How a Hairdresser Became an Advocate for Women's Land Rights in Uganda
Updated: Mar 9
In Moyo District, Anzoyo Sunday listens to an Amplio Talking Book with her farmer field school to learn about women's land rights, gender roles, and shared decision making. She's also sharing knowledge with clients at her salon.
Like other rural women in Moyo District, Uganda, Anzoyo Sunday, a 36-year-old hairdresser, has struggled to access and cultivate land to farm. Uganda's Constitution and Land Act grant men and women the same status and rights. But women still face barriers, including complex marriage and inheritance laws, customary practices, gender bias, low literacy, and a widespread lack of knowledge on women's land rights.
And even when woman farmers like Anzoyo do get access to land, they often face tremendous social pressure to relinquish it—including threats of violence.
Sensitization on Gender Roles and Women's Land Rights
Since last July, Amplio has been partnering with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Uganda on pilot project to sensitive rural communities in the West Nile region on women's land rights. The Amplio Talking Book was selected as an inclusive and gender-responsive digital solution to reach and engage communities. The devices are shared by farmers groups and rotated among households. Community facilitators also use Talking Books to conduct "town hall" meetings.
Sharing agricultural knowledge and information is an FAO priority. To that end, the Talking Book audio content includes information on women's legal land rights, such as how to acquire a land title. But to fully empower women, families and communities also need to be on board. So, Amplio took an edutainment approach, using social and behavior change communication strategies to create engaging content that also addresses social and cultural barriers. For the FAO Uganda pilot, the Talking Book content includes songs, dramas, and interviews about gender roles, and the value of shared decision making. Messages are recorded in Ma'di, a Central Sudanic language spoken in Adjumani and Moyo districts, where the project is taking place.
Sharing Knowledge and Consulting on Land Issues
Anzoyo listens to Talking Book messages with her farmer field school, a group of 24 women and six men. Participants can also borrow the device to listen to at home.
What's really impressive is how Anzoyo is leveraging her work as a hairdresser to help spread awareness about women's land rights and gender equality. Anzoyo listens to the Talking Book with friends who come to her beauty salon to get their hair plaited. As her knowledge has grown so has her status, both in her family and her community.
"Women can play important roles on issues concerning land. It's a myth that land belongs to man. In my family, I no longer rent land from neighbors because I was given two hectares to farm. Now I am consulted, too," Anzoyo shared.
With new confidence and more income, Anzoyo also has new goals, such as expanding her business and constructing a permanent house. "I've learned about the importance of working in groups, and that women should be involved in family decision making. When men and women work together, we can save for the future."
The Importance of Gender Equity
Anzoyo's words are a powerful reminder that gender equity and economic stability are inextricably linked. When you economically empower women farmers, you make a positive impact for families and rural communities, now and for the future.
Learn more about our collaboration with FAO Uganda.
To request an Amplio Talking Book demo or learn how Amplio can partner with you on a rural development project for social and behavior change, contact us here.