In August 2022, Christine Adong, a resident of Opwateta village, Kadesoko sub-county, Pallisa district, attended training on unpaid care work dangers and the burden that women bear in homes.
The training was organized by GrOW project on Unpaid Care Work in Uganda that is implemented by a consortium composed of Makerere University School of Women and Gender Studies, CARE International in Uganda, and Economic Policy Research Centre.
She was attached to the advocates group, charged with advocating for change in their communities.
She says in training, they were taught “how people in our villages punish women with home activities and overwork them from morning to evening without resting.”
She says she tried to visit some families and advise them that men and a women should share work to reduce burden on one party.
There was little change, she said.
However, she quickly realized that the biggest issue “in my community was over drinking. Men spent much of their time in the bars – from morning for some – instead of helping with house chores at home.”
Some of them would go back home when the children.
are already asleep. No food at home, no work, no nothing. The drinking was taking money that would support children in school.
She found it hard to approach them directly at bars. She went through the chairperson of local council one (LC1) and explained to him that the problem of over drinking was destroying families. The chairperson was among the “drunkards” but listened.
She said he first wondered how to approach his peers but agreed to try. Adong and the chairperson suggested a talk to bar owners to adjust the time of opening for drinking.
We said, “let’s regulate the time. If they have been beginning in the morning, let them begin at midday after they have done something at home to help the family.”
The bar owners were asked not to open the bars until midday.
“That’s the change that my village experienced. Some of the men even appreciated the move.”
That morning time they used to spend at bars is now used to do something else– such as go to the garden with their wives and when they come back is when they go to their bars.
“Some homes were very happy when I passed that message to them. That brought some little excitement at home for the wives because work was at least shared.”
Regulating drinking time indirectly forced men to go to the gardens and assist their women. They also do some little work at home – looking after the animals – all of which were reserved for women at home.