend to their families and fulfill the expected demands of a mother and a wife in their homes compared to other professions e.g. Teachers, Nurses etc. • The dressing code (Khaki uniform) for Police
personnel is sometimes not favorable to women officers e.g. putting on Khaki trousers when they are undergoing their “Periods” is very uncomfortable. • Sometimes women officers are underrated in service delivery yet they can compete well with male officers and even perform better. • Deployment policy of the UPF which demands that an officer may be called upon to render service in any part of Uganda when need arises. When such need arises it is not always easy to relocate the family at the same pace. This affects both female and male officers equally but the female officers are hurt most because they are the home and family Managers. • Sometimes getting partners for marriage especially from the civilian community is difficult because most men tend to shun gun
One of the greatest challenges of the UPF is the low number of female officers
wielding female officers who are fully trained in Police work which includes physical fitness and Marshal Arts. â€˘ The number of female officers is less compared to the male. This means female officers are numerically weak and therefore lamentably not outspoken. This narrows their chances to develop and display their talents in a male dominated institution. Just like in other institutions or organizations, are there any opportunities in Police available for growth in the ranks for women vis-Ă -vis men counterparts? The Uganda Police Force establishment has an open door policy regarding promotions and growth in ranks for all officers. Consideration for promotions and growth in ranks is based on
performance, ability, discipline, training and skill. Due consideration is also given to gender balance but because the strength (numbers) of female officers is far less than that of the male counter parts, each time there are promotions, it automatically appears that less women than male officers have been promoted. The Central issue is that overall; the numerical strength of female officers in the UPF is still low compared to the male counter parts. It is therefore hoped that the planned creation and establishment of a womenâ€™s Department will greatly address this issue among others. What are some of the challenges of women rising in the ranks as opposed to men? As stated above, there is an open door policy in UPF establishment of free competition for everybody. Promotions in the UPF are based on
Interview merit, discipline, service delivery and skills. Gone are the days when promotion of female officers was based on other considerations. The UPF as a Public Institution is moving at the same pace with other Public departments where promotions and career development are based on performances, equal opportunities and talents.
Is there a special desk to handle such issues?
Vis-Ă -vis their special needs, what considerations are given to women in the Police?
The proposed creation and establishment of the special Department for women is a conclusive response to many of the challenges faced by female officers. I must say it is going to be a great leap forward.
The UPF establishment is a gender sensitive organization. It observes the National and International guidelines regarding gender balance and the rights of women as much as possible. In situations where a woman police officer is breastfeeding or pregnant, due regard is given to her plight and deployment for light work is accordingly made. Also where a female Police officer who is officially married requests to be transferred to work with or near her husband, such a request is automatically approved. At the moment the UPF is in advanced stages of planning for establishment of a special Department for women to specifically address the special and unique needs of women Police officers among other things. Are there any struggles faced by women in high power positions in the UPF establishment in regard to respect from both females and Males? Women in high power positions in the UPF are equally respected like the men. The only noticeable struggle is that there is always over expectation and a high degree of nervousness by the public and the other officers in the Force as to whether a highly placed female officer will competently, successfully and continuously deliver expected service in such high office. Contrary to the expectations, female highly placed officers have continued to competently deliver service in their offices. Case in point are; the current Director CIID, the current Commandant SIU and without blowing my own trumpet, I think as a Force spokes person, I have not failed in my role. What have been some of the solutions or responses to some of these challenges?
There is a special desk manned by a senior female officer in the Human Resource Department at Police Headquarters to specifically address the womenâ€™s issues and complaints.
Women at work places at times experience harassment from their male counterparts. Do women in police openly report such cases? If yes, how often do they report? UPF establishment is just another department of the Uganda Government. It does not operate in the abstract or in isolation with other Government departments or Ministries. The UPF is also an organization fully aware of and sensitive to gender balance, rights of women, modernity and compliant with the National and international etiquette for women. As an organization, we do not condone the harassment of women however like in any other community there might be some isolated individual cases. Whenever such cases are reported, immediate disciplinary and administrative measures are undertaken to address the problem. For the record, take it from me that such cases are a rare occurrence. At times women prefer to remain silent about harassment cases probably due to their profile or after effects. Why do you think they never report? Let us not create mountains out of anthills. As stated earlier, cases of women harassment are rare in the UPF of today and whenever they are reported, they are dealt with decisively. Part of the ideology of the UPF of today is synergy. We believe in synergizing in terms of manpower for better service delivery. This is part of the training given to officers while undergoing initial training for Police work. Emphasis is made on working together and sharing responsibilities and tasks between both male and female officers. How soon is the complainant attended
Interview to and how are the offenders punished? The answer is immediately. As soon as a complaint of harassment is reported, the immediate supervisor of the officer is supposed to take disciplinary action by charging the officer who has committed harassment. The maximum is expulsion from the Police Force. Other light punishments include fines, caution and severe reprimand, not forgetting making an apology. It all depends on the circumstances of the occurrence. Other administrative actions taken by management of the Police Force include; transfer of such undisciplined officer away from the female victim, not being considered for promotion and suspension from duty etc. Could you cite any case that has been brought to your attention and how it has been addressed? Again like I have said before, let us not create mountains out of small anthills. Such cases are rare and whenever they are reported the necessary steps are taken to address them. They are so rare and minimal that I do not even have the statistics. Is there any lady you could refer me to for a personal testimony? Not exactly because as said earlier stated, cases of harassment are rare. Even if there was one she would not come up to testify because her complaint must have been properly addressed long ago by the mechanisms in place and the bitterness is no longer there.
of Uganda do not permit segregation of people based on sex, religion, tribe etc. Officers of the UPF are also citizens of Uganda who are fully aware of the national laws and the effect of violating such laws.
How have you engaged men in this fight of bringing a stop to women harassment? Men within the UPF are fully aware that female harassment is not allowed in the Force. They are sensitized continuously right from the initial training and during the compulsory Monday Morning Barazas at all Police stations in the Country. As a matter of policy the Monday barazas or DPCs parades are meant to identify, share and solve problems within the Police community of a given area. It is at such occasions that senior Commanders engage the men and educate their juniors about policies of the UPF, give administrative instructions, check discipline and smartness of the men and women under their command and encourage any officer with personal problems or complaints to raise them up for the necessary action to be done. Advice to those experiencing harassment in the police force Do not suffer silently whenever you are harassed by male officers. Do not get embarrassed to report such cases to your supervisors.
Are there any policies /laws in place that address such issues and are employees aware of them?
The strict position of Management of the UPF is total condemnation of harassment of female officers by their counter parts.
The code of conduct for Police officers spelt out in the Police Act cap.303 makes provision for disciplinary actions. Depending on the circumstances of the occurrence and the evidence available, such cases can be classified as discreditable conduct, or scandalous behavior which is punishable by the maximum punishment of expulsion from the Force.
What else should the reader know?
The Police Standing Orders which are currently undergoing amendments also do not allow harassment of female Police officers. Needless to say other national laws including the Constitution
The reader should know that the UPF is just like any other Public Department of work in both Government and private Sector. The UPF accordingly observes all the relevant laws of the nation and strictly practices the etiquette of all public servants. There are means and mechanisms in place to address such misconduct whenever and wherever it occurs. Judith Nabakooba can be reached on nabu25@ yahoo.com
From Rags to Revelation: A Lira Woman Councillor's Journey to Power By Arise Reporter
Hon. Molly Abang
on. Molly Abang was a District councillor in Lira until Dokolo was curved out of Lira in 2006. She is currently the Vice Chair person of Dokolo District having been elected councillor representing Bata Sub –County, on the directly elected seat. Molly's journey to her current position was one of struggle, from the lowest sub county level to the district level, amid a torrent of disdain from both men and women in her constituency. She shares her story: “My political journey began in 1996 in Namasale sub-county when I was nominated Secretary for Women in council. At the time I had just finalised a divorce from an abusive husband and many women simply did not support me, choosing to believe that I was out to steal their husbands. Some men on the other hand regarded me as a weak woman who could not contribute much to the development of the sub county, and so they tried to de-campaign me on all fronts. The times were hard, and every day was a struggle to attain credibility. However, this did not deter me, instead it made me more determined to support the cause of other women. The fact that I was not originally from the sub-county worsened my chances in the elections, but because of my determination and vision for the area, I eventually won the majority vote and attained the position of Woman Councillor representing Namasale and Awello sub-counties in Lira District Council. The months immediately after my victory were particularly difficult for me, but they also offered me a chance to grow in my speaking ability. I was timid at first because of my minimal education,(I
had dropped out of senior three) but despite my fear I never turned down a speaking engagement. I am happy that I never let my low education stand in my way because by the time the next elections came up, I was re-elected as woman representative for Lira District this time for Dokolo and Bata Sub-counties. Soon afterwards, it seemed like unforeseen doors started opening up for me; I was invited by UNICEF to share my experience as a local woman politician, in the Netherlands. Boosted by my success, in 2008 I chose to complete my education so I went back to school where I successfully completed my O and A Levels. Through the quota system, I earned a scholarship to Gulu University where I am currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Development Studies. I am now in my final year of studies at the University. Five years down the road of political leadership, I feel like I am growing from strength to strength. The thought of failing to raise the nomination fees of 50,000 UGX is only a distant memory that exists to remind me of my humble beginnings. The fact that I was forced to sell my sewing machine to raise the fees was a clear sign of my commitment to the cause, and apparently the electorate too was convinced of the same, because I won the elections! To all women out there, it is what you carry inside you that will push you to great heights and not what people think or say. Simply keep your dreams alive!” Source: ACFODE project "Building and Amplifying Women's Voices in Politics and Decision Making" firstname.lastname@example.org
"To Be or Not to Be"
in the Political Sphere By Arise Reporter
on. Mudondo Lydia is the Local Woman councillor and Finance Secretary of Magada sub-county in Namutumba district. The fire brand legislator has served in her current position for three terms and easily enjoys the support of her constituency for her dedication, innovativeness and drive for the region. All this present glory however was only a distant dream years ago when she was first elected. "I had low self esteem issues to grapple with and yet my monetary expectations were high," she says. Lydia entered her new role high on the enthusiasm of her constituents and low on the requisite experience and training for the job. Thus she was ill prepared for the poor facilitation of her office compared to the great need for interventions within the community. Thrown to the wolves, as it were, Lydia was forced to think outside the box for innovative ways to facilitate those activities, which included consultative meetings with the electorate in her seven parishes. â€œI realised I had to look for alternative sources of income and engage in a number of income generating activitiesâ€?, Lydia asserts. With the overwhelming expectations from her electorate weighing on her conscience, Lydia decided to reject any feelings of regret and incompetence, choosing instead to embark on income generating activities to fund her daily responsibilities. She slowly built up a poultry farm and a charcoal selling business, which gradually became a dependable supplement to the meagre
A group of women in a Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO);
budget allocated for women in her sub-county at the time. With income streaming in from her businesses and her government budget, Lydia became popular for her mobilization skills that brought people together for beneficial dialogues and economic activities. Throughout her tenure, she has mobilised hundreds of women to form groups for collective action, especially in the agricultural sector. With the funds she raised overtime, she has been able to facilitate these agricultural women's groups to register with national bodies such as National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS). She has also promoted the formation of informal Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) among the women in her constituencies, as a means of
such informal groups help rural women to save their profits
mobilizing resources for the improvement of their livelihoods. Lydia is a fun-loving social person and her bubbly personality resonates throughout the communities, where she loves to organize social activities to encourage interaction and neighbourliness. She proudly asserts that, "During ceremonial days like Eid days, I have organised activities like sports and other competitions like sack and water bottle races to get people together for social cohesion. Winners during such events are rewarded with valuable prizes, however inexpensive." Furthermore, due to her friendly nature, Lydia has earned the name "Senga", translated as a wise aunt. Women and girls of all ages consult her on issues
ranging from scholarly challenges to marital issues, and this has helped her to become meaningfully involved in the lives of the constituents in her parish. Lydia has also used her abilities to mentor other female councillors in skills of mobilization for community development, as well as meaningful interactions with their constituents through regular socialization both at fun times, as well as during challenging periods such as burial ceremonies. Source: ACFODE project "Building and Amplifying Women's Voices in Politics and Decision Making" email@example.com
Women Leadership: A Culture of Peace By Stacey Pearl Keirungi
n the whole, Uganda has not been peaceful for a long time. For example, since independence, Uganda has experienced a series of civil wars and coup d’états that have left the society in abject poverty and uproars of negativity. All this time men have been at the helm of leadership. The current situation in the country seems not to be any better with a spate of violent protests that have been witnessed in various parts of the country. In all this, it is the women and children who suffer the brunt of the chaos and unfortunately have no access to justice. Women, because of patriarchy, have experienced various injustices to the extent that they acknowledge prejudice as a norm. This is acknowledged by the 2010 report by Amnesty International which revealed that more women than men in Uganda think that violence is justified. In addition, the present media stories and reports from 2013 show how women themselves are naively rejecting the Marriage and Divorce bill which would protect them from upheavals that would befall them. Furthermore, Uganda, in a row, has been ranked as one of the highest alcohol drinking nations in the world, ranking our Per Capita alcohol consumption at 1905 liters (WHO 2005).The 2011 Synovate study also attributes domestic violence to adultery, poverty and alcoholism; and also corruption that is on the rise in Ugandan community. This clearly shows that Uganda is on the wrong path that facilitates negative habits contributing to the detriment of peace in society as a whole.
However, Uganda is a country which prides itself with the adoption of contemporary societal customs, therefore stiff cultural norms should be history by now. It is a proven fact that promotion of women’s development/empowerment is an essential ingredient to the promotion of a culture of peace because it is only through the promotion of women’s equality with men that male dominance with all its negativity, that is promoted by a patriarchal system will be silenced. This will serve well to diminish a culture that is characterized by domestic fights and violence. For instance, surveys have shown that 60 percent of Ugandan women face domestic violence in form of rape and defilement, and 80 percent of reported violence cases are about defilement and 60 percent about rape, the situation is alarming and requires a complete overhaul. Over the years, women have proven to be valuable members of society with the ability to contribute greatly to society. This has been shown by the marked increase in the number of women taking the reins of leadership both locally and globally. Globally, due to the rise of female presidents such as Engel Merkel the Chancellor of Germany, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia, as well as countless other women leaders in several other high ranking positions, the leadership of women for a culture of peace is getting more and more recognized, with the result of and the equality of women being increasingly achieved. Wangari Maathai of Kenya is another woman leader who had passion for her
Tawakkol Karman of Yemen (center) Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee (behind) and Liberian president Ellen JohnsonSirleaf (right) receiving Nobel Peace Medals
Globally, due to the rise of female presidents such as Engel Merkel the Chancellor of Germany, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia, as well as countless other women leaders in several other high ranking positions, the leadership of women for a culture of peace is getting more and more recognized, with the result of and the equality of women being increasingly achieved. Wangari Maathai of Kenya is another woman leader who had passion for her country and created peace through planting trees, which won her a Nobel peace prize. Locally, KCCA is making more sense because Jeniffer Musisi, a woman, is the leader. Hon Rebecca Kadaga, the current Speaker of parliament is also a woman, whose decisions are acknowledged worldwide in line with peace and development.
country and created peace through planting trees, which won her a Nobel peace prize. Locally, KCCA is making more sense because Jeniffer Musisi, a woman, is the leader. Hon Rebecca Kadaga, the current Speaker of parliament is also a woman, whose decisions are acknowledged worldwide in line with peace and development. Certainly there is still a long way to go before the final stone is over turned in this regard, but the process is definitely irreversible. Of course, much remains to be accomplished, but what is important is that the process is underway. With affirmative action, women are quickly being given a hand up to the various political seats. At the United Nations, Resolution 1325 was adopted
by the Security Council under the leadership of Anwarul Chowdry from Bangladesh in 2000 to provide for a role for women in UN peacekeeping and peace building, though ever since then, it has been difficult to get it implemented. All in all, there is need for women to stand up to positions of leadership because it is with them that a culture of peace can be evolved and built. Patriarchy in all of its forms has been proven not to be good for personal or the nationâ€™s development or growth. Sources: internet firstname.lastname@example.org
Religion, the Back Bone of African Womenâ€™s Development Violet Muwebwa
frican traditional society upheld the woman as the cornerstone of society, giving her due respect as a mother who gave birth to strong men and in some cases upholding her as the breadwinner since the burden of agricultural farming rested heavily on her shoulders. The culture had strong roots in religious rituals that almost often worshipped women for their life-giving ability. In many instances however, this same iconic status worked against women as they were held up against seemingly unreal standards of morality. They were hence expected to quietly endure harsh conditions meted out to them by men without response simply because culture expected them to be non-retaliatory, and non-confrontational, and a whole list of other â€˜nonsâ€™. Unwittingly, these strict cultural and religious norms helped to shape the morality of the African woman, and over time, she has been held to the same standard of morals in every area of her life.
The church holds staunchly on to the belief that a woman should be wed in church
Be it religion, social relations, economic relations as well as career advancement, women are still expected to be the subservient parties in every arena despite the changing trends in the modern society that demand that they act differently. Thankfully for some of us this tendency is not so strictly held on to in the career world, otherwise, women would not be able to get a word in edgewise concerning their advancement. But the church has maintained a firm grip on these norms, and with good cause, because as society becomes more modern, some of the basic values of piety and prudence are being eroded with ill effect on the largely youthful citizenry. The church in essence provides a balance between biblical and cultural constructed manners which help to develop a modern African woman who is still able to tap into her cultural roots and respect her original role in society as a pillar of morality and a nurturer of the next generations.
Yes, the church does have outlandish expectations in some areas, especially in regard to the way a woman is expected to perform in a domestic setting. This is inconsistent with the modern developing society, but it does drill a sense of direction, of principle and of meaning into every action that she must undertake.
Yes, the church does have outlandish expectations in some areas, especially in regard to the way a woman is expected to perform in a domestic setting. This is inconsistent with the modern developing society, but it does drill a sense of direction, of principle and of meaning into every action that she must undertake. Some people might argue that the church is an extremist institution that only looks at women through the narrow perspective of the biblical principles, and does not consider the realistic need for human rights to be upheld. They could even cite examples of women who have suffered domestic violence at the hands of their husbands and have stayed in the home simply because the bible tells them to â€œturn the other cheekâ€?, but these same people remain ignorant of the fact that in order for biblical principles to have any effect then an individual needs to be willing to take up the mantle of self respect that is exemplified in the same pages, and ensure that a good conclusion is reached. The most challenging part of church mentorship is the fact that the biblical perspectives are somewhat similar to cultural principles, which also call for utmost subservience of women. It is therefore sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the two perspectives. Pastors have even been placed under the same umbrella as cultural
leaders. The major difference lies in the fact that the bible calls upon men to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and people to love one another as parts of one body of Christ. The church has also played a critical role in its emphasis of education for both the boy and girl child. In addition to its contribution of great schools to society, including Gayaza High School and Kingsâ€™ College Budo, the church has also been a strong promoter of equality in the ranks, such as reverends, pastors and sisters (nuns) in the Catholic Church, among other positions. It is also upon the church to bridge the gap between private and public affairs. As strong influencers of society, the church can play an important role in reducing societal evils by getting involved in the running of the country. Without even entering the precincts of parliament, the church can be more influential through the identification of detestable societal practices which they can continuously bring to the attention of the congregation. With the high percentages of Christians that attend church today, this would imply a high reach as well as positive influence for the posterity of the nation. Sources: Internet ACFODE MEMBER: 0776-481417
Society The Buganda parliament is an example of the order that exists among the different kingdoms in Uganda
Culture at the Cutting Edge of Development
Project under the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, which conducts activities to address adolescent pregnancy, early marriage and maternal mortality, among other things.
Admittedly, over the years cultural institutions have been enlightened about the significance of gender equality between women and men and, as a result, there has been a positive cultural response to the growing need for a balanced society. Throughout the country, cultural institutions have taken up the mantle for women's rights through initiatives such as the Population and Development Advocacy
The Buganda kingdom through the Nabaggereka Foundation, an arm of the traditional Ministry of women, has also been actively involved in the development of women's potential as well as addressing issues that affect their health. With the ample influence of kingdoms in Uganda's culture, such initiatives have played a vital role in the resuscitation of women's influence on society from the grassroots to the more cosmopolitan towns and cities.
Our elders say that the sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them," a popular quote from Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" which is aptly descriptive of the general location of women in the cultural bearings of African society. Since time immemorial Ugandan women have been seen to adopt a patriarchal culture that places them under the heel of their male counterparts, while choosing to ignore the significant role that they play in building up the very society in which they are oppressed and suppressed. While one may argue that everyone is subject to the cultural roots from which they hail, the truth remains that it is the responsibility of the same cultural structure which framed this outlook on women to reverse the negative results of patriarchy that threaten their very progress.
Other initiatives include The Batebe of Toro Foundation, which is largely involved in philanthropic projects directed towards the people of Toro Kingdom, both female and male, in an effort to promote equal development, poverty alleviation and healthy practices. The Foundation runs a special fund to further the education of needy boys and girls through provision of tuition, and scholastic materials. The fund is active in three Toro schools; Omukama Rukidi Secondary School, Omukama Kaboyo Secondary School, and Bagaaya Primary School.
Article A display at the 2nd Grand land exhibition at Bulange Mengo; such cultural exhibitions are a good platform for women to market their products
According to Maxencia Nakibuuka Takirambule, the Commissioner in the Ministry of Women in Buganda Kingdom, each cultural entity throughout Uganda would benefit greatly from the development of cultural facilities to act as cultural reservoirs that enable them to promote the positive aspects of culture to the younger generations and instill a positive outlook to cultural norms in society. She believes that a return to the detailed essence of cultural traditions in Buganda, such as, "Bulungi Bwâ€™ansi" would help Ugandans to understand the true meaning of behavior at home and in the community. She says, "People think that "bulungi bwaâ€™nsi" means cleaning the streets, yet it is more about getting rid of habits that are harmful to both families and communities." The "Magombolola" (sub-counties) of the Buganda kingdom and the Batebe of Toro Foundation are some of the cultural facilities that hold cultural significance in the different regions of origin, and thus lend a strong linkage to rich cultural heritage that the youth can emulate. In their defense, cultural foundations are majorly donor funded and are thus unable to contribute much to societal development from a broad perspective. However, it is the very specificity of their agenda that enables them to pay greater attention to mentorship of the youth in positive socio-cultural practices that shun degrading practices like female genital mutilation, rape, defilement and domestic violence. In Buganda, the Nabaggerreka Foundation has been actively involved in the promotion of breast feeding among women through the observation of international breast feeding days in the
"Amassaza" (counties) and Magombolola. On the other hand, the Bunyoro kingdom launched a nutrition campaign, which promotes the use of modern methods of farming for the sustenance of livelihoods in rural homes. As a result of the deep involvement of locally recognized cultural institutions in developmental activities, the work of development partners in the civil society, NGOs and government has largely yielded positive results. For instance, through the Nabaggereka Foundation, both local and international scholarship opportunities are available for young disadvantaged boys and girls. Takirambule asserts, "About 300 children got scholarships during my time as a Commissioner in the Ministry of Tourism; and I ensured that most of them were girls." The Foundation is also involved in the economic development of women in the 18 Amassaza of Buganda and has already distributed seedlings and other economic inputs to rural women in these areas to further their entrepreneurship potential. In a show of further interest for women's development, the Ministry of Women organizes exhibitions on cultural days such as the "Mattikira", and the Kabaka's birthday, where women are encouraged to display their handiwork for sale. As it has been said, a cultureless society can never hope to be a civilization. It is thus through the establishment and full recognition of such institutions and their significance in society that the remotest communities, which are in most cases prone to negative influences, can be reached with development and positive socio-cultural change. email@example.com
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! By Richard Kiwanuka
t has been apparent for a while that the primary value and purpose of the female presence in the media, with rare exception, has been that of a pretty face. This not only reflects the majorly irrelevant coverage of the media content but also the chauvinistic and sexist undertones that claim the foundation of our media. According to this foundation, women have been depicted in 5 major detrimental ways, which have formed the basis with which society has viewed them over time. Sex objects The tabloids can easily be mistaken for pornographic material, for their sensational coverage of scandalous stories that almost always have a female face, for the ratings. The objectification of women has risen to the extent that in order for a story to carry weight, a nude womanâ€™s photo has to be on it. The rise of women in the performing arts has not helped one bit due to the fact that these women usually wear provocative outfits and dance provocatively in order to raise the ratings for their productions. In a society that looks at a woman as a pillar of morality, such promptings quickly raise eyebrows as to the true standing of the woman in society.
Article Wives and mothers The press has also been known to report away from the individual side of women, choosing instead to depict every woman as a representative of the entire gender as opposed to an individual with separate dreams, ambitions and plans from the man whom she may be married to, or dating. Women are instead celebrated in reference to the importance of the man in their life. Whether she is his girlfriend, or wife, her contribution to society automatically is reduced to her role in the man’s life. Such unfair depiction of women has given way for women to join in the struggle for a parallel existence alongside important men instead of an independent existence that calls for them to seek the lime light all on their own. This practice is increasingly propagating societal stereotypes of women which emphasize the importance of them looking attractive and of being good wives and mothers instead of career oriented, successful individuals who are handling the mantle long left in the hands of men, with ease. Passive roles To a large extent, women have and are still being portrayed in the media as victims of crimes, instead of the people doing something about it. Though there are a number of women-run civil society organizations both locally and internationally, the tendency to compartmentalize women as victims has also been a major obstacle in the struggle to find a balance in gender issues. For instance, although it is fast becoming a common fact that gender based violence affects men as well as women, the media is more comfortable reporting stories that carry women victims, other than those where the males are suffering as a result of the practice. This lope-sided type of reporting is the bane of the struggle for gender equality, because it has caused male victims to further suffer in silence because their situation is rather complicated. Too fat/thin/old/young The constant focus on women’s body shapes and sizes in the media has a major impact on the society, which tends to judge the regular woman by
the abnormal yard stick set by fashion magazines and other media outlets. It matters because instead of being judged by only the same standards as men, women are now forced to deal with both the set standard, as well as the fangled idea woven by the media as the ‘perfect woman’. Although there is never any focus made on the ‘perfect man’, society is not hard on the media because women are known to be the more impressionable lot. However, this practice also has a negative effect on girls and women who are often given to attempting to meet the societal standards of perfection, which may not even apply to their given body types. Naturally fat women choke down unhealthy amounts of ‘diet medication’ and other drastic methods in order to achieve the ‘acceptable’ slender size that society dictates to them, while naturally skinny young women are forced to acquire fake body parts being sold on the open market in order to achieve a false curvaceous frame which another half of society deems appropriate. With such confusing extremes, the young impressionable girls are the most vulnerable, because they are just discovering themselves amid the cries of society emblazoned in the news and ensconced in the comfort of their homes. But what solutions are available to us? Well, we could go against male directors, writers, and the producers who come up with these standards, but I think we should direct our attention to the women themselves. Why do they choose to participate in certain roles, advertisements, etc.? If more women stood up against this type of marketing, there would certainly be progress!
Marriage: Women too should pay Groom price Tumusiime Deo Proponents of Bride price suggest that it is supposed to be a token of thanks to the parents of a girl for raising her up properly into a woman worthy of a man’s hand in marriage. Over time, this token has evolved from material wealth to liquid cash; and the highest bidder in some cases is likely to take the day! In fact, the day my first daughter was born, some people shamelessly told me that I am bound to become rich! In their view, having a girl means cows; and having another girl amounts to more cows, perhaps even goats, hens, and alcohol!
ach time there’s a discussion about marriage, we tend to draw attention to things as they were from the beginning as though so they should be, life without end, Amen! However, in so doing, we tend to negate the fact that the world continues to evolve at a very fast rate, save for the obvious contradictions involved in some historical practices. The top-most issues in marriage seem to be bride price and the cost of wedding, and for these two reasons, some couples have engaged in endless cohabitation. I think for purposes of fairness, Brides should also be tasked to pay Groom price, and to contribute just as much to the costs of a wedding.
Well, at the time of child birth, parents often thank God for the gift irrespective of its gender. In raising our children, we spend on both girls and boys notwithstanding the fact that in some instances the expense on a girl-child may marginally exceed that of a boy child. However, as parents, we take pride in raising all of our children and often do not even keep record of what we spend on them. So the question of pricing girls because their parents spend a little more on their upbringing does not naturally arise. Truthfully, no price can ever be enough to buy anyone’s child even if the suitor were to pay for his entire lifetime. Ideally if at the time of marriage there’s need for a token of thanks, it ought to go either way. For instance, Jonnes should lead a herd of 10 cows to Jennie’s family and say thank you; in turn, Jennie should lead another herd of 10 cows to Jonnes’ family in the same spirit. This way, once the wedding is done and family life starts, there’s
no possibility of Jonnes claiming to have bought his wife for so much. My other problem is the entire name given for this token business, “Bride price.” If my suggestion were to be taken on, “Groom price” should be introduced to strike a balance. I have chosen to use “Groom price” for purposes of drawing relevance in this article, but in all earnest, pricing brides and grooms sounds more like trading of sorts. This is some form of legalized human trafficking, especially because when some women apparently fail to live up to their price, some husbands feel licensed to mistreat them while others go an extra mile to dissolve the marriage and demand for a refund! I find this absolutely incredible. I also believe that the mentality of pricing women has something to do with our lifestyle. I find it very annoying that some girls believe it’s a man’s duty to spend on them, and so they never contribute to any bills. They love to be driven around, receive presents on their birthdays, to be hosted for lunches and dinners, and demand for funds from their boyfriends for every little detail irrespective of availability of funds. Conversely, most men feel emasculated if a girl pays their bills or spends on them. Such habits eat up our sense of reason, later showing up even in our families. Bearing the above in mind, I recently started a campaign to inculcate among my female friends a sense of realization that while they carry hefty value and a huge price tag, so does every man. My message was, If you love me and I love you, the key word is “Love”; if you earn and I earn, the key word is “money”; if we meet for coffee, the key word is “coffee”; if it’s time to pay the bill, the key word is “bill”; and if we get married, the key word is “married.” These key words absolutely have no gender orientation- and it’s against this background that both men and women must bear the price of their engagement. It doesn’t necessarily have to be 50%, but there
should be mutual and undefiled willingness to contribute. It’s not true that men must always be the moneyed ones and women the poor innocent beneficiaries, not anymore. My wife seems to be one of the best brought up ladies because since we first met, she has always been comfortable paying taxi fare for both of us occasionally, even when she was still at campus! She has continued to exude this gesture even in our marriage and is by far a model woman to me. My experiment with my female friends has so far been received with mixed feelings. While some of them have turned down my outing invites upon learning that they are expected to contribute to the bill, a few of them have vehemently supported the idea. So my invite for a coffee outing would read thus; “Dear Julie, hope this finds you well. It’s been long since we last met. Would you be available for us to meet over coffee this weekend? It would also be nice if we shared the bill.” Some responses have been like; “Share the bill! Forget” or “I am sorry I am currently broke” or “I was even expecting some transport refund from you”. From such responses, one should be able to expect a very torrid friendship, a difficult wife. I think Ugandans should get real and stop acting cowardly. Our daughters, our sisters are being sold at a price under the guise of “token”. A man marrying a woman from a wealthy family will be pressured to give a ‘token’ commensurate to the family’s standard. He must also hold his wedding from a venue and at a cost consistent with the bride’s family standard. At the end of the day, a woman married under such circumstances simply cannot claim her rights from the man, and must dance to his tune because of the amount of money spent on her! Possibly if the arrangement were that even the woman paid a price of sorts, neither party would conceive of demanding a refund and each one would bear their own costs! firstname.lastname@example.org
The War Between the Modern Woman and Sports By Eddy Okumu
port is commonly perceived as a symbol of physical strength and male excellence because it involves competitive physical exertion, which is traditionally not a regarded as a becoming female trait. Down through history, participation in sports and physical contests was customarily reserved for men, particularly those of great physical ability.The only acceptable role for women in this regard was as spectators, with their only remote affiliation to physical exertion being the energy they expended while cheering the men on. To wit, traditional sports in Buganda famously pledged women as prizes for the winners of each competition. From nonphysical sports such as omweso, which is mainly a brain game, to the more physical kigwogombya, a wrestling contest, women's contribution was overlooked and often degraded to that of docile creatures without strength to compete. The tradition of using women as prize for male contests may have died with the dawn of civilization but the idea of using them as motivation in such contests is still practiced to date. This is especially common in sports of American origin such as basketball and
Anna Kournikova is celebrated as the epitome of femininity in sports
in 2009, the case of Caster Semenya flooded the media after she participated in the African Junior Championships where she won both the 1500m and 800m races, in which competitions, she improved her 800m personal best by seven seconds in less than nine months. That was a new record and a season's best for Semenya. However, her celebration was short-lived. Semenya later came under a large amount of scrutiny from the International Association of Although Dorcus Inzikuru won the hearts of many by Athletics Federations (IAAF) with suspicion her victorious run, she also ran the risk of being rated of drug use. The IAAF also went ahead to too masculine by society askSemenya to undergo a gender test. Much American football where girls play the part of as IAAF's handling of the case spurred many negative reactions from various stakeholders. cheerleading. The federation, in its defense, explained that With the mentality that sportsmanship is a the motivation for the test was not suspected ”man’s thing”, experience has shown that in most cheating but a desire to determine whether she contexts, many women who have been successful had a "rare medical condition" giving her an unfair in sporting activities have, to a certain extent, been competitive advantage. perceived to demonstrate some ‘typically male’ attributes such as aggressiveness, ambition and At the local scene, news about Inzikuru’s pregnancy received unusual and unnecessary media attention power. especially from some local tabloids with perverted These girls and women, who have ‘trespassed’ on questions about how feminine she is. these socially and culturally defined boundaries have challenged the well-protected gender norms, However, against these perceptions, some sports and hence,have at times been considered detached women have maintained a feminine image despite being active in physical sports. One such case is from their feminine side. Anna Kournikova, a former professional tennis This perception, that sportive women are ‘less player who doubles as a model and also designs feminine’, has held back many women from tennis clothing for K-Swiss, an American footwear actively participating and achieving their full company. She also markets a range of athletic potential in their various sports of interest. This gear. Though she finished her singles career perception has even been backed in recent times without winning a Grand Slam Championship, by certain events that have happened in the lives her beauty earned her fame as one of the most of some prominent sports women. For instance, popular players in tennis history.
Society in ages past frowned on women who wore trousers, let alone played masculine sports
Negative mentalities may have prevailed in the past and hindered many women and girls from active sports. Current trends however show a progressive positive change in the level of involvement of women in sports. This change can be attributed partly to a number of efforts that have been put to improve the sports atmosphere for women by providing facilitation and infrastructure to aid girl child participation in sports. In 2009, the Guardian newspaper and Barclays bank funded a development project implemented by AMREF in the sub-county of Katine, Soroti district. The Katine 09 football tournament was held as a way to mobilize people in the post-conflict region and also offer girls a platform in sports events. Though successful, the implementation was not without challenges as Nelson Odeke, the Chairman of Soroti District Football Association (SODFA) put it. "Culturally and traditionally, society has a negative attitude towards women playing football. People also do not want to see women dressed in shorts in the name of playing football," he said. Therefore improvement of women participation in sports over the years has required more than facilitation by any measure of funding or infrastructure development but also a transformation of culture and societal perceptions. In this regard, different female sports activities have managed to flourish in different societies due to the varying societal views towards these sports in the societies. For example research has shown that in the US basketball is seen as a ‘rough’ sport, while similar research in Senegal shows that basketball is considered a ‘feminine’ sport. Other than facilitation and transformation of cultural norms, female sports has also been
promoted by the benefits associated with sporting such as socio economic benefits like well-paying careers, opportunities for leadership skills development and achievement, and also enhancement of physical and mental health and well-being, among many others. With the growing numberofwomen involved in sports, a lot has been achieved. Today we witness many successful female role models in the sports arena, from female coaches and referees to Olympic gold medalists and world record breakers. In 1968 a female athlete lit the Olympic torch fire for the first time in history at the Olympic Games in Mexico City. Today many women have gone down the books of history as sporting legends. The Williams sisters (Venus and Serena) have over the years dominated a great deal in the women singles Grand Slam championships in tennis. Back at home, Dorcus Inzikuru has been ranked the greatest sportswoman in Uganda after winning gold in the 3,000m steeplechase world championship feat in 2005. In fact she has been rated the 9th in the Observer’s Top 10 list of Uganda’s greatest sports personalities, a list where she features as the only woman, with 2012 Olympic gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich coming in the 10th position. A lot of women still continue to set new records in sports with many promising young and upcoming talent being nurtured. Many women today earn a living from well-paying careers in the sporting industry. With the existing structures and support towards gender equity in games and sports, the sky is the limit for the dreams and achievements that can be realized by women in sports. email@example.com
ACFODE’S CURRENT PROGRAMS • • • • • •
Advocacy for legislation and policy formulation, and implementation for gender equality in Uganda Prevention of sexualized and gender based violence against women and girls Advocacy for women’s effective participation in politics and decision making Advocacy for good governance and gender accountability at local and national levels Strengthening Formal and Informal Institutions to Promote Gender Responsive Social Cultures in Uganda Institutional strengthening of ACFODE and other like-minded organizations
For more information contact; The Executive Director Action For Development ACFODE House, Plot 623/624, Bukoto P.O.Box 16729, Kampala – Uganda Telephone: +256 414 531812 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com URL: www.acfode.org
Issue 54 of the Arise magazine puts the spotlight on institutions (political, social, economic...etc) and their specific roles in the develo...
Published on Jul 23, 2013
Issue 54 of the Arise magazine puts the spotlight on institutions (political, social, economic...etc) and their specific roles in the develo...