It is International Women’s Day today and as usual I am in a reflective mood, precisely that what does this all mean for women in Africa. In my first post on IWD over at Africa on the Blog I ask the question
What can we do to ensure that the world of the African woman who has no property rights, access to education, independent income etc, converges with the rest of the world?
Whilst I was still pondering this an almighty row broke out in cyber space regarding an American based NGO called Invisible Children (IC). The NGO posted a video in which they tell the story of the war of Northern Uganda, specifically the abduction of children who were then forced to serve as child soldiers in Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). You can watch the video here
The video went viral so much has been said elsewhere, so it is not my intention to rehash what has been said already. The video has caused so much anguish, shock and disgust from many quarters for one reason or another. The war in Northern Uganda went on for 26 years and injured women and children both physically and emotionally and for this I have questioned the motivation of IC to issue a video that deals with a terrible time in Uganda’s history.
I have seen the pain of those that suffered at the hands of Kony and his Lords Resistance Army and I am privileged to work with some of those women who survived that war. We call them the Women Of Kireka and you can hear one of my conversations with them in this video
These are proud women who have against the odds worked to put the past behind them and forge a new life for themselves in Kireka a suburb or Kampala the capital of Uganda. This is not to say that they have forgotten what they went through, how can they? Some lost entire clans, husbands, children and neighbours etc
Although I have been through a war when our village was under siege for 4 months in the war that brought in Museveni, I can’t begin to imagine what these women went through or how it is that they are not outwardly angry at the whole world for allowing this to happen to them and I will never know what that was like for them.
That an International NGO that should know better has chosen to make people like the Women of Kireka relieve this pain has left me and most Ugandan’s seething with anger. In doing this IC is preventing us from moving on and appears keen on holding Northern Uganda back even though the people of Northern Uganda are working hard to rebuild their lives. I ask again WHAT IS IC’S MOTIVATION?
I also have to ask what we as Ugandans/ Africans going to do about this?
I strongly believe that IC and such like must be stopped from misrepresenting our continent in this way.
I am keen to hear your thoughts on this matter
As suggested by Joanne you can help these women by making a donation. The money will be put towards sewing machines which is something the women are desperate to acquire so that they can expand their business. If you do make donation please use WOK as your reference so we can allocate the money appropriately