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Community Contribution

Addressing Systemic Gender Barriers in Karamoja Sub-region of Uganda

Lillian Ojanduru, Rodwell Sibanda, Jennifer Langoya

Nuyok is a USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance funded Activity in Karamoja, Uganda led by Catholic Relief Services in a consortium with six implementing partners. The activity was designed with the goal of improving food and nutrition security in Karamoja, a sub-region with persistent and high levels of malnutrition and food insecurity and influenced by household gender dynamics. Men and women have distinct roles and responsibilities dictated by cultural norms. Men have more power and control over valuable resources and make major decisions at household and community levels. Nuyok devised an approach to support reduction in gender barriers at the community level to influence individual and household changes in perceptions and practice. Initially, Nuyok used the Catholic Relief Services’ Faithful Household Approach but realized it would not fit the Karamoja context due to the prevalence of polygamy.

Using evidence from evaluations of previous Karamoja Development Food Assistance Programs and internal collaboration with Nuyok partners led to the decision to adopt and adapt Male Change Agents approach - an innovative and context specific intervention. The adaptation included spouses in the approach. Evidence from a gender study by Nuyok showed that the approach was effective in improving unequal power distribution, intra-household relationships, and joint household decision making, resulting in reduced Gender Based Violence and increased household food production. Nuyok is working towards sustaining the approach through collaborating with local government and scaling it to other organizations.

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