"When you are united, your voice can be heard."

Peninah- NAPE - Uganda - Stolen Livelihoods - UKAM

Peninah benefited from resources and training delivered by Womankind partner the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE). She now organises local women to stand up to the traditional patriarchal power structures in her community, as well as challenging government on land purchases that do not adequately compensate women

“I am called Peninah. I am a married woman. We have 5 children: 2 girls and 3 boys. 

When the government [compensation] programme came in, we thought we were going to relocate together, get money and be happy. But it is not as we thought. When men get the compensation they run away and leave women and children. As women we suffered, we did not gain. Children are not going to school, girls marry when they are young. We feel helpless and not happy. We women were dormant. 

After NAPE came we can now stand and refuse. When rich people come to buy my land I can stand and say: no, you will not take my land. We know now that it is the family’s land, not men’s land. We have come together – I can call a meeting and the women will come.

Men have changed because they do not bring others to come and buy the land, as they know that there are strong women here. Before NAPE helped us, women were dormant and couldn’t talk, especially if their husbands were there. But now – they talk! Their husbands support them if I say ‘man…support!’ [1] When you are united, your voice can be heard.

The pipeline is coming and I am disturbed and not comfortable. I feel tension, I don’t know if it is coming past my land or not. But I feel happy that people believe in me and they believe what I say. We have begun to say that if you are compensating a man, a woman must also be present.

[1] NAPE chant: ‘Women: Building: Power! Women: Building: Power! Men: Support!’