How do Empowered Voices challenge gender roles? Cooking contest for men of course!

The four brave men who took the challenge to cook. And the judge is capturing everything on his camera.

The four brave men who took the challenge to cook. And the judge is capturing everything on his camera.

We were inspired by a Ted talk sent to us by my friend Ingela Flatin on malnutrition. The talk is by Raj Patel and he has an interesting story from Malawi. Because of all the tasks that women in poor rural communities have on their daily agenda breast feeding and healthy cooking are not always priorities and therefore malnutrition becomes a problem. In the project in Malawi they came up with the idea that men need to be involved in cooking - but how do you make them do that? By arranging competitions of course! This makes it fun and the men learns how much work cooking and kitchen duties actually is. This is a really smart way of challenging the gender roles and to reinvent what it is to be a man - as Raj Patel puts it. And it is important because we know that stunting in children increases with gender inequality. If you want to watch the Ted talk follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP5tZc9-JIg

So how did this take place in Empowered Voices? Well, the group was already gathered and had attended an event with AgriProFocus which is an international organizations for farmers that focus a lot on gender equality. AgriProFocus agreed to help out and be the judges, and four of our brave guys were given the challenge of making eggs and juice for their sick wives. The contest was a big success and the men took the competition very seriously. The rest of the group cheered along and really enjoyed the happening :) We hope to do this again at a later time with more participants but for now you can enjoy these photos of the brave quartet.

Help Alexander to get a bike! :)

    This man - Alexander - is amazing! :)

    He is one of the most hardworking members of Empowered Voices (EV) - but he needs some help - to buy a bike!

    Why? He collects beans from all the 5 villages that the members have to return to EV after harvest. The beans are sold together for a much higher price than they would get individually. Also, they collect a surplus to give to new members so that the project can benefit more people.

    Alexander is also responsible for EV's publicity and all his work is volunteer work.

    I am starting fundraising for Alexander's bike right now and I hope we can get a lot of support for him!

    If you want to contribute, please, make a donation to this account if you're in Norway (Norwegian bank): 6580.22.75565 (Lene Martinsen, Nordea) and mark the donation "bicycle" or use our Givlet account if you are in any other country https://www.givlet.org/donate/wnAv/

    Presentation of the health and livelihood survey at Sub-County level

    Photo: Peninah handing over the Health and Livelihood survey to the Chairperson of Nalutuntu Sub-County, Kamulegeya Peterson

    Photo: Peninah handing over the Health and Livelihood survey to the Chairperson of Nalutuntu Sub-County, Kamulegeya Peterson

    March 31st 2016 was a very memorable day for Empowered Voices. We presented the result from our health and livelihood survey that we conducted in the villages in 2014. It has been a long road from designing the survey, securing funds, collecting data (in the language of Luganda and then translating to English), data entry and cleaning, analyses, report writing and finally making the finished product official and handing it over to the Sub-County after presenting the results.

    The survey was very well received and we were encouraged to continue the work of Empowered Voices and expand into certain critical areas like access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities.

    We want to share the Executive Summary of the survey here and in the near future we will have a separate page on our webiste where we will go more in detail and explain how this survey can be used to improve the health and livelihoods of the members of the communities.

    Executive Summary:

    This survey provides deep insight into the living conditions of mainly female inhabitants of the five villages of Kyakatebe A, Kyakatebe B, Namuganga,  Kiwummulo and Kyannamugera in Uganda. The results indicate that the community has many unmet needs and that interventions are required in order to improve the living conditions in order to lift the communities out of poverty. At the same time, the results show that inhabitants have reported good basic health, which means they are able to perform their usual daily lives. This is promising for the current development in the region and means that the inhabitants in these villages have potential to improve their livelihood and that of their families. At the same time, some important areas that needs urgent attention that we would like to highlight are the following: the lack of electricity, issues with sexual and reproductive health, high rates of jiggers, low access to clean water, low rates of healthy kitchen facilities, and low sanitation. The findings also highlight the need for better access to markets sell and produce, information and provide training on environmental conservation techniques.

    This survey was supported by International Association for Human Values UK and Norway.

    Empowered Voices would like to express our gratitude to all those who have been involved in making this survey come true. A special warm thank you to our survey interview team - 15 brave Empowered Voices members who took on a completely new task and executing it with great care and professionality.

    Organic Agriculture is rising in Uganda

    And Empowered Voices is proud to part of that development. On the front page of this weeks Organic News in Uganda is a photo from an organic farmer's market where Peninah from Empowered Voices is selling her produce to customers.

    Through our local project manager, Julie Matovu, EV has been introduced to organic farming through the organisation NOGAMU (National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda). They are the leading organisation for organic farming and agriculture in Uganda and they have been giving several trainings for Empowered Voices. Some of our farmers are also going through a process of getting officially certified as organic.

    The end of poverty is within reach!

    We are the first generation in human history that actually can end extreme poverty. But it will not happen by itself! Helen Clark, the administrator for the United Nations Developmental Program (UNDP) and former prime minster of New Zealand, visited the University of Oslo this week discussing how we can make sure that the nations of the world implement the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It takes all sections of society both in developed and developing countries. We all need to take responsibility. Several of the goals are important for Empowered Voices and we would love to have you on board in our work to end poverty, end hunger, ensure good health, empower girls and women, and facilitate clean water and sanitation for our villages in Uganda. Please, get in touch if you feel motivated! :)

    Happy Women's Day 2016!

    As the nations of this world has started a journey towards the new United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs), I would like to honor some of the women who have been and are crucial in Empowered Voices and our work for SDG 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Please, click on the photos and read about every woman (text appear if you put your marker over the photo). Of course there are many more women in Empowered Voices in Uganda but there is not enough space here to mention all. However, you are all important and your voices should be heard. Also, there are many friends and family who have supported in different ways and you are all important to me and Empowered Voices. I will also take the opportunity to thank International Association for Human Values UK and Norway for support and encouragement.

    With gratitude,
    Lene

    Our Peninah in the local elections in Uganda!

    We could not be more proud! Our dear sister Peninah Kaniyiginya is running for the local elections in Uganda today. After having the pleasure and privilege of working with her over the past 4 years we can safely say that it would be a blessing for the local authorities to have Peninah on board. She is a strong, confident, hardworking, fair, reliable, honest and wonderful person. We wish her and the people of Mubende the best of luck with the elections today.

    Upcoming elections in Uganda: Peninah is running for the local election!

    On February 18th Uganda heads to the polls to elect a new president. The situation is tense and there has been clashes between the opposition and the ruling party lead by president Museveni. Below is an article with an overview of the political history of Uganda since it's independence from British rule in 1962. Following is a short video made by BBC about the current election.

    However, we are even more interested in the local elections which continues in the weeks after February 18th. Why? Because our Peninah is a running candidate! We will have more information about this in the next few blog posts. In the meantime we're sharing some photos from the our villages stating that there is a lot to do for the local authorities and organizations working in Mubende. The photos were taken during the survey we conducted in the villages two years ago. We hope to be able to raise funds to address some of the issues (e.g. water, sanitation, cooking situation).

    Article on the history of the political development: Click here

    Video about the current elections (only 1,41 minutes): Click here