By Grace Luomo and Teddy Curran, Directors of AWARE Uganda
On 28th April 2012, the East London Fawcett Society hosted a fundraising event for AWARE Uganda, at Fabrica, 584 Kingsland Road.
Teddy Curran, AWARE's Technical Director, represented AWARE and gave a presentation and the event was a huge success.
“The talk was wonderful. I think people felt very lucky to hear from Teddy, first hand, of her experiences with AWARE. I think over 50 people attended the event on the night.
I think the most important thing about the presentation was to engage people with the much more difficult plight of women in Uganda. Our campaigns centre around women in East London (although we branch out beyond this when we can) and it is so important to remember that women's experiences differ throughout the world, but that we can work together, through initiatives like A Safe World for Women, to make a difference.”
Hannah Philp, Founding Director at The Fawcett Society - East London Fawcett Group
Teddy gave a brief overview of AWARE, and focused on AWARE's activities to alleviate the problems that Kaabong women in Uganda face, such as fighting environmental degradation through tree planting, environment awareness, and conservation activities so as to reduce women’s workload of walking miles in search of firewood, and wood for other family requirements.
She also talked about training women in leadership skills, women's rights awareness, maternal health and parenting skills, HIV/AIDS awareness-raising, and especially, AWARE's Orchard Project.
“The audience was very receptive and listened. I felt that people were really interested.”
Traditional leaders have now accepted and agreed that the women now can own property and land, especially the widows.
They have realized how important it is for the widow to continue to take care of her family – and with the property not taken away by the husband's family, she can have a place where she can grow crops, build, and stay.
Kaabong Hospital has requested AWARE to offer space for the pregnant women their hospital due to floods caused by heavy rains. One of the maternity wards has been flooded and AWARE has agreed to assist in accommodating more mothers in its Waiting Centre until delivery.
Hence more recognition of the importance of the establishment of the Waiting Centre.
The new mothers at the Centre have been trained on nutrition, motherhood skills on parenting, family functions, bonding and achieving a loving relationship with their children.
Climate Change Worsens Food Security
AWARE trained women on climate change action alliance, and the women exchanged their experiences and discussed opportunities and challenges they face with climate change.
The women were shown how to reduce carbon: they were encouraged to plant trees, vegetables, and fruit trees along the river to protect and improve the environment.
Climate change is worsening the food security in Karamoja; everybody has to come in and support the people of Karamoja through local-to-local dialogue
AWARE trained more paralegals to continue assist in maintaining and seeking justice, as well as incollaborating with the government legal systems and departments.
The women were trained on leadership skills and on how to manage their families and environment.
A workshop on human rights alliance to form partnerships with all government and organizations in Karamoja to fight for a similar causes. The different organizations are Hurinet,and RIAMIAM.
AWARE has been nominated to attend a workshop on the formation of home-based giver alliance to get recognition in Washington, D.C., in June 2012.
Home-based Care is still one of the activities AWARE is carrying out to improve on the lives of the HIV/AIDS patients in the communities.
AWARE has continued to collaborate with district, community leaders in planning and sharing information, and technical assistance is provided especially with personnel in security, human rights, and health departments.
More children have been enrolled with the Early Child Development (ECD) programme; a government programme within the ministry of education has continued to support AWARE's Community Nursery by providing scholastic materials and food.
Through the ECD programme, AWARE has received Iron sheets to build a kitchen for cooking for the children and the parents and AWARE will contributed the other building materials and build a modern kitchen for the safety environment.
Radio and drama shows on HIV/AIDs is a continued programme among the communities and daily at the centre through counseling youth, men and women.
Exchange visits are one of the activities AWARE is performing to help the women appreciate the women of the Projects
AWARE had an exchange visit with the Uganda Community Based Association for Child Welfare (UCOBAC).
UCOBAC seeks to further the abilities of community-based NGOs and other child welfare actors to identify, target, and meet the needs of Uganda's most vulnerable children, especially those living with HIV/AIDS and those orphaned by AIDS using community-based approaches.
UCOBAC is currently working in 20 rural districts in Uganda. They shared many experiences on how to manage different situations.
It's rainy season: heavy rains have poured,and most of the roads are impassable. The bridges towards Kapedo have broken and these cause delays in implementation of the projects since you have to wait for them to be repaired.
There is still lack of transportation to transport the pregnant women in critical condition from the far areas to reach our area.
AWARE has a pickup which is not in good condition to move in the kind of roads that Karamoja has, so it’s not a safe means of transport. AWARE is lobbying for assistance in terms of picking the womenup from the community.
High rate Illiteracy amongst the community has been a big hindrance in accepting and in understanding development issues.
Tribal war and insecurity has been an ongoing war for many years.
For example, in April, a tribe called Tepeth killed three girls from Matheniko who were going to fetch firewood, and in return, they – the Matheniko went and killed from the Tepeth; the security in Karamoja is still a big threat.
AWARE UGANDA (Action for women and Awakening in Rural Environment) was formed in 1989 by a group of local rural women of Kaabong District in Karamoja region, a semi-desert region in the North East of Uganda, bordering South Sudan and Kenya.
More than 27 million out of a population of 32 million people live in rural Uganda, the majority of whom have not been shielded from the harsh realities of poverty.
Lack of access to water and sanitation is already exposing rural women…