Archive for May, 2012

On Friday, May 2012, a friend on facebook posted  a story of a woman who was seeking  advice in her marriage. This is the stroy “My husband pregnants every house maid that comes our home and I have  children from them in the house just because I  wanted to keep my marriage. Last year I discovered weird  things in the house and I started having bad dreams and our children too, one night I woke up and found him holding a knife almost killing me. We separated bedrooms and for the last 4 months, and packed out of his house with my children”.

This story  is one of the many stories  of women  who continue to suffer  the same way on a daily basis.

When I read this post  I immediately responded that its good she took a bold decision of moving  on  and she needs to be supported on  how to move forward, re-organise herself and look after her children and that this step she  took  was the beginning of  a new life  and freedom from  the  bondage of  her abusive husband.

To my disbelief a female friend of my friend on facebook(Nancy not her real name)  commented that the bible says God hates divorce and He never makes mistakes. He is waiting for bended knees…  She further mentioned that I should think about her  children  being denied of  their father’s presence in their lives “here I am thinking prayer is the  best weapon… otherwise  she should not  be deceived  by the so called women activists  who many not feel her pain” she said

 Two female friends who I feel shared the same feeling with me commented that “Rather than save her marriage, she needs to save her  life. If I were in her shoes, I would  go start  a new life  with my own kids even if  from Zero. Even without a father  children can still grow”.  “Some men are monsters, this one needs to be put in the zoo”.

 I reminded  Nancy that marriage is supposed to be  peaceful and enjoyable and a woman her children can survive without the ‘beast’ husband and the possibility of bring HIV and Aids in this marriage. Nancy’s response was that it is me, who is far from reality  and she went ahead to ask me  my view on FOR WORSE in marriage vows?  This conversation made me realize  how religion has been used  to suffocate women’s rights. Does for Worse in marriage vows  mean a man killing a woman with a knife, sleeping  with any skirt  that passes his eyes. So what kind of marriage is that?

Nancy went further to say “nowonder the marriage institution today has lost  meaning  because of misleading  women activists… thus I stick to my point, she should pray or else if she follows Loyce’s advice she will end up in hell at the end of the day”

 Then, there was pastor who joined the discussion, and his reaction was that the marriage can be repaired through counselling and prayer, though he questioned why that infidelity?

A male friend also joined the conversation and this was his comment “I add my voice  to  those proposing prayer because it is the only thing  that can change any situation. Now what should we do to the pregnanter? Of course he is fulfilling the purpose….”

I learnt a lot from this conversation regarding violence against women, religion and patriarchy. Patriarchy and religion normalizes violence against women and dis-empowers women the more. I end by emphasizing that  this woman should move on instead of  holding on to a sinking boat.

“Not the Church, not the state, Women must decide   their own Fate”

Over to you readers. What advice would you give  this woman?

Image Source: Truthhunger 

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Whose Peace?

In 2007, the Government of Uganda laid out a comprehensive frame work; Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) covering 55 districts to address the social, economic and political challenges faced by the North and North Eastern Uganda as a result of  prolonged armed conflict in the region.

In order to achieve peace and recovery in the Northern districts, PRDP set out four strategic objectives which are; Consolidation of State Authority, Rebuilding and empowering communities Revitalisation of the economy and  Peace building and reconciliation. The full scale implementation of the plan begun July 2009. In terms of funding modalities, the government provided PRDP grant funding through the budget as a top-up to the regular budget allocations of the benefiting districts and central government agencies involved in PRDP implementation. Donors also provided support through on-budget ‘special projects’ which are managed by the Government (e.g. Northern Uganda Action Fund (NUSAF). There was also off-budget funding where  donors and other development partners implement projects directly, without the involvement of government, or through NGOs and CSOs.

As the implementation of  plan was coming to the end, the government commissioned a mid term review of the plan which  indicated that the general performance in the Implementation has been on track and recommended an  extension of the plan as it  is not realistic to expect to bring social and economic condition in the North into line with the rest of the country in just three years.

On the other hand, a midterm review  by the Uganda  women’s taskforce for a gender     responsive PRDP which coincided with the government review reported that  there are still various gaps  that need to be addresses  if PRDP  implementation  has to deliver peace and development.

According to the Women’s taskforce report, although communities acknowledged that  PRDP has constructed roads, built health centres and classrooms for schools,  they however noted that these developments have not translated into concrete results and improved quality of life such as  reduced maternal mortality, increased  economic status and increased quality education. In fact it has been echoed several times that PRDP only focused on ‘hardware’ ie infrastructure and not ‘software’ the human face behind the infrastructures.

The PRDP has been criticised for mainly focusing on infrastructure and  consolidating  state  authority   and ignoring the practical needs  of communities. To the government peace means strengthening state authority by enhancing security, police and prisons and to the community peace means having food to eat, access to education, health services and clean water.

The report further indicates that PRDP strategic objective on Peace building and Reconciliation was not adequately addressed. This strategic objective had the least funding and un clear programmes related to it, yet the major outcome of the PRDP is to ensure the prevalence of peace in the region.

Below are some of the recommendations from the report

  • Need to carry out a conflict analysis and address the causes of the conflict to avoid PRDP intervention exacerbating existing tensions or creating new ones
  • Provision of more peace building interventions as (opposed to drama groups)
  •  Involvement of beneficiaries at community level in the planning and in from the onset.
  • Active role of women (apart from being cheer leaders) should be known
  • Integration  of  the Gender indicators in the Monitoring and Evaluation matrix
  • Need for stronger focus on strategic objective of peacebuilding and Reconciliation and involve other NGOs and women in Implementation
  • Trauma management should be given high priority, taking into account the atrocities the communities went through – the ex-combatants, formerly abducted as well as the community in general.
  • Community members should be involved in the programmes and empowered in order to ensure their ownership. Capacity problems among service providers need to be addressed in order to sustain the PRDP gains.

Infrastructure investments must translate into functional service delivery. 

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