ActionAid Uganda, through the Women Land rights and Livelihood project (WLR&L) with support from the Australian Aid conducted a mobile legal Aid clinic on Women Land Rights and Sexual Gender Based Violence in Awach subcounty Gulu City, Lalogi sub county in Omoro Mutema and Paboo sub county in Amuru District and Purong sub county Nwoya district Onyomtil village in Anaka Sub county in Nwoya.
Through the clinic, 390 participants who included women and persons with disabilities were sensitized on the various forms of Land ownership in Uganda with the discussion largely focused on customary land tenure and women property rights including rights of widows to own or enjoy occupancy rights after the death of their spouses. The participants were also sensitized on the different forms of Gender Based Violence and how they manifest, control and redress mechanism. The facilitators used scenario-based approaches where case stories on GBV were elaborated to them and were told to comment on how they would handle the situation, and this helped them understand the impact of GBV on women and girls.
This clinic came at a backdrop of increased cases of defilement arising from incestuous acts of male parents or care givers that are fond of defiling girls for whom they have parental responsibility.
A female participant from the community of Onyomtil in Anaka Sub county in Nwoya District said that “most women become widows at young age and are allowed to remarry but if they do so, it affects their inheritance.”
The legal team sensitized them on the occupancy rights of wives that survive their husbands and how they are not to be evicted without a court order directing their eviction.
Some Persons With Disability participants expressed interest in knowing how their land rights a protected under the law and how they can get justice when their land is grabbed which was addressed by the legal officers.
In the community, 16 year old participant Grace Ayerwot (not real names) testified saying that “I thought that when I am defiled, I should report the person who defiled me to my father and if the person that raped me is my father then I should just keep quiet because I fear getting beaten but thanks to this clinic I know that I should report that person to police.”