“As we speak, we have casual workers preparing the land for the impending planting season, and we intend to grow beans again because last year our crop wasn’t successful due to heavy rains. We harvested 18 cans and sold 14 of them at TSh.40,000 each keeping 4 as seed for this season. These positive steps wouldn’t have materialized had we failed to reclaim our right,” adds Munyogwa.
The group’s current chair, Evodia Kayago, says that, they are encouraged by the spirit that exists among the members, which pushes them to accomplish more and never give up.
“We have created a very strong bond among ourselves and this provides plenty of support both emotionally and financially. We access loans that allow us to pay for our children’s school fees as well as address any other vital issues that come up from time to time in our homes,” she tells us.
Adelina Wilson, a member says that, belonging to such a group is vital because women have numerous needs that under normal circumstances require an extra hand to address.
“I have learnt to knit designs on bed sheets and when I sell them I’m able to repay the loan that I will have taken out to purchase the sheets and rolls of wool after providing for my family’s daily needs. I urge other women to join these groups because in here your mind is exposed to new ideas and it’s stretched to think beyond the usual;
“When we didn’t have the land ownership documents, it felt very uneasy but the help that paralegals extended to us gave us our right back and since then each member has benefitted from the crops that we have been growing and selling”, she concludes.
Upendo Jamii represents thousands of other women’s groups across the country which in addition to receiving legal aid from time to time frequently access legal education too.
Under LSF’s Access to Justice Program, paralegals also empower such women’s groups by providing them with vital knowledge and skills necessary for running their affairs.
These efforts are a deliberate bid to unite women in endeavours to uplift themselves economically and help build a better, stronger society that knows, respects, protects and promotes women’s and girls’ rights.