Jackie’s story illustrates several of the challenges women can face when it comes to gaining secure access to land. As with anyone’s life story, there are many complex details. Ultimately, though, up to the point when she spoke to us in this interview, her access to land had been inextricably linked to her relationships with men – in particular her first husband, her partner and her nephew.
Jackie was born in 1955 and married in 1972, She had three children, one of whom is still alive. She separated from her first husband after several years, and returned from her husband’s home to her father’s village and repaid her bride price. At this point she was no longer considered married.
In 1980 Jackie entered into a relationship with a new partner and had six additional children – four girls and two boys – one of whom died. During this time her husband became violent towards her, so once again Jackie returned to her father’s home in the hope of settling down.
It was at this point, though, that the conflict between the Ugandan government and the Lord’s Resistance Army made it too dangerous to remain in the area. So Jackie, with her children, returned to live with her abusive partner.
After several years, the conflict in the north began to subside and Jackie once again felt able to return to her home place to live (because Jackie’s second relationship was never formally a marriage, but instead was a co-habitation, under the traditional rules neither she nor her children had any right to land from her partner’s clan). Many other people were also returning to their homes at this time, giving rise to many disputes relating to who could use what piece of land: AUDIO CLIP 1 (Duration – 1:44)
Searching for a Solution
In a follow up interview with Jackie – six months after we first spoke with her – she updated us on her situation. She explained how she and Daniel, a facilitator with the project, approached the leaders of the clan to which she and her nephew both belong. Her primary aims were to address her concerns for her own safety, and to ensure she had access to land for cultivation. AUDIO CLIP 2 (Duration – 3:58)
We asked Jackie what the future holds – and if she feels confident about the decision her clan members will reach: AUDIO CLIP 3 (Duration – 3:20)