It’s good to be back at work in Uganda again. Of the all African countries I frequent, it seems to be the place where I spend most of my personal time, but where I actually work the least. For this assignment I traveled with Tracey Spicer, an Australian journalist and news anchor who was reporting on the work of ActionAid for the Daily Telegraph and other editorial and broadcast outlets.
Spicer highlighted ActionAid‘s work on women’s rights and domestic violence in Eastern Uganda. She knows first-hand what it’s like to experience gender discrimination. Her firing in 2006 from Network Ten (via email) after returning from maternity leave garnered much attention in the media and started a nation-wide debate about gender discrimination in the workplace. Since then she has been bringing to light the stories of voiceless women who have faced hardship or abuse.
Click on the article above to read the story from the Daily Telegraph of Jennifer Alupot, one of the women we encountered on our assignment. It’s shocking to read that 68% of women have reported being abused by their husbands in this country. How many more instances go unreported? The above story, and the nation-wide outrage it engendered when first reported, led to the adoption in 2009 of the first law against domestic violence in Uganda.
ActionAid not only works with victims of domestic violence, but also politicians and community leaders in order to advocate on a broader basis and effect change on a larger level. Below is Mr. Claudius Kikonkolo, one of the elders of Kole village in Uganda’s Pallisa District. Following ActionAid’s intervention, the elders of this village allowed women more rights in their society, including the right to own land.
We also spent some time covering the aftermath of hailstorms in the East. A series of football, yes football, sized hailstorms in this region of the country flattened the houses and ruined the harvests of many small farmers this year. Because of the loss of harvest many went hungry, and incidents of malnutrition increased dramatically. Below, The Kaula family sits together amidst the rubble that was their house in Nsinze Village, Namutumba District.
Traveling on Uganda’s roads during the rainy season can be fun. We managed to become stuck a couple of times in muddy potholes, though not as badly as this lorry did. It was forced to unload its cargo before inching its way through the muck. Below, a motorcycle bears a coffin across the Nile River in Jinja.