Long Essays

This is a collection of Reasearch Papers done by Upgraders.

Papers List

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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

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 HIV:AIDS problem and customary marriages among the Baganda in Uganda: The HIV:AIDS problem and customary marriages among the Baganda in Uganda:

The Baganda are the largest ethnic group in Uganda and are based in the southern part where Kampala City is located. This paper focuses on customary marriages, norms and vulnerability to HIV/AIDS infection within this group. It discusses the social and cultural determinants that can predispose married people to HIV infection through high-risk behaviour. It discusses briefly the ideological basis for customary law and adopts a social-legal perspective of legal pluralism. This paper aims to highlight some areas of customary law marriage that are risky and in need of reform due to the problem of HIV/AIDS and discusses the complexity of sexual behaviour and the vulnerability of wives. It is intended to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on the promotion of mutual and responsible behaviour in marriage and to generate debate on other aspects of behaviour that may not be covered by this brief. It is primarily based on qualitative research I conducted through in-depth interviews with married men and women and focus group discussions, for a post-graduate diploma in women’s law.

By Christopher Martin Madrama Izama

The perception and application of international law within the domestic arena – the paradigm shift The perception and application of international law within the domestic arena – the paradigm shift

This essay analyses the extent to which international provisions as enshrined in CEDAW and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights have been applied by the courts to protect the human rights of women in Kenya. While Kenyan courts do not generally apply these laws, recently a few courts have recognized the importance of international law in the interpretation of domestic law to protect women’s human rights. The author cites a number of relevant cases, including the Dow v Attorney General and Longwe v Intercontinental Hotels cases, to show that judges are beginning to recognize the importance of Kenya’s commitment to this legislation. International law is not self­executing and special measures have to be taken to make it applicable and enforceable but no such provisions have been made for its general application in the municipal legal system of Kenya. The author points out that the judiciary and lawyers in Kenya need to be trained to use international law within the domestic arena and judges need to be sensitive, bold, creative and innovative in implementing and enforcing international law. Training is ongoing under the jurisprudence of equality programme and, with the Kenyan constitution now under scrutiny with a view to eliminating the current anomalies, there is a chance that the scenario will change and international law will be implemented at the domestic level in Kenya.

By Ruth Aura Odhiambo

Underplaying women’s sexuality to control women– the case of polygyny Underplaying women’s sexuality to control women– the case of polygyny

This essay is an analysis of how women’s sexuality is played out in polygynous unions by showing that women are not actors, nor are they decision-makers over their bodies and sexuality. The analysis is based on research I carried out for the Women’s Law Diploma, (Nzira, 1995) and uses the sexual and rights framework as defined by the women’s coalition to the Cairo and Beijing conferences as well as the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to show how the Zimbabwe law discriminates against women in polygynous unions, as well as the impact of the institution in the spread of HIV/AIDS. As feminists have shown that women’s bodies are sites for male dominance, the purpose of the essay is to call on gender activists and/or feminists to bring the issue of women’s sexuality to the fore otherwise talking about women’s empowerment will remain an academic exercise as men will continue to control women’s sexuality as a means of keeping women down.

By Tsitsi Masenda-Nzira

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