NAWOU has strengthened the peaceful family collective, decision making and sharing of home roles through gender and model couple’s trainings on gender equality and rights awareness. Men/ husbands through the model couples approach now support women/ their wives to acquire, access, own and control productive resources like land.
Joyce Adit, wife to Chrisanto Odaga, Institution Development Officer Okoro Coffee Growers Cooperative Union shared, “Before the model couples training, all family land and activities on it were solely under my husband’s control while my key role was taking care of the children. This meant that whatever we gained from the farm belonged to my husband and I was only provided food for subsistence.”
This is a common plight in many households in Nebbi district that mostly affects women. Women are not eligible to own land or property. As culture dictates, a woman can only have land assigned to her from her husband or father but they do not fully own it as it can be reclaimed if the husband passes on by his brothers or children. Land given to them by their fathers too can be reclaimed by her brothers who want to pass it on to their own children and wives.
With the empowerment and continued sensitization of women on land rights and ownership, NAWOU realized the gap they were creating by only focusing specifically on women without engaging the men. This birthed the concept of deliberately involving men with their spouses during the gender equality campaigns and awareness dialogues held.
“Until such a time when my husband and I participated in the model couple’s trainings where we learnt that women can and should participate in economic activities, take care and own land,” said Joyce.
After several trainings, Chrisanto made a complete 180 and his attitude towards the wife, household chores and her economic development changed. He began to trust Joyce more with taking care of the family land, was more involved in home chores like collecting firewood; something he had never done before. The fact that he trusted her motivated her to get other sources of income like cotton farming to send their children to school.
“I appreciate NAWOU, We Effect and Okoro Coffee for the support in gender mainstreaming. There has been a difference with the model couples approach on gender equality and the changes are reflected within the community,” Chrisanto reported. “With the involvement of men, they are more understanding of the challenges women are undergoing. These trainings changed my life and our home is peaceful as we now share responsibilities, plan as a family and trust each other more with finances.”