New Year - New Work to get Out of Marginalisation and Invisibility
When Rural Women and Youth (Ruth ) Fund Uganda opened an office in Nabazizza –Kyengera 12 kilometres from Kampala district, we-staff and Board- took on a challenge to test whether the area fitted in the description of a rural area we initially planned to work in. The Feasibility Study done in 2014 stated-there is limited knowledge and practice of human/women rights in rural areas of Uganda, partly because of the isolated nature, limited information on development programs, illiteracy and high levels of poverty.(page4).
This was a description of the people we want to live and work with but not the area?
What is a rural area? The terms isolated, hard to reach, lacking water and electricity were used. Observation shows Uganda is changing . Agricultural land is decreasing as most parts are used for residential purposes. This is what Nabazizza is like. Many families are moving into the once rural hard to reach area. Roads are being constructed, in places where a shelter is not on the land, water is still a problem-and residents cannot differentiate between clean and safe water-there is no piped water. There is electricity that is accessed by those who can afford it. The residents of Nabazizza therefore lead different lifestyles determined by economic status.
Should it then be the poor are the rural people? Is it the low income who are rural? At the Validation meeting of the Feasibility study, participants advised that definitions can be misleading. There are areas that are neither rural or urban and are populated by rich and poor. Nabazizza is a peri-urban area. The question is –where is a rural area? Participants acknowledged they all came from the rural areas or villages where every Ugandan has roots.
So, in a changing Uganda, are there areas where there are people who have more knowledge of their rights than people in some areas? This is a task that Ruth Fund Uganda is embarking on, to determine levels of rights knowledge and practice. Ruth Fund Uganda also believes that there is a relationship between knowledge and practice of human rights and getting out of marginalization and invisibility.
Happy New Year-join us in the new work of learning and unlearning.