58: Global Impact Tour, the “global initiative to end extreme poverty” (as we have previously shared, click here to view our past post), tackles many issues across the globe. While they continuously fight poverty on many levels, each month they feature a specific country and issue. This month is Uganda and the problem of Stealing Land from Widows and Orphans.
Here is what 58 has to share about this issue:
“Across Africa, many widows and orphans are left defenseless when their husband or father dies. In this time of vulnerability, they become victims of ‘succession-related’ property grabbing – the term for illegal property seizure in the aftermath of a death. Victims often lose not only their homes, but – for many who raise crops or engage in small enterprise on their land – their only sources of livelihood, leaving them and their children homeless and without income.
Property grabbing often arises from the perceived lack of land rights for women in traditional societies. Family members, local leaders and potential victims may not be aware of the legal rights of widows and orphans or the criminal sanctions that may arise from illegal property seizure. Moreover, agencies charged with enforcement of rights lack the knowledge and resources to meet the overwhelming need.
Right now, some of the most vulnerable women and children in Uganda are waiting for a defender and waiting to go home. Together, we can help them. With your support, IJM will open a new field office in Gulu, Northern Uganda this summer that will help restore families to their land and homes. These families experienced the terror of Joseph Kony’s guerrilla group, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), when their communities were ravaged. Over two decades, hundreds of thousands of families fled the chaos and danger in Gulu and sought shelter in temporary camps in other areas of Uganda. Thankfully, Kony and his militia have left Northern Uganda. Thousands of children, women and men are now attempting to return home, but they are facing a new injustice. They are returning only to discover that their homes have been stolen and are now occupied by more powerful neighbors who threaten violence with machetes and spears. To return to their rightful homes, these families need a defender. They need the power of the law on their side. But they face great obstacles. Thousands of court cases are backlogged. Women are marginalized. The poorest often do not even know their rights. Without help, the weak and the vulnerable will lose. The powerful will win.
IJM Gulu will provide immediate and sustained attention so that the system works to protect everyone. IJM investigators, attorneys and aftercare staff will be able to defend families particularly widows and orphans – who need help now. Over the last decade, IJM has restored hundreds of widows and orphans to their homes in rural areas around Kampala. This is no small matter: For the poorest and most vulnerable, access to shelter and somewhere to grow food is a matter of life and death. We are ready to bring this expertise to Gulu. Together, we can bring hope and restoration to Northern Uganda. Will you please help support us?”
If you would like to support the 58:Global Impact Tour and IJM, click here.
To learn more about IJM, click here.
To learn more about 58, click here.
All content cited from Live 58: