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Inspiring for Change: Impact of culture on gender inequality

The majority of the young men in Uganda have inherited cultural practices that have affected household harmony and mutual respect for spouses as equal partners at household level. This is further aggravated by the current social and economic stressors. These include high levels of immorality, alcoholism, substance usage and drug abuse. 

Early January 2022, World Renew and ar partner in the West Nile region conducted a situational assessment using Participatory Rural Appraisal and Learning (PRA) tools to establish the existing opportunities for community intervention, available resources and challenges that need to be addressed. The PRA process is a package of community engagement tools aimed at helping communities to unleash existing potential, reveal the existing situation, support the learning through self discovery and gain insights into the future through self reflection.

There is untold suffering women experience especially after crop harvest

The community gathering was subdivided into four segments for purposes of taking care of the different age groups and their perceptions on the given subject for discussion. These included the young women, young men, old women and old men. The study revealed that, gender based violence was ranked highest as a result of the underlying gender inequality and imbalance challenging household wellbeing. 

Several lamentations were made by women wondering about, dehumanizing behaviour men have towards women, sexual abuse and harassment. Unhealthy conditions are experienced by women due to having so many children at a tender age beginning at 14 years, overstretching workloads, less care and support of their spouses has resulted in chronic illnesses such as backaches and faster aging. 

This has caused significant psycho social challenges. There is untold suffering women experience especially after crop harvest or after doing business when the man asks for the money or takes the center stage to decide on the use of the proceeds or income received without the consent of the women. The women said this was very disappointing when the men ended up marrying more women and indulging in alcoholism. These and other vices have ruined household harmony, relationships and children’s well being and ability to be in school. Levels of school dropout are highest for the girl child. How do we break the trends and challenges that ruin lives? The old men's perspective to change this status quo is going to be gradual while the young men have purposed to change for a brighter future. Where are the men and boy children in society that will impact the world today?

They have testimony of positive changes taking place where the existing interventions are done.

The leadership in the neighboring communities invited World Renew and her partner to start similar intervention in the villages identified for the study. They have testimony of positive changes taking place where the existing interventions are done. During the process, the communities demonstrated very well that they know their challenges, plight, opportunities and destiny. Why not act on the them without the outsider involvement? I am reminded that just as the patient seeks support from the health worker, God has placed us in this position to change the story that has been believed over decades. Releasing those that have been kept in custody of sin and spiritual bondage. Undoing the wrong Satan has done over the years requires spiritual muscle to break this tyranny of sin. 

Once the foundations of the family unit are shaken, what remains are the rabbles of a broken society. Thus the call to rebuild, renew and restore. Even when things have fallen apart, there is hope for restoration to paraphrase the prophet Joel (2:26) may this be our generation to anchor and hope in Christ.

Photo from the author taken while in the field during the Situational Assessment

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