Thursday, July 08, 2010

The challenge to provide after surviving war

A positive story that we found today talks about some strides that Uganda's war survivors are making to improve their lives. During the war many children were abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army to fight or be wives to the soldiers. Now that the former abductees are adults and the war is largely over, they struggle to provide for themselves or loved ones.

From this New Vision story that we found at All Africa, we learn of some initiatives led by the UN Food and Agriculture Orginization to help the war's survivors grow food and save money. Writer Joshua Kato introduces us to one female abductee named Eunice Odok.

"I want to be the first woman in the village to construct an iron roofed house," she says. Her fellow women ululate. She will also buy new clothes so that she is 'respected.'

Odok's dreams are not far fetched.

Very soon, she will be harvesting from her sunflower field, from which she will earn sh1.4m! Very soon too, she will be getting her share from the sale of two acres of onions that belong to the Field Farm School (FFS), to which she is a member. The school has about 30 members.

As a group, the women hope to earn about sh3m from the onions. This means that each of them would take home sh100,000.

According to FAO's Emmanuel Niyibigira, FFS are set up like adult education schools.

However, they are practically oriented to give an array of knowledge to farmers, with emphasis on 'how' and 'why' questions.

The system was adapted to the way of life in the north, including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returning populations. Odok is a former IDP.

To think that these achievements are happening in an area that was under war a few years ago is impressive. In the Lango sub-region, many women have taken the hunger and poverty bull by the horns.

Not far from Odok's home is Aboke sub-county, where school girls were abducted by the Lords Resistance Army in 1996. By then, Odok was 12 years old.

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