Water Shortages Trigger Domestic Violence in Uganda

In many Ugandan families, water users are equal, but some are more equal than others. Water scarcity in the Kamuli District in southeastern Uganda has led to increased domestic violence in the region, a Ugandan official said last week during a meeting in Parliament, The News Vision reported.

Parliament Deputy Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told delegates from the World Malayalee Council — an Indian nongovernmental organization — that the water depletion in Kamuli had led to many women being divorced and beaten by their husbands.

“Kamuli has 18 sub-counties and over 100 parishes, but there are cases where four villages share one water source and others do not have,” Kadaga added.

For centuries, women in the country have been fetching water for home and field use. The water shortages, however, have forced wives to travel long distances to collect water –- a delay that many husbands ascribe to secret love affairs, Kadaga said.

Family violence is not the only consequence of water scarcity to gender relations in Uganda. Even though women are the primary water keepers in the country, few of them receive formal water management education, which is still considered a man’s business.

Earlier this year, Kadaga urged participants in the 53rd Commission on the Status of Women held in New York to promote equal sharing of responsibilities for water use between men and women. She added that one of the main obstacles to women’s political participation is the challenge to balance family responsibilities and political commitments.

Gender inequality was a major theme at the 5th World Water Forum held in Istanbul in March this year. At a special gender session, delegates to the forum discussed the impact of unequal gender roles for the health, dignity and social progress of women, particularly in less developed societies.

In a forward to the Water Forum newsletter, Maria Lubega Mutagamba — Uganda’s Minister of Water and Environment — wrote: “Lessons from Africa and the rest of the world have demonstrated that increased [women’s] participation in decision making leads to better operation and maintenance of water facilities, better health for the community, greater privacy and dignity for women, more girls attending school and increased income opportunities for women.”

Read more here, here and here.

Source: The New Vision

3 replies
  1. Cazamola John Malungani says:

    It is really a serious pressing issue what we normally hear and see about water and society. Firstly water is definetely a public good and a natural resource, too bulky, finite, essencial, fugitive and very scarce. All of the charecteristics of water make it an economic good which then pose an elusive task in making it available to all, due to its charecters, unlike any other economic goods water cannot be tranported in bulk with vehicles like any other goods, it then raises a serious challenge of installation of pipes, canals, pumps and many more facilities to transport it, and all these require finances or revenue.

    A clear understanding of how water operates may help our people to realise the importance of valuing those who travel long distances to collect water for their families, it is only lack of knowledge about water which make the Ugandian Men abuse their women and accuse them of secretes affairs. We must just bare in mind that women are family managers and understands the value of water, which makes them the custodians of our families in relation to water, and it will then help if we forward them to manage our water resources because they are certainly attached to water and know how it feels to have no water at all.

    It is now the challenge of the government to establish workshops and arrange for different events which will assist the people at local areas to understand the challenges the government is facing and try and create peace, becuase without those women there is no water resources management and without good management people are prone to water related diseases and life is no more.

  2. Alemayehu Neme Eticha says:

    Let us get join togethr for solutions to problems related to any water issues with a great synergetic minds.For providing solutions together by exchanging our experinces and others.

    Thank you very much

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