Amudat leaders pleased by local NGO value addition initiative to women groups

Friday, 30th September 2022

RDC Amudat Third (L) & LC5 (C) handing over the Grinding mill to the women groups

Timothy Eodu-Amudat

The leaders of Amudat district in Karamoja region have expressed their gratitude to Karamoja Women Umbrella Organization KAWUO for their interventions to transform the society mindset into adopting value addition. KAWUO with the financial support from European Union-UN Spotlight initiative through UNDP has created awareness on Gender based violence-GBV and Female genital mutilation-FGM in Amudat district and in a bid to keep women more empowered, purchased three (3) grinding mills to aid income generation and value addition.

The leaders, who were speaking during the handover of 3 milling machines, 30 bags of maize and 15 bicycles to the three select groups from Karita, Amudat Looro Sub Counties.

According to the Resident District Commissioner Amudat Mrs. Betty Otekat Okello, this kind of support is in line with the various government projects like Parish Development Model PDM and Emyooga which are both intended to eradicate household poverty.

She said women and girls in Amudat district have painfully struggled to come out of poverty by engaging in life risk activities like stone quarrying and gold mining yet at the end of the day their men take away the little money made.

“These women have suffered, they do the donkeys work yet their men are seated under trees. When women delay they are beaten up and their money is grabbed,” Mrs. Otekat said.

She wished that if all development partners would adopt hardware interventions that support government to eliminate poverty instead of software projects that in most times remain in paper, Amudat and Karamoja could have transformed long time ago.

Amudat RDC Handing over the Bicycle to the Real Men Champions

However, Joseph Lobot Nangole the LC5 Amudat said as a district they will soon be forced to sieve development partners in the area and only approve those that are responding to the community’s pressing issues.

He said the donation will supplement the various government projects because it focuses on production and value addition. He added that by prioritising the Grinding Mill machines, KAWUO will supplement both pillar number 1 (Increasing production, storage and processing) and 5 (Mindset change) of the parish development model in the district.

“We are going to sit as Amudat leaders to rethink whether all these partners are adding value to our people. If see that what they are doing is tangible like KAWUO has proven, we will acknowledge them and if not, we will expel them because we shall not tolerate duplication of tasks yet our people are not changing,” Lobot stated.

The Chairman 5 added that by ensuring that it is women who own these production equipment, the organisation will empower them more since they (women) never used to own assets in the societies around Karamoja.

According to Musa Makal, an elder and a beneficiary of the bicycle, many men in his area (Karita) used to beat their wives due to poverty in homes but since they started forming Village Savings groups, women have turned out to be family heads by providing more than their men.

He said this has made women more empowered and men are now realizing the need to work together with their wives if they are to develop.

“Men in our area used to beat their wives even for nothing, but since women started saving and being supported by KAWUO, they have now defeated men financially. Our men have now started to also work hard and helping women,” Makal said.

Meanwhile Chelimo Kasifa Lochap the chairperson KAWUO women’s Association Karita Sub County, women had suffered enough of domestic violence but are now agents of change through their various associations.

She says that KAWUO’s approach of engaging both women and their husbands has created a big impact in the lives of their men through the various trainings and involvements in sensitization as an example in society.

“When this organization came, it first brought women together, taught us about domestic violence and where to report. Then after sometime they called our men and elders also to be part. Elders and men then go back to teach their fellow men who are still practicing those bad cultures. This has reduced GBV in Karita,” said Kasifa.

Parts of the Grinding mills at Amudat district Head Quarters

According to Betty Kapchesiy, the programs officer KAWUO, after several engagements with the women groups in the three Sub Counties with guidance from the district leaderships, the women requested for an income generating intervention and all of them agreed to have milling machines.

She said this is intended to boost their household income and also empower them to continue advocating for an end to GBV and FGM which is most prevalent among the Pokot community.

Ms. Betty said when the organization started it’s project in 2019, they registered up to 500 GBV cases (excluding those reported to police and unreported) but over time they kept on declining. She added that in 2020 they received only 300 cases and currently (2022), they have registered less than 100 cases so far.

Uganda adopted and has aligned its sustainable development goals (SDGs) to the Global 2030 Agenda, which call for action to address inequalities and inequities in opportunity, wealth and power (United Nations, 2015). Inequity impedes economic growth, increases poverty, and undermines social cohesion and voice.

The notion of leaving no one behind seeks to address root causes of chronic poverty and inequitable access to services. In Uganda’s development history, Karamoja region remains the least socially and economically developed, with 61 percent of the total population of 1.2 million living in poverty (UNHS, 2016/17).

Karamoja is classified as one of the world’s poorest areas, with high rates of malnutrition and a disproportionate number (61 percent) of its 1.2 million people, living in absolute poverty. Hunger, stunting and lack of access to food are prevalent.

Food insecurity is a major and ongoing challenge and a heavy reliance on the natural resources base renders livelihoods sensitive to climate dynamics. Climate variability and change undermine the already limited resources and development in Karamoja through recurring droughts, flash floods and prolonged dry spells.

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