Out of the five members of Tumbula Community Empowerment Initiative (TUCEI) group who traveled to Kenya, three it was the first time experience of traveling out of Uganda. The experience was an exciting and a unique one, we all looked forward to learning, acquiring new skills and networking.
We were well received and made to feel at home. We were informed that the conferences’ theme was “Show, Grow and Share” with three main areas of focus:
- Health Care and Hygiene
- Violence on women
- Farming/chicken rearing activities
Philline the host helped the group understand the importance of good health, hygiene and economic empowerment for women.
In the conference we were meant to understand that women are the backbone of the family and makers of homes. Women take care of all family members throughout their lives thus, should ensure that they are able to provide these basic duties. In order for women to be able to develop in the society they should be able to help one another through conducting economic activities that can help them to earn a living such as cattle/goat keeping, chicken rearing, own a retail shop, do tailoring, day care services among others. She cited the example of rabbit rearing that Nakumat Nairobi where one rabbit goes for 60,000/-.
She also encouraged women not to undermine work and label some activities as “men’s work” as society dictates. She encouraged women to that on work like brick making and sell to constructors.
For a woman to save on charcoal, gas and fuel it is cheap to use an Eco stove. She encouraged every woman to have an Eco stove in their homes and also help the community, thus be able to provide the basic commodities for the family and have self-respect for oneself and their families.
Health and hygiene is very important within the community as it helps to stop the spread of bacterial infections that affect small children and infants such as cold flu’s, malaria, constipation, Diarrhea, skin infections, tuberculosis(TB) ,typhoid among others. Good health enables one live a more fruitful and productive life.
Safety measures for a health life;-
- Boiling of drinking water;
- Regular visits to the doctor;
- As women ensure that the environment is clean around our homes;
- Use of mosquito nets to prevent malaria;
- Understanding of how to perform first aid.
TUCEI women shared about their organization, women’s roles and importance of knowing one’s HIV & AIDS status.
Women should be respectful and exemplary in the community; she should be the first teacher of her children, then her husband and community. She should ensure that the children have good health, she must be God fearing and ensure that the home always has food thus it is important to have a vegetable garden at home for a well balanced diet.
On health, the couple should now their HIV&AIDS status to avoid passing on the virus to their unborn children and also know how to take care of themselves so that they can live longer. The TUCEI coordinator informed participants that they are planning to start HIV&AIDS awareness raising campaigns around the lakes that is the fishing grounds, Boda-Boda, Barmaids, young people/youth and pregnant mothers.
The ladies of TUCEI shared their life experiences and participants were very touched, many were very surprised that Ugandans could freely talk about their HIV status as for them especially Kenya one could not easily disclose their status as stigma is still very high. The women encouraged each one of them to test, know their status and if positive start treatment as soon as possible.
Violence against women: it was realized that in Africa men are taken to be very superior over women, culture favors them-education they are considered first and many other things they are put first thus as they grow up they tend to under-look women, disrespect them, neglect their family responsibilities, beat their wives especially those who drink alcohol, polygamy thus high rates of HIV&AIDS among others.
It was realized that to overcome violence in society men need to be involved in teachings and campaigns against violence.
Home visits: Farming and animal rearing; participants were meant to understand that even on a small piece of land someone can do much for example; in Kenya people have small pieces of land but can do kitchen gardening for vegetables, plant a few food crops and also rear chicken.
The women were very grateful for the wonderful opportunity given to them by Livingstone Foundation in support of Isis-Women International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE) to travel, learn, acquire skills and share experiences with women and men from Kenya and Netherlands.
- Every home should have an Eco stove.
- Should have a vegetable garden.
- Every woman should have an Income Generating Activity (IGA) to support the family thus reduce on gender based violence.
- Devise was to assist our sisters in Kenya openly talk about HIV&AIDS and fight stigma in communities.
- Home visits – Learn to utilize the small pieces of land by growing vegetables, rearing animals & still someone can have time to own a sewing machine to earn extra money