Thursday, 15 May 2014


Domestic violence is common among the communities of Abim, Kotido and Kaabong. Husbands use it to assert authority on their wives.  Women rights are abused because of the high bride price paid to seal a marriage and also because cultural beliefs render women subservient and inferior to men. And this has in a way created discrimination against women in terms of education and equal share of resources. Women are also limited from participating in community development activities. In response to
this situation, Action for Development of the Local Communities (ADOL) with financial and technical support from Independent Development Fund (IDF) successfully implemented a human rights project in Abim district aimed at improving the livelihood means of women. Several women in Alerek, Lotuke Sub Counties and Abim Town Council were empowered with life skills and knowledge on women rights through trainings; Barazas- Barazas are a model, which demands open accountability from duty bearers to rights holders.  In response to its effectiveness, women pressure groups were initiated and these helped in advocating for improved service delivery. For example the groups demanded for information on quarterly releases of funds to the district, and also put pressure on the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to relieve the District Health Officer (DHO) of her duties because of gross mismanagement of Abim Hospital, and this was done; monitoring of community projects; counseling of victims of human rights abuse; use of music dance and drama and Information, education and communication (I.E.C) materials.    

 Drama groups passing on their messages through dance and drama.

Whereas the project focused on women, men spearheaded the observance, protection and promotion of human rights in general. This significantly led to reduced domestic violence cases and also increased support during antenatal care. Several other positive changes resulted from this action, for instance increased knowledge and understanding of women rights and channels of reporting rights abuses was registered among the women.  Records indicate that a total of 512 cases/issues of gender base violence was recorded by ADOL and analysed while 220 cases were settled by ADOL through her Community Facilitators and Local Council 1 (LCI) Chairpersons and 292 remaining cases were forwarded to police and Uganda Human Rights Commission for further management.

Increased responsiveness by men in addressing household needs and disagreements. Reports from the targeted parishes indicated an upscale of men settling for family meetings as opposed to violence. The Police Community Liaison office, Abim Central Police station revealed that, the workload in community policing has reduced by 30% since ADOL Community Facilitators intensified their training in the villages.
A community member sharing during a Baraza
Lastly an increase in the community’s level of interest in public accountability forums (Barazas) has also been witnessed. The rights holders are now vigilant when it comes to demanding for information, accountability and improved service delivery. On the other hand, duty bearers are now more responsive to the demand for the same. For example, details of funds releases to Abim District Local Government together with their performance indicators are now available to the public, something that had never been done in Abim district. Related to this, through ADOL’s advocacy, CSOs in Abim were brought on board by the District Local Government to develop Abim’s District Development Plan for the next five years. This ensured that most of the community’s concerns were taken care of.

In a nutshell the women in Abim district have been empowered economically, socially and spiritually. Economically- they have formed themselves into income generating groups and now started projects like fruit tree growing, village savings and loan association. Socially- women who used not to participate in development meetings can now contribute in gatherings and also share their political ambitions. Apparently some women have expressed interest to stand for elective positions in 2016. Records show that 8 women are effectively heading families and able to influence clan decisions like on issue of land ownership.