Success, lessons and challenges
This is feedback from the women and men who had been trained in human and women’s rights for enhanced participation of women in planning and decision making in Kambisi community. Various opinions on women’s participation in planning and decision making were gathered by the student to ascertain the changes so far. Women, girls and elders discussed in the focused group and had an analysis of changes that occurred since the awareness meeting. Challenges and lessons were also shared and documented in the same report.
2.0. Successes that occurred and what the community members plan to do.
Some women now participate actively in meetings. Before the awareness, a number of women could not participate in meetings, but recently when a meeting on sanitation was called, a number of women contributed in the meeting. Some of them were able to complete construction of the pit latrines and bathrooms that were not completed before. See the picture on the left.
Some women after the awareness meeting were able to witness in courts of law, e.g. Nakiru Margaret witnessed a case in court on 28th August 2017 for money that had been stolen. She has gained confidence ever since the awareness training was conducted. For instances Nakiru Margaret (with grandchild and the student in picture) stood as witness in court. 40 Women have come together to save on weekly basis, each of them contributing 2500/= each week. During the follow up meeting, women in the group were able to express their gratitude on the usefulness of the awareness meeting they had. Alice Nate had this to say; “We are so grateful for your effort to bring us together and educating us on women’s rights. Ever since we received the training, we have had to organize ourselves into Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLAs).”
Women and the rest of the community members demand for a meeting with their local leaders (LC3, Mayor and LC 5) to discuss issues of representation in various forums.
“Now that we know our rights as women and community members, we want to call for a meeting with our leaders and ask them to account for our community.” Said one of the participants.
2 community members elected as publicity and information officers from within the group to bridge the communication gap between the community and the district. Nakiru Margaret and Isaac have been identified as the representative. “We have been left out without representation and that has made us not get any updates from the district headquarters on what programs are there to benefit our community”. Said by Logwee, an elder.
Demand for local leaders to call for a meeting with the community to address issues that have been raised in the community of Kambisi. Demand for physical planning of road network within their settlement to reduced destruction of houses in the future. The district has to come and direct where roads can be constructed within the community. Demand for additional borehole in the area in order to have clean and adequate water within community.
3.0. Why this changes occurred/lessons learned.
The changes can be attributed to the consistent follow up on the women groups in the community and sensitization of women on their rights. They have also been able provide sometime to share their experiences as women and had an opportunity to suggest solutions to the challenges facing them as women. The lesson learned here is that women when organized easily exploit their potential and get solutions to their own problems.
Wider stakeholder involvement in the practicum led to changes in this community. The involvement of the local leadership enhanced women’s participation in the practicum. The impact of this is the confidence that women now have in this community to hold their leaders into account. This is not something women did in this community before. The women are able to take care of family assets and take decisions that affect the health of the family, including the income for family.
The community willingness to come together and learn from the student was another key aspect that led to success of the project. Each time community members were mobilized to take part in the discussions they all turned up and actively participated by contributing their ideas and opinions and solutions to the identified problem. Leadership flexibility also contributed to occurrence of the changes in the community. Community willingness is another key lesson for actions to succeed, there must be willingness from all.
4.0. Challenges: Women have a lot of household duties to perform and some of them failed to come for the meeting , thus absenteeism. The women in this community have no woman representative in the council and their issues are missed out during district council meetings. There was a challenge of refreshments where some of the participants expected from the student. Hunger was a big issue at the time and it affected some days of the meetings agreed. The women and other community members would prefer to go to look for casual labor in Moroto town, than coming for the meeting.
Overall, the changes that occurred in this community after awareness and training on women’s rights made women feel important to their community in terms of what they contribute at family, village, sub county, district and national level. A sense of equality and equity among males and females was created thus bringing harmony and peace in the community.