By Tamara Shaya
JRP’s Gender Justice Team engaged in a variety of activities over the past few months, which have yielded great results.
Under the Ododo Wa (Our Stories) program, the Gender Justice Team developed personal history books for several formerly abducted women. The personal history books, which include the life story about a woman’s life before, during, and after abduction, are important assets to the women. Many formerly abducted women feel the need to document the experiences they faced so that their children and families understand their experiences and for women to remember events that took place while in captivity.
Likewise, under the auspices of Ododo Wa, the Gender Justice Team visited six storytelling groups with the purpose of having women discuss truth-telling and missing persons. Women performed dramas illustrating their perception of truth-telling and missing persons and engaged in different exercises, like ribbon of life, where women tied colored ribbons on a piece of cloth to symbolise various elements of the war. They also played several games to foster group unity. The storytelling sessions helped women understand the importance of transitional justice mechanisms and expanded their understanding of justice and reconciliation. The findings from this storytelling session, as well as information from other interviews and focus group discussions will be published by JRP.
In the last quarter, representatives from the Women’s Advocacy Network (WAN) engaged in community outreach sessions. The topic of the community outreach session was domestic violence, with different representatives from the Women’s Advocacy Network performing dramas, sharing their personal experience, and engaging in an open dialogue with members of the community. The purpose was to create awareness about the negative impacts of domestic violence and reduce the rate of violence in homes. Community members responded well, sharing during discussions that they are thankful to have an opportunity to dialogue with the WAN members.
WAN members have also created awareness about their issues in a variety of ways including through radio talk shows and international presentations. Members of the Gender Justice Team and WAN host a weekly radio talk show on Mega FM about issues pertaining to war-affected women, such as amnesty and compensation. Likewise, a WAN member traveled to the Surviving Violence Workshop in Halifax, Canada, to give a presentation on how storytelling has helped women to cope in post conflict situations.
- WAN quarterly meetings where they discussed issues affecting them and their members. Among the issues raised included identity of children born in captivity, access to land, passiveness of women involvement in issues affecting them due to cultural biases among others.
- A one day sensitisation workshop on transitional justice needs for women for WAN.
- A situational analysis on gender needs in transitional justice processes in Northern Uganda by the Gender Justice Team.
- Gender Justice Programme Officer Nancy Apiyo won the Woman for Peace Award organized by Global Women Empowerment and Volunteer Action Network. This was in recognition of the work she has done with formerly abducted women. ▪
Tamara Shaya is a graduate student intern with JRP’s Gender Justice Department.