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GRA community monitor saves a mother’s land

GRA community monitor saves a mother’s land

When her husband died last year, 24 year old Harriet Nakazibwe was left to care for her two children alone. She lives in Bulindimula village in Mubende District. She did not have a job nor any money to fall back on as her husband was the sole breadwinner. She turned to her land, measuring two acres, which she cultivated, grew crops and earn some income for her family. Her husband had also constructed a house for the family on the piece of land

One day, Nakazibwe’s mother in law came to her house and asked her to leave. She said the house belonged to her deceased son and Nakazibwe was no longer part of the family. The mother in law gave her an ultimatum. If she wanted to stay, Nakazibwe would marry her brother in law.

She refused.

While she was away one day, Nakazibwe’s neighbours called and informed her that her house was on fire. Someone had burnt it to the ground. Nakazibwe feared for her life, she decided that she would look for a buyer for the land and use the money to start a new life near her family.

Her mother in law would have none of it because she also wanted to sell the land claiming she had bought it for her deceased son.

When the two parties reached an impasse, the Mubende district Probation Officer Mariam Nagawa contacted a Global Rights Alert community monitor, Iman Kivumbi, and asked him to intervene.

Kivumbi says he travelled to Bulindimula where he met with Nakazibwe and her mother in law.

“I explained to them the dangers of selling the land without thinking about the welfare of the orphans. I advised them to draw a land agreement putting the property in the names of the two children as the legal owners. I thought this was the best solution because both of them wanted to sell the land,” Kivumbi says.

Both women agreed to this as the best solution and the matter was resolved.

In resolving this issue, Kivumbi said he used the knowledge and skilled he gained during various trainings of community monitors in Mubende district.

GRA adopted the community based monitoring approach two years ago to build a pro-active community that was solving their own community concerns.

After selecting a team of 50 monitors from eight sub-counties in Mubende, Buliisa and Hoima Districts, GRA trained them in what human rights are, how to spot human rights violation, reporting, effective communication skills and grievance handling mechanisms and hierarchy of reporting. The monitors would undertake monitoring of human rights trends in their communities and engage local leaders were violations were recorded.

 

This approach has proved to be a big success because not only does it ensure participation of locals, it also ensures continuity and sustainability of projects and programs which are planned and executed by the community members with the guidance and support of NGOs. GRA has found that where communities raise their own issues to key actors in  government, private sector and/or their leaders, the later respond more positively than if NGOs speak.