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Women are a powerful force for growth in Africa however, many cultures prohibit women from reaping the fruits of their hard work through land and property ownership. This was the case of 46-year-old Kunihira Beatrice who was chased from her marital home and property after her husband re-married.
Having been a farmer, she was denied access to land which she previously co-owned with her husband. She was left stranded with nowhere to stay for her and her 4 children. Due to her active participation in her savings group, She became a selected beneficiary of the AWESOME project by FOWODE that aimed at tackling harmful social norms affecting women and girls.
Beatrice participated in a series of leadership trainings and civic education engagements that enlightened her on her rights to own property and land. Following the training, she sought support from her group members who engaged the LCI chairperson to organize for a family meeting to mediate the land conflict between her and her husband.
During the meeting, the LC and other community leaders who had also received training on women’s rights agreed that it is illegal for Beatrice to be deprived of her land ownership rights.
After a successful mediation meeting, the husband committed to change his ways and agreed that his wife will be allowed to have access to the land. Since then Kunihira’s husband has totally changed and now provides for the family. She attributes this mindset change to the trainings from FOWODE that enlightened her about standing up for her rights and prevention of Sexual and gender Based violence.
Kunihira admits that it’s very important for all women to be sensitized about their rights and the different referral pathways of SGBV as many like her often keep quiet due to ignorance.
“I was not aware of my rights as a woman until the trainings on gender and women’s rights. These have built my capacity on how to stand up for myself and for others who may be facing different forms of violence.”
Currently, Kunihira is counselling and supporting fellow women affected with SGBV in the community on management and referral pathways. She has turned into a bold and powerful woman ready to take up leadership in her community to empower more women and fight for their rights.