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A Hard Life for Women in Rural Mukono

By Shadrak Kyobe, Director, Empower and Care Organization (EACO)

 

Women bear almost all the responsibility in Mukono

Empower and Care Organization (EACO) Uganda has been implementing community- based projects in the Mukono and Maracha districts in the sub counties of  Kyampisi, Nama, Ggoma, Nakisunga, and Mukono central division – an area which is a primitive, remote rural village with a high growing population, which population can hardly read.

The education facilities, transport, food security, water & sanitation, household income, and all those in the category are  still properly lacking and in an area which has an increasing rate of poverty, HIV/AIDS and Violence/ displacement .

Because of this primitiveness, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and violence, several people are still involved in child sacrifice, black magic, domestic violence, rapes, fighting development,and the like.

In this area, women bear almost all responsibility for meeting basic needs of the family, yet are systematically denied the resources, information and freedom of action they need to fulfill this responsibility.

Poor, illiterate, and HIV/AIDS infectedEACO--HIV-Peer-Educators

The vast majority of the poor in Mukono are women.

Two-thirds of the illiterates are female.

Of the thousands of school age children not in school, the majority are girls.

And today, HIV/AIDS is rapidly becoming a woman's disease. In Uganda, more than three-quarters of all young people living with HIV are women and part of them are in Mukono and Maracha west Nile.

Denying themselves food

The current food price crisis is having a severe impact on women.

Around Mukono, people eat two or three times a day, but a significant percentage of women eat only once.

And, now, many women are denying themselves even that one meal to ensure that their children are fed.

These women are already suffering the effects of even more severe malnutrition, which inevitably will be their children's fate as well. The impact of this crisis will be with us for many years.

And studies show that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. Their families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. In short, communities become more resilient.

Untold suffering from fetching water

Because of the backwardness bin these sub-counties like Kyampisi, men hardly participate in water fetching activities, so it’s the women and children who are always suffering to get water for the family.

Considering their vulnerability, a lot of untold suffering has come in along the way.

Imagine schools in a distance of 8-9km, but children have to wake up early enough to go fetch water before they leave for school.

At the same time, they have to line-up before they start pumping water from the borehole, so waiting time is always not less than two hours, then they walk back home with 20-litre water jerry cans, then prepare for school.

No wonder they always get to school so late.

This has affected their academic performance, and there is increasing school drop outs in Kyampisi despite the sound presence of Universal Primary Education (UPE).

Also, when the children get back from school in the evenings, again they have to go and fetch water; this has put them at risk because its always in the night and they have to wait for long before they start pumping the water from the borehole.

Children in great danger at nightSchool-project

Kyampisi in Mukono district is topping the reported cases of child kidnapping and human blood sacrifice.

in most cases, children are kidnapped as they walk back home in the night.

This has caused some parents not to send their children to fetch water –  but that also means that the family will not have water to use at night.

Child and human blood sacrifice

Child sacrifice is the ritualistic killing of children in order to please, propitiate, or force supernatural beings in order to achieve a desired result. As such, it is a form of human sacrifice.

This comes when people think that when they sacrifice, they become rich – and it's just because of poverty and ignorance in the community – and as I am giving this report, it is more common in Mukono.

An investigation by the police into human sacrifice in Uganda found that ritual killings of children are more common than Ugandan authorities once thought.

Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual (ritual killing). Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals (animal sacrifice) and of religious sacrifice in general.

Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history.

Victims were typically ritually killed in a manner that was supposed to please or appease gods, spirits or the deceased, for example as a propitiatory offering, or as a retainer sacrifice when the king's servants are killed in order for them to continue to serve their master in the next life.

The practice of human sacrifice is on the rise in Uganda more so in our area, as measured by ritual killings where body parts, often facial features or genitals, are cut off for use in ceremonies.

However, the rise in human sacrifices in Uganda appears to come from a desire for wealth and a belief that drugs made from human organs can bring riches, according to task force head .

Psychological disorientation

To me I call it a problem of psychological disorientation, people get disoriented. 

People stop having respect in humanity and believe more in the worth of money and so-called good fortune, and they lose that natural social respect for people. And in some communities you can find that children no longer walk to school without one of their parents. But they can't do that forever. "You can't keep holding onto a child very tightly. Children move freely." 

So people get scared that there are such vices in the country, when people want to get riches.

Being at the borehole brings battering back home

Domestic violence is also closely related to the water problems:  when women go to the borehole in the evenings – on return, their husbands are not always happy, thinking that they spent all that time at the borehole sleeping with other men.

Women have always been beaten, battered by their men – and some have been in killed in these fights.

In the 21st century, life should be more than this.

Push for advocacy

We need to put up safe water sources which are near.

May be it will be another way of reducing child sacrifice, Human blood sacrifice and violence in homes.

We need to point advocates to several cases where impoverished parents or relatives have tried to sell children to healers for money.

And  advocate for common interests of the services provided and issues (domestic violence, sexual abuse, child rights and others) of the infected and affected so as to influence policymaking.

Finally, [advocate for] economic empowerment of the target groups through the introduction of Income-Generating Projects and adult literacy programmes for development.

RESTORING HOPE - PROJECT OUTLINE

This project will target vulnerable women, particularly widows and those living with HIV/AIDS, Orphans, and grandmothers caring for vulnerable children through providing training for economic opportunities.

This project will address economic opportunity for women by providing training and individualized instruction in entrepreneurship, marketing techniques for small businesses, micro finance, and the implementation of income-generating activities (IGAs), including farming, vegetable growing, chicken rearing, piggery, mushroom growing, tailoring and design, arts and crafts, and hair dressing and styling.

Potential Long Term Impact

This project will enable 200 women to engage in income-generating activities. The ability to increase their income and invest in their families and communities will then help to improve their families' health and well-being.

Project Message

I grew up in a deprived group of people where women had negligible access to the most basic forms of education. Through this project, EACO will turn these women into entrepreneurs.
- Kyobe Shadrak, Project Coordinator