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A woman from Uganda is fighting for her rights after enduring a lifetime of suffering.
Africa World News

A woman from Uganda is fighting for her rights after enduring a lifetime of suffering.

Angela Muhindo interviewed UN Women for the first part of a two-part series discussing the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, observed every year from November 25th to December 10th, which also coincides with Human Rights Day.

She stated that her life has been filled with suffering as she looked out at the lush surroundings of Kasese, where she grew up in the western part of Uganda. She added that in her society, women have limited authority, and those with disabilities are even more susceptible to being taken advantage of.

Ms. Muhindo, who has had a physical disability since childhood, said she has faced violence and exclusion throughout her life. Such treatment is the norm for many women and girls with disabilities, she said, noting that they also face challenges accessing education, employment and health care. 

Throughout the world, females with disabilities have a significantly higher risk of experiencing violence compared to other women, with the likelihood being two to three times greater.

According to Ms. Muhindo, there is a belief that individuals with disabilities cannot marry or have children, and that they will always be dependent on their parents for care and support.

Inheritance dispute

After the passing of her parents, a disagreement arose regarding the division of their assets, leading to a series of events that significantly altered her way of life as an individual with a disability.

She reported feeling intimidated and threatened by her male family members regarding her inheritance, and expressed a sense of powerlessness in standing up for herself.

In Uganda, conflicts over land ownership can lead to acts of violence based on gender. It is not uncommon for widows and children to be forced out of their homes after the passing of a husband or father, or during a separation.

This has a dual impact – it can result in the use of force to remove women from their property, leaving them without a home or land for farming, making them more susceptible to future violence.

In order to gain a deeper comprehension of her entitlements, she participated in a training program backed by the Spotlight Initiative and facilitated by the National Union of Women with Disabilities Uganda in partnership with UN Women.

During the course, she acquired knowledge about inheritance laws and discovered that she was the only rightful inheritor of the property. This gave her the courage to confront her family members.

She expressed that despite having disabilities, she is capable of doing the same things as anyone else. She can use her voice and make purchases, as well as hold a job.

Disputes over land ownership can lead to violence.

WFP/Marco Frattini

Conflicts arising from disputes over land ownership can result in physical altercations.

Advocating for others

After more than a year of effort, Ms. Muhindo has successfully obtained ownership of the land. This has provided her with a secure residence, a source of sustenance through growing crops, and a means of income. Additionally, she uses her platform to support and empower other women in her community, specifically those with disabilities, and raises awareness about gender-based violence through a local radio program.

She expressed her desire to spare other women from experiencing what she had gone through.

The objective of the Spotlight Initiative is to eradicate violence against females and young women by implementing comprehensive programs that target all major factors.

This involves enhancing laws and regulations to prevent violence, bolstering institutions, advocating for gender-equal societal norms, and fortifying women’s movements and necessary resources for those who have experienced violence.


United Nations


Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls – one of the sustainable development goals (SDG 5).

  • Stop all forms of discrimination and violence against females, regardless of their age or circumstances.

  • Get rid of destructive customs like child marriages and female circumcision.

  • Revise and fortify laws to advance gender parity and empower females of all ages.

  • “Guarantee that women have equal opportunities and actively participate in leadership roles in politics, economics, and the public sector.”

  • Guaranteeing equal availability of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for all individuals.

Globally, nearly 50% of currently married women do not have authority to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

‘I felt empowered’

Spotlight Initiative and UN Women collaborate with grassroots organizations to combat discriminatory beliefs and provide assistance to individuals in vulnerable situations or facing violence. Thanks to the support of the Spotlight Initiative, over 300,000 individuals in Uganda have participated in community programs focused on promoting women’s rights since 2019.

UN Women has also supported advocacy to change legislation that advantaged male children in inheritance and land issues. In March 2021, Uganda’s Parliament passed the Succession (Amendment) Bill, formally recognizing the equal rights of women to own land.

Ms. Muhindo shares that she used to feel uneasy about voicing her thoughts, but the training gave her a sense of confidence and empowerment.

  • The United Nations and the European Union, along with other partners, have joined forces to launch the global Spotlight Initiative, aimed at eradicating violence against women and girls.

  • The Government of Uganda, the European Union, UN Women, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, and UNHCR work together with OHCHR, IOM, UN Pulse Lab, and civil society to implement programs in Uganda related to reproductive health, children, development, refugees, human rights, and migration.

  • The Spotlight Initiative has provided aid to approximately one million females in Uganda since 2019, enabling them to receive necessary resources.