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As a clinical officer and businesswoman, Maureen made a living through her salary and profits from the sales of goods. However, just like the other wives in Nalongo Village, Butuntumula Sub County in Mityana district, she had never contributed to the household expenditures. In Nalongo village, contributing towards household expenditures was considered an attempt to usurp the husbands’ role in the family and as a result, many women abstained from it even when they were able to support.
“Even when my husband was struggling to make ends meet, at the end of every month, I went shopping for clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery among others. My husband often took care of all the household bills like house rent, food, electricity, school fees and even medication whenever I fell sick. Because of the great love that he had for me, he carried this burden but as time went by, he started to resent me and question how I spent all the money. My response was often ‘I don’t care because it’s my money, not our money.” Moureen Mbawadde
Owing to this behaviour, Maureen’s relationship with her husband started to decline. She was convinced that women did not have any financial obligation to the home. However, when she attended the resource person’s training under the Women’s Amplified Voice and Empowerment (WAVE) Project, her attitude towards shared roles in the household changed.
Using the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) approach of drawing a Vision road journey and the Gender balance tree, Maureen was able to identify poverty as one of the root causes of conflict in her household and at the community level. She also learned that women are not the only ones that suffer intimate partner violence however, men too suffer from it silently. During the training, Maureen learnt that rights come with responsibilities and it was her responsibility to contribute to the household.
“During the training by Chandini Peace and Eunice Musiime on gender power Relations and GALS, I learned about “mindset change”. I learnt that certain behaviours that we have normalized affect the people that we stay with negatively. I saw how I hurt my husband and following this training I am enlightened, and I will contribute financially to household expenses.” Moureen said
During the four days of training, Maureen also learnt about the importance of working together as husband and wife on specific goals. This was through the experience-sharing session where other resource persons and male champions shared about the dynamics of their relationships especially best practices. The joint resource persons training by FOWODE empowered community facilitators and male champions to harmonise their understandings of women’s empowerment and gender equality to enable them to improve their facilitation skills in their grassroots communities. Following the training, Maureen says she shared the information with her husband and other wives in the village. Together with her husband, they intend to build rental houses on the idle land they have.