In more than thirty years as a widow, I’ve never seen a group work with widows like this. Never.” - Kristin Lokwea Bungatira, Gulu District

Traveling through northern Uganda last week, the long rural roads led us to groups of women, typically waiting under the shade of an enormous tree. They had assembled together because we asked them to meet us as part of our survey of TCON’s agricultural initiatives. In March, we coordinated maize and bean seed to reach over 30,000 similar women- mostly widows, caring for children and orphans, working to rebuild stable lives in this post-conflict region. Now, with the first planting season of 2012 in the books, it was time to see the results of the seed given. (more…)

My mind is having trouble conceiving that Christmas Eve has already arrived this year. As I child, the holiday season felt as though it took forever, creeping at a slow enough pace to intensify my desire for that much anticipated morning event where I would race down the stairs to see what Santa had set aside just for me. Waiting was difficult as a child, especially waiting for something as wonderful as Christmas morning. Perhaps that is when I first learned that to be hopeful, or to live with longing, could be painful at times. (more…)

There is no escaping the reminders of the quickly approaching holiday celebrations. From the five emails I awake to every morning debriefing me on the number of hours remaining to get that perfect deal at the clothing store I most often frequent, to the Christmas jingles playing in every restaurant and the Facebook indicators that 39 people have posted something about Christmas each day — the season is clearly upon us. (more…)

Identifying that women and girls are frequently objectified is not a new discovery. From the MILLIONS of girls forced into prostitution each year to the over-sexualization and objectification of women and girls in the media, the perception and portrayal of women as objects to be acted upon or used for the pleasure of another is a rampant cross-cultural norm. This tragic perspective, which is often at the root of gender oppression, permeates Ugandan culture as well. (more…)

Its been nearly a month now since I’ve returned from my first trip to Uganda.  It takes some time to process what you see when you visit any foreign country, and this country particularly highlighted that rule.  No doubt, there are practical questions we were asking as an organization: What is the status of our projects on the ground?  How are the widows that we support progressing?  What things will we do differently to improve our impact?  But when you dig deeper into the challenges facing a particular context, there often emerges one resonating theme that still rings in your heart long after you leave.  For me, that feature was simple:  To be a woman in Uganda is to lead a life that will face constant inequity, challenges, and lack of opportunity, simply because of your gender. (more…)