The people of Amuria district in Northern Uganda are recovering from prolonged conflict and insecurity and a massive loss of livestock due to cattle rustling. The district is further challenged by adverse weather conditions (droughts and flooding), limited employment opportunities, low incomes and limited access to appropriate knowledge, skills, information and technologies and high levels of illiteracy. In addition, access to treatment for HIV/AIDS infection is limited in rural locations.
What we are doing
We are supporting 6,960 vulnerable smallholder families, particularly those affected by HIV/AIDS to reduce the chronic poverty within their communities by providing inputs and training to improve the productivity of their farms and access to markets and HIV/AIDS services. The initiative will improve nutrition, food security and household incomes. The long-term impact will be measured through resilience of the community to future shocks.
Domestic workers are among the most vulnerable, marginalised and lowest paid in the informal employment sector. Recruited from the poorest rural locations to work for families in cities far from home, they lack support networks, education and the means to access their rights. The continuous ‘invisibility and hidden’ nature of their work and cultural biases against women and girls have relegated them to conditions of exploitation. They face long working hours, restricted mobility, lack of privacy and no access to information. They earn low incomes, lack health care, suffer economic, sexual and psychological violence.
What we are doing
Based in Kampala we are promoting gender equality and enabling domestic workers to access their rights. Through our partner organisation we are providing legal aid, the means to access education and training while promoting livelihoods development as a second income stream to domestic work.
Due to poverty, Mahsubuga’s family who could not afford to keep her at home or pay her school fees. She left home at a young age to live and work for a family in Kampala, the capital of Uganda as a domestic worker.
Far from friends and relatives, shut indoors and with no contract of employment she was at the mercy of the family whose children she cared for, there was little she could do to ensure she was paid or treated decently.
When abused, punished, wages or food withheld, she could do nothing about it. It was impossible to save money to continue her education or training. She felt trapped and saw no future beyond the lowest paid domestic work until she heard about our project. Through a door-to-door campaign to seek out domestic workers, she was connected into peer support with mobile phone technology.
Her life has changed, with peer support to build resilience against abusive working conditions she claimed her entitlement to a day off work each week. She was then able to attend business counselling to plan a second income stream alongside domestic work and has begun to save money through schemes APT’s support groups have started. In future, she plans to start a small micro-business to supplement her income.
Supported by Comic Relief
Over 20 years of conflict involving the “Lords Resistance Army” (LRA) and government forces in northern Uganda has displaced and impoverished much of the population. Boys and young men were forced to fight by the LRA or flee, while many girls and young women suffered sexual exploitation and/or physical violence. Most of these young people do not have viable sources of income, and without skills, self-esteem or a voice; perpetuating their vulnerability.
What are we doing?
In Pader District, we are helping 600 young people and 100 households with vulnerable children (600 people) to obtain stable incomes and food security, by building on successful approaches with our partners VEDCO and Heifer International Uganda based on crop and livestock production. These young role models’ success will be promoted, building inclusion and confidence in young people and their capacity to advocate for their needs.
Betty (pictured) is a special young woman. While still at primary school she was kidnapped by the rebel army to serve them for 6 years. She still has a bullet in her and a chunk out of her leg. She is now a young widow with 5 children. Yet she has formed a group of 33 women and 2 men. She’s had the project’s gender training and is determined to become a ‘leader of women’.
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