The Bundibugyo team supported by UN Women, JLOS & Embassy of Sweden, trained 160 Community Based Volunteers (CBVs) from eight sub-counties (Kirumya, Harugale, Bundibugyo Town Council, Kisubba, Tokwe, Busaru, Sindila, Bubukwanga) in Bundibugyo District. The trainings took place between 27th August to 8th September and they were purposely conducted to;
- Introduce the JCU-UNWOMEN project and its’ services.
- Train new CBVs and refresh the old CBVs on the various legal aspects.
- Assess CBVs legal knowledge during the previous training.
- Assess the impact of JCU-UNWOMEN project in Bundibugyo.
The participants were taught about land rights, Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights (SRHR), succession law, criminal law affecting women & girls, marriage and divorce, access to justice, mediation process among others.
The team had an interactive session with the CBVs who raised a number of the issues in relation to the topics taught. During a discussion on marriage and divorce, it was observed that majority of the couples in Bundibugyo are cohabiting despite some knowing that cohabitation is not a recognized type of marriage and this in some instances leaves them unable to enjoy their property rights upon separation or death of a partner. In relation to succession, it was discovered that there is still a belief that widows are not entitled to a share of their late husband’s estate and ‘widow inheritance’ is still existent in some of these areas.
When discussing land rights, specifically the process of acquiring land by spouses, it was identified that wives/women are made to sign as witnesses on the purchase agreements because of the belief that men are the heads of the family or that women do not have rights to own property. Additionally, the CBVs narrated how certain cultural beliefs amongst the Bakozo and Bamba are against family planning for example; the “Bajombe law” which believes that it is the role of the woman to produce as many children as possible for her husband and the “Kyojerera” also known as widow inheritance where a widow is married off to the deceased’s bother against her will.
Basing on the above discoveries, JCU is grateful for having conducted these trainings and we strongly believe that our trained CBVs will ably create legal awareness among their communities in a bid to end these unlawful and cruel practices that oppress women and girls. We also thank our funding partners UN Women and Embassy of Sweden for making these trainings a possibility.