My Journey

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Posted September 17, 2015 from Uganda

My name is Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi and i come from Kampala, Uganda. I am the first born ina family of six children. growing up as a young girl i was very confident and a very playful child. I actually dont know how my nunrsery and primary teachers managed to handle me.

My life took a drastic turn in 1997 on the 16th of May when my father was murdered in cold blood. He was a very famous rally driver. The murder scene was tampered with and as a result a commission into inquiry was set up and his case was one of the cases that was discussed. However to date the recommedations in the report have never been implemented.

As a young girl i always told my dad that i wanted to be a medical doctor and a musician at the same time, thats how playful i was. But when i lost my dad i deceided to become a lawyer. Through out law school i realised i was not as audible as my colleagues. I enjoyed reading the cases and doing reserach. After lawschool i worked in various law firms but still i knew that there was something lacking in my life.

In 2009 after i got married my drop dead gorgeous husband, i got a job with a national Non-governmental organisation that advocates for the rights of marginalized workers. I reaslied that this was my calling in life. Helping and representing marginalized communities. However i realised that there is so much work that needs to be done with these communities espcially when with the women and girls.

Women are still margalinalized and yet they are the backbone of tha family. In Buikwe district where we are based and doing our famring i have met with many women who face gender based violence and girls who have dropped out of school due to lack of school fees and as a result have married at a very early age.

The biggest challenge that i face with this community is that the women beleive that is the way life is and they are not willing to change their mind set.

I am trying to have talks and trainings with these women so that they are able to understand and appreciate the impoatance of girl child education as well as the importanc eof economic empowerment.

These women are engaged in agricultural activitis but they are doing this mostly for subsistence. Through these trainings we would like to educate these women that if they come together as a group they can form an assoication where they are able to do commerical farming and we link them to the relevant markets where they get good prices for their produce.

I have found that the internet is very resouceful and most of the information and networks that i build i find on the internet. I beleive that i will be able to improve the lives of the people in my community with the help of internet.

Comments 19

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zizou
Sep 18, 2015
Sep 18, 2015

Dear Anita 

It's really amazing how life takes something away from you and gives you something else. your father's death ( god bless his soul) was a motivation for you to start fighting for a noble cause . I encourage you to continue what you are doing and i wish you all the success :)

warmly ,

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Sep 22, 2015
Sep 22, 2015

Thank you so much Zeineb. I love what I do and it's comments like this that give me the strength and motivation to move on. Thank you so much and God bless you.

Mkandeh
Sep 18, 2015
Sep 18, 2015

Hi Anita,

I am inspired by your hard work, especially your blending of legal work and farming and your relentless efforts to take on the course of marginalised women. I do share your concern on the need for the education of the girl child. I think the problem is the same in all developing countries. It is similar to what occurs in Sierra Leone, particularly in the provinces. families just do not see child marriage as a deterrent to the progress of girls and society as a whole. Instead they believe early marriage brings success to the girl child's life but in practice this has not been the case.

Yet with our combined efforts accross our different loations, I believe we will one day witness an end to this practice.

Many thanks for raising this issue in your wonderful journey.

Best of luck to you.

M

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Sep 22, 2015
Sep 22, 2015

Thank you so much Kandeh for your kind words. It has not been a easy journey and there is a long road ahead of us. But I always know that one day our efforts will be recognised. Thank you my sister for the encouragement.

Damilola Fasoranti
Sep 18, 2015
Sep 18, 2015

Hello Anita,

One of my Ugandan friends told me that your name "Muhanguzi" means Victory. I can sense your large heart toward helping your community achieve success and victory in their daily activities and especially the women. You have such a generous heart.

I can also see how the incidence of your dad's death pushed you towards standing in gap for other people going through the same challenge that you faced. Your effort is very commendable.

I also agree with your point that the internet is a huge resource to build networks, learn, share and deploy for community development.

Keep up this great work and all the best.

Hearty Cheers, Fasoranti.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Sep 22, 2015
Sep 22, 2015

Thank you so much my brother. Muhanguzi is actually my husband's name. I guess it is a sign from God that I will be a Victor. With people like you am sure we can make this world a much better place. God bless you.

Tejaswini Tilak
Sep 19, 2015
Sep 19, 2015

Hello Anita, 

Your story is very inspiring! It sounds like you were ambitious and self-driven even as a little girl. It is great that you did not let your personal tragedy get in the way of achieving your dreams - in fact the path you have chosen, that of being a lawyer and representing other women, is changing lives for the better everyday. 

What you say about women believing in a certain way of life, not realizing that things can be different, resonates with me. You are clearly leading by example. Every single mindset that you change, whether that of a man or woman, will have a positive ripple effect in your community. 

I wonder if you find men in the community starting to understand the importance of girl's education? It would be great to hear about their participation. 

Keep up your optimism! It is infectious.

All the best & regards, Tejaswini

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Sep 19, 2015
Sep 19, 2015

Hi Tejaswini, Thank you for your lovely comments. Yes men in our community are appreciating the importance of the girl child education. However the percentage is still very small but we know with time we shall more men supporting women and girls.

I believe change is a process and with time we shall surely get there.

Thank my sister and am sure we shall have fruitful discussions.

Tami ssa
Sep 21, 2015
Sep 21, 2015

Dear Anita, Your story is amazing.  You have a lot of strength and courage. Thank you for sharing with us! Is incredible to see how women suffer from different opportunities to study, living and prosper, just because of the fact of being women, we must change that!  I think that a woman like you, inspires women to try to make the difference in their lives and in their communities, i cant hide, i am inspired!

Thank you!

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Sep 22, 2015
Sep 22, 2015

Thank you Santos. It's takes our strength as a community to change the world. Thank you so much for your kind words and am sure we are going to learn from each other. God bless you.

Elvire
Sep 22, 2015
Sep 22, 2015

Hello, Anita!

It is wonderful, what you are doing: when we invest our time, energy, other resources in something we do with passion and enthusiasm, it is not just a job or a career! I am glad you took the best out of the tragedy you faced.

It is a shame that people still continue to believe that investing in a girl's education is a waste of resources. I have seen it so many times! Some even say the more education a girl gets, the fewer her chances of having a husband. And unfortunately, changing the mindset is like an uphill task.

But you should not relent; how ever long it may take, change will happen. Some outcomes you may never be aware of, but the more people hear of what is possible, of what is working well in other places, the more they will reflect and take some steps. 

One key thing I have seen in this vision building in sub saharan Africa is giving examples of succss stories and so removing the fear of the unknown, removing the thought that those who decide to embark on the new way are pioneers. Usually, when people hear that others have tried and done well, it gives a bit of assurance.

How is this being echoed at the level of country leaders?

Wish you the best.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Sep 22, 2015
Sep 22, 2015

Thank You Elvire for your lovely comment. Indeed we still have a big battle ahead of us but what is very important is we are alive and are passionate about change. At the level of leaders there is a lot that has been changed but the biggest problem is implementation of many of these policies and laws. What I have realised its the mindset of the people that needs to be changed, nothing else. Talking and constantly showing our community members support proves to them that we care. That is why when I started farming with my husband I decided that we needed to do something for our community. Thank you so much and am looking forward to interacting with you on this great platform. Cheers and stay blessed.

Tamara Kubacki
Sep 23, 2015
Sep 23, 2015

Dear Anita,

You are an inspiration. It is not easy to turn tragedy outwards into hope and determination, but you seem to have done it with grace. Thank you for sharing your story--your strength and commitment will break through some of the walls of the "old ways" so the women in the communities you help, and around the world, will be happier and healthier.  

I'm glad to read in the comments that you feel positive about how leaders and men are becoming open to changing. You are 100% correct that talking and support is the most important.

I hope you find time to indulge the playful side of your personality. Farming and trainings must take up so much time! Thank you for changing the world. I am interested to learn more about your journey, and I can't wait to read more from you.

Sincerely,

Tamara

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Sep 24, 2015
Sep 24, 2015

Thanks Tamara. I surely find time to play and enjoy life. I have been working with communities for a long time. When I started working with them I made it my life and I got drained. Then I decided i needed time for me to relax so I can keep this fire burning. I love working with people but I have also learnt to have me time. Thank you for the support and am sure we shall learn a lot from each other. God bless

Emily V
Sep 29, 2015
Sep 29, 2015

Hello Anita, thanks so much for sharing your story, and to your commitment to working with NGOs and helping marginalized workers.  I was struck especially by your comment that the biggest challenge you face with working with women who are marginalized  is  that "the women believe that is the way life is and they are not willing to change their mind set. "  Because of that, it seems so  worthwhile that you are there providing a positive role model.  You are showing by example that women don't have to be "less than" and deserve the same education and opportunities as boys and men, and this is the proof that it takes to change the minds of those very people you are advocating for!  Keep up the good work, -Emily  

Kristina M
Sep 30, 2015
Sep 30, 2015

Dear Anita,

Thank you for sharing how you were motivated by your family tragedy to change your career projection and find your calling in life.  I wish you the best in continuing to try to change the women's mindset in your community so they can see all of the opportunities that they and their daughters can go after.

zizou
Oct 01, 2015
Oct 01, 2015

Dear Anita

I ve commented your post before and here i'm reading it again and reading the comments. i see that sharing your journey with this community is paying and encouraging you to go further, women must stick together to acheive our goals and to have an impact on people around us i salute the courage and the determination in you . People like you are those who make the world a better place .

vrclark
Oct 02, 2015
Oct 02, 2015

Dear Anita,

Isn't it amazing what paths our life journey takes us on?

You had to have been cherished as a playful child full of energy and dreams to be a musicisn AND a doctor, and to have the strength and spirit to endure the tragic loss of your father.

I am a survivor of sexual and domestic abuse, and my career has focused on working with underserved populations, particularly those with disability.  I understand the power in reaching the girl child with information ~ education!

Your compassion and mission to reach women, and importantly the girl child, will bring light to their path and widen their perspective of what "choice" there can be. Particularly in marginalized populations.  With this, a cultural paradigm shift is possible.  Even if girls and women are not ready to "hear" what you have to share with them, you are "planting a seed" for furture awareness and application of change to sprout!

Your words, says it all, Anita. This is the ultimate conundrum women face in many communties:

Women are still margalinalized and yet they are the backbone of tha family.  The biggest challenge that i face with this community is that the women beleive that is the way life is and they are not willing to change their mind set.

This IS a major road block. This is why education of the girl child is essential if change is to happen.

You ARE making a difference, Anita, and the change will come. Keep talking and planting the seeds of awareness. The change the world needs to see will not happen without women like you! Heartfelt thanks.

Veronica 

Jael
Nov 17, 2015
Nov 17, 2015

Hello Anita,

What a wonderful story of hope, courage and dertermination that is paying off in a big way to the women and girls of your community.

I love hearing such powerful testimonies of women like you who have not allowed even pain and hardship to stop them from achieving thier purpose in Life.

I feel encouraged and am sure your community is blessed and happy to have you as a role model.

Keep up the good work and enjoy the help of God in expanding your work to all that require help.

We are proud of you.

Jael

Kenya