After graduation I will be going to Uganda for 3 months to work with the Anti Domestic Violence Coalition. This grassroots organization consists of a shelter for victims of domestic violence as well as other services around issues of Domestic Violence. This trip will take place between January 8-March 30.
The organization is located in Jinja, Uganda, the second largest city in Uganda with a population of around 90,000 people. This organization is very grassroots. They currently have 3 paid staff members who sustain their salary by raising chickens and selling their eggs in Kenya, which is really great because they are not as dependent on grants or fundraising, just dependent on happy chickens.
Something else unique about this organization is the way they have included men in their programming. The executive director is a male who majored in gender studies. The agency founder and her husband team up to do group counseling. This has been very beneficial in avoiding criticism of being “man haters” around the community.
Because the founder has a background in business (hence the egg selling idea) she is able to teach women in the shelter business skills so that they can learn to overcome the dependency on their husbands. Liberating these women economically creates a new dynamic within the relationship.
Domestic violence only became illegal in Uganda in 2010 (yikes…) and since then there have been 0 reported arrests for domestic violence (even more yikes…). According to the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey, more than two thirds of Ugandan women experience violence from their partners. The survey also shows that 7 in 10 women agreed that it was justified for women to be beaten. Domestic violence is part of the culture in Uganda, this organization is working to change that through outreach and education.
Because this is part of the culture, the agency has had to use a back door approach to working with perpetrators. They know that the men will feel alienated if the woman is the first to seek services and that staff will side with her. Instead what they do is contact the husband’s friend and invite the two of them in to discuss things. So far this approach has been fruitful at getting them in to talk about issues at home.
Areas that I will be helping out:
-Helping build the children’s department- educating and training staff on the impact domestic violence has on children and ways to help those children, this will include age appropriate presentations at schools and churches to help children grow up with a different expectation than the current cultural norm.
-Building their men’s program- this agency wants to start working to prevent the problem. They want to offer groups and individual sessions to help learn alternatives to violence and positive masculinity. They also want to work on sensitizing the public to the problem thru radio shows and other public speaking events.
What I am asking from you :-)
Although I will be volunteering my time in Uganda, my stay is not free. For a roof over my head and meals on the table, there is a cost of $12 a day.
That’s right, for $12 you can keep me fed with some of Uganda’s finest home cooking and give me a bed to sleep in for one day. I am reaching out asking people to sponsor me for a day, weekend, a week, whatever you are able to do! In return, I promise to dedicate your days to you, and make shout outs all over town and tell all the locals heroic stories about you. You can even request what days are dedicated to you!
Also I would just be really grateful and happy to have your support! I know that being far from home will be really hard at times and I also know that I will be comforted knowing there are people at home rooting me on.
Thank you for your consideration! If I am able to raise above and beyond my goal, the money will go towards my transportation from the airport to Jinja, other programming fees and to the shelter. Basically, I can promise your donation will go to a good place and you can feel realllllly good about it.
Questions? Concerns? Contact me! Would love to speak with you about it, as well as other things going on in life!!
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