From where I stand: Information sharing and skills training equips women in rural Uganda to participate in peace building and conflict prevention
Jolly Musabe is a retired school teacher living in Rwentuha Subcounty, Kyegegwa district in western Uganda, who is using her peace building and conflict resolution skills gained through UN Women supported trainings to reach out to women in her community.
“Women in my community are barely recognized and there is little or no attention from the leaders at the Subcounty or even within the community. While we have Community Development Officers that are tasked with handling issues relating to women and girls, they are overwhelmed with a lot of programmes and activities.
Most of the women in my community have little or no information about their rights or where and when to report cases of violence. For example, women plant crops on large farms but during the harvesting season, the men take charge of the farm produce and use the proceeds for drinking alcohol and women are left alone to struggle with the children. As a result, quarrels within the homes escalated to physical violence, with some women running away from their marriages while others painfully kept quiet and tolerated the injustice.
In 2021, I attended a training by Coalition for Action (CoACT) on leadership, conflict prevention and resolution, mediation skills, women’s rights and advocacy. From the training I realised that I can do something to change what was happening in my community. With the knowledge and skills gained I have mobilized two women from each of the 12 parishes in Rwentuha Subcounty, Kyegegwa district and trained this group of 24 women peace mediators. Each parish now has two women peace mediators who are mobilizing other women and forming groups to provide psychosocial support to fellow women, providing a helping hand to vulnerable families through weekly visits and recruiting more women into mediation work.”
UN Women with support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Uganda, works with women rights organizations, such as CoACT to build the capacity of women in peace building and conflict prevention. At the end of the training, women leaders design action plans on how to reach out to more community women and how they will engage in conflict prevention, mediation and resolution. CoACT works with these leaders to monitor and trace the actions that support sustainable and inclusive peace building in Uganda.