Long Essays

This is a collection of Reasearch Papers done by Upgraders.

Papers List

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The dilemmas of an African woman politician at the crossroads: law, reality and patriarchy The dilemmas of an African woman politician at the crossroads: law, reality and patriarchy

The public struggle by Ugandan women for recognition and participation in the political affairs of the country began in earnest in the 1940s with the formation of the Uganda Council of Women which first battled against unjust laws and later began the agitation for, among other things, increased participation of women in national politics (Tamale,1999:10). However, the women’s movement while still in its nascent stages was affected by the turbulent political events in Uganda, particularly the banning of non-government organizations during the 1970s, but survived to grow into the diversity of civic organizations that operate in Uganda today.1 At the international level the long-cherished principles of freedom and equality enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were formally restated in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

By Rebecca Kadaga

The case for delivering credit with education in contrast to delivering credit only to the rural poor The case for delivering credit with education in contrast to delivering credit only to the rural poor

This essay begins by examining different international rights legislation that specify that every human being has a right to development and the skills, knowledge and opportunities to achieve this development. Governments are obliged to set up policies and programmes to provide an enabling environment for this and women, so often excluded, need the opportunity to be empowered and join the mainstream of development. The author describes how the Ugandan government has gone out of its way to support microfinance institutions, which often give women priority, and has put legislation in place to protect people’s savings and to protect the organizations themselves. She then goes on to describe and assess the efficacy of the various development models which have been implemented to deliver information, education, training and credit opportunities to women. Most of these models have focused on either training or providing credit but the author shows how, by combining these two, as is done in the Credit with Education programme, poor women have had the opportunity to develop a better standard of living. The Credit with Education programme has proved that, by providing the essential training and information in a single co­ordinated package, women have not only been able to take advantage of the credit on offer and succeed in generating the income to meet their family and household needs but have also been able to improve their economic, social and political positions, particularly in rural areas.

By Grace Mutenyo

Protecting teenage girls from HIVAIDS The role of the state and society in Tanzania Protecting teenage girls from HIVAIDS The role of the state and society in Tanzania

This essay discusses the cultural, social and economic issues contributing to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Tanzania – one of the greatest threats to the country’s development. The author outlines and evaluates the various ways the government has intervened to try to control the situation but she is particularly concerned about the vulnerability of the girl child in Tanzania. Cultural practices such as early marriages are still rampant and the school dropout rate is unacceptably high so, while Tanzania is signatory to international human rights legislation requiring governments to eliminate all harmful social and cultural practices, girls are still not adequately protected. Despite shifts in policy and new laws, like the Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act 1998, government efforts remain largely ineffective and the author recommends a more proactive, rigorous approach to the problem. She looks at the issue of young people’s access to information and suggests that a life skills education programme would be one way of empowering young people so they can make the right decisions about safe sex and their own reproductive health.

By Rose Teemba

Maintenance of ‘illegitimate children’ in Tanzania: A right or rhetoric? Maintenance of ‘illegitimate children’ in Tanzania: A right or rhetoric?

This paper examines the efficacy of the law providing for maintenance of non-marital children in Tanzania. It looks into the Affiliation Ordinance of 1949 and reveals its limitations in providing for maintenance of non-marital children. It demonstrates that the law is archaic and provides for inadequate maintenance to non-marital children. The paper discusses several limitations in the administration of justice by courts that adversely impacts on provision of maintenance to non-marital children. It shows that the operation of the law does not conform to provisions of the Constitution of Tanzania nor to various international human rights instruments guaranteeing the rights of the child which the country has ratified. The paper points out some factors such as the government’s lack of political will, socio-religious prejudices and ineffectual operation of non-governmental organizations in advocating for the rights of women and children, which account for the subordinate position of non-marital children and their mothers. The paper recommends that the government repeal the ordinance and enact new legislation providing for the rights which are similar to those contained in the international human rights instruments guaranteeing rights of the child. It is also recommended that the courts be provided with adequate resources to enable them to handle cases effectively and efficiently. The report recommends further that non-governmental organizations should re-think their role vis-a-vis protection of the rights of women and children, including non-marital children.

By Eugene Mniwasa

Legal discourse a postmodern feminist approach to legal and residually illegal sex with particular reference to transactional sex Legal discourse a postmodern feminist approach to legal and residually illegal sex with particular reference to transactional sex

This paper introduces the topic by outlining various approaches to feminism. The author finds no unitary form of feminism and concludes that the only common factor or motivation, apart from the obvious bio­physical community, is that women intend to be free from certain forms of male domination. But whether an approach seeks to eliminate negative discrimination or promote positive discrimination, she suggests that western feminism is not necessarily relevant to the liberation needs of various groupings of women in developing countries. Moving on to the postmodern position which locates human experience as inescapably within language, she suggests that feminists should not overlook the constructive function of legal language as a critical frontier for feminist reforms. Citing Frug and using her methodology, she examines the ‘language’ of law in a Zimbabwean context, to assess how legal discourse shapes gendered meanings of women. While analyzing the content and language of the laws surrounding prostitution, she recalls Frug’s claim that law constructs women as terrorized, sexualized and maternalized, and exposes the way in which these meanings are formed through the essentially male interpretation of the female state.

By Andrea Elizabeth Mercier

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