Meet 81 year old change agent, Mr. Christopher Ayeba.
“Despite my old age, I am dedicated to serving my community in this capacity as it makes me feel very fulfilled.”
“My name is Ayeba Christopher, a resident of Binyiny Sub-County in Kween District. I am 81 years old, a proud father, grandfather and great grandfather.
My journey with ActionAid began in 2012 when I was trained on Gender Based Violence (GBV) protocols which include; client interviewing, counselling and case mediation. This ignited an interest within me to help women and children who are victims of GBV. I would convene mediations among them and have the points of controversy ironed out.
Later in 2013, I began volunteering at the Kween Gender Based Violence Shelter in Binyiny, Kween District. My duties at the shelter included; case registration, counselling and conducting mediations for GBV Survivors. I have since contributed to the resolution of several cases at the shelter.
The one case that really stood out for me was that of Sarah Chebet (not real name). The mother of five approached us at the shelter with a case regarding her late father’s land which had been taken over by her paternal uncle in 1988, under the guise of looking after Sarah and her siblings as they had been underage at the time.
When Sarah’s father passed on, her uncle was made the caretaker of the home and tasked to raise her and her siblings. Sarah had later on grown up and eventually moved away from her Uncle’s home, leaving the land in his care.
The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) came to later construct the Kween-Bukwo road and it so happened that the new road passed through the land that had been previously owned by Sarah’s late father.
Her Uncle, as the land’s caretaker had been compensated by UNRA with a total sum of UGX.9M (Nine Million shillings), as the registered landowner and Sarah was for many years denied any access to the issued amount even though her and her siblings were the rightful owners of this land.
After I convened a series of mediations with Sarah and her uncle, together with ActionAid staff, a compromise was struck, and the lady was issued a sum of UGX.5M (Five Million shillings) by her uncle to purchase another portion of land.
Sarah was very happy when she received her compensation and was finally reconciled with her estranged Uncle, with whom she had been unable to see eye to eye.
For the longest time in my Sebei community, women have been oppressed and seeing a woman like Sarah successfully get something like this big from a man who had realized his fault made my heart leap with joy.
I will continue to serve my community until my last breath.”
In Uganda, majority of the societies are patriarchal and therefore ownership of communal land is largely vested in the hands of men. Although Sarah and her siblings are the rightful heirs to their father's property, their Uncle, a senior male is considered the more acceptable land owner in the typical African society.
Through his mediation skills, Mr. Ayeba was able to get Sarah and her siblings the larger portion of the compensation awarded by UNRA to their Uncle, from their father's land.
Story written by Deborah Lwanga as narrated by Ayeba Christopher, a member of the Male Action Groups in Kween District.