Despite women making up the biggest work force in agricultural production and domestic unpaid care work, they still face challenges in accessing equal opportunities in Uganda. Many women especially in rural settings are victims of resource deprivation based on societal constructs and gender biases that are deeply rooted in their cultural heritage.
Meet Nelly, a 40-year-old mother of 6 and a resident of Tabakon Village in Kitawoi Sub-county. She narrates her ordeal as a woman living in an African Traditional society.
“When my husband passed on, I was falsely accused of killing him, by my mother in-law. She had connived with my husband’s kinsmen to deny me access to my late husband's land and other property even when we all knew that he had died from natural causes. I languished in poverty for years and this was made worse when my late husband’s brother demanded that he inherit me(widow inheritance) if I were to get any financial support from the family. I refused and decided to start engaging in paid casual labor to feed my family.
Life remained hard and meaningless until ActionAid International Uganda came to my village where they launched their economic empowerment program, facilitating me and many other women in my community to access productive resources and free us from the bondage of poverty.
From the group, I received 10 kilograms of maize seed and 3 bags of Irish potato seed, which I planted. My harvest from the first planting season fetched me up to UGX800,000 (USD 221). I used this money to pay fees for my children who had stopped going to school because I could not afford it at the time. I Later managed to hire one acre of land where I planted maize worth over 25 bags and hoped that it would provide food security for my home.
Through the program, we also received trainings on business skills and used the knowledge I acquired to start a business, selling vegetables and milk daily to earn an average UGX5000 (USD 1.37) in profit from 10liters of milk and UGX 10,000 (USD 2.75) from vegetables, daily.
Thanks to AAIU, I don’t have to do casual labor for others anymore. I have access to land where I can grow my own food for survival whilst earning income to meet me and my children's needs. I thank ActionAid for this program that restored my hope when all was lost."
Many women in Uganda are facing significant economic challenges that have been worsened by the Covid-19pandemic. They have no access to productive resources and yet continue to make a significant contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
This calls for coordination of actions by stakeholders to invest in women economic empowerment projects. ActionAid Uganda’s approaches remain focused on supporting vulnerable people (women and girls) living in extreme poverty to challenge unfair power dynamics