This Ugandan couple proves that people who work together gain more benefits

Date 28.06.2021

At 55, Adrine regained her confidence. She can now speak to an audience, make decisions at home, and work closely with her husband Geoffrey on any of their chores. A focal person in her village, Adrine is respected at home and in her community. Years ago, the couple left their home in Isingiro District in Western Uganda with many plans for the future. They settled in the Kamwenge District looking for farm land and better opportunities, and here they raised ten children.

“Geoffrey believed that a woman’s role in the family is to do chores, while the man's is to take care of the money,” explains Adrine.

Their routine mirrored what Geoffrey believed in. While Adrine was busy cultivating maize and beans to feed their family, and using the extra money to buy clothes and to pay school fees for their children, Geoffrey preferred to hang out with his friends in a nearby town. Soon, the once loving husband became violent towards his wife.

When Adrine’s household was chosen to be part of the USAID Graduating to Resilience Activity, the couple was assigned to the coach Henry Turyasingura, whose task was to walk them through the path towards the achievement of their goals. But when the coach realized that husband and wife could not work together, he started to focus on reinforcing positive gender messages first. He encouraged them to collaborate, to share their roles, to plan together and to make joint decisions.

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Geoffrey followed the advice and gradually began to support his wife. In the past, the couple used to have poor crop harvests and no secure income, while now they enjoy the benefits of livestock farming. They rear four goats, two pigs, and three cows, that produce up to five liters of milk each day... They surely don't lack milk for breakfast anymore!

“I explained to Geoffrey that, in order to improve the situation of their household, he had to support his wife and they had to learn how to work together,” says their coach Henry.

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“One day, he did something really nice: first he brought me a nice pair of shoes, then he took me to the market to choose a dress, and he paid for it,” tells Adrine happily.

Based on their own experience, Adrine and Geoffrey now provide counseling to couples who face gender-based violence in their homes. At the same time, they continue working on their own relationship and improving their ability to work together in order to create a better home environment where their children can thrive.

Adrine’s household is among the 5,638 enrolled in the USAID-funded Graduating to Resilience Activity, that engages both refugee and host community households in the Kamwenge District in South-Western Uganda with the purpose of making them "graduate" from conditions of food insecurity and fragile livelihoods to self-reliance and resilience.