A story of Change.
Meet Lydia Yapsovekwo (50), a mother of 8 children and resident of Tabakon village, Kitawoi Sub-county Kween district. She is a beneficiary of the women economic empowerment project implemented by ActionAid International Uganda.
She narrates that the project contributed to the betterment of her life, and she now has ownership and control of her own property. She is enjoying freedom from violence and living a life of dignity.
Lydia, however, says that this did not come on a silver platter as her life had been characterized by violence and intimidation from her husband who eventually abandoned her with the children.
He also forbade her from accessing the only piece of land she had used as a source of livelihood for her and her children.
Lydia and the children had started to live like beggars, surviving on wages she earned from casual labor for a morsel of food.
"My life changed when one of my friends reached out to me to join the AAIU economic empowerment group. We started engaging in commercial agriculture and saving. As a result, I saved up UGX 2,000,000 (USD 546) which I used to buy a piece of land and build a house with a loan I got from the group. With continuous engagement in commercial farming, I have bought other assets.
In addition to that, the group gave me 10kgs of maize seed and 2 bags of Irish potato seeds that I planted and harvested, selling 20 bags for UGX1,400,000 (USD 279). I have used the proceeds to purchase a bull that I will use for ploughing my land. After I had started to stabilize, my husband came back and requested that we reconcile. I gave him terms for our reconciliation including an HIV test before staying together. Fortunately, he tested tested negative for HIV, and we are now reconciled. He respects me and equally supports me in my farm work. He also eventually allowed me access the land he had initially forbade me to use.
I encourage women to stand up and engage inbuilding their lives rather than moving around and wallowing in self-pity so that they can live a life of dignity."
ActionAid Uganda’s approach focuses on women and other vulnerable groups living in extreme poverty to transform their condition and position in society. We shall continue to deliberately work with society to challenge patriarchal tendencies that continue to marginalize women's access to productive resources.