Programme: COMMON MATTERS - CSO Partner: UWONET (Uganda Women’s Network)
The purpose of the Marriage and Divorce Bill is to ensure equal rights for men and women in marriage, during separation, and at divorce. It also seeks to protect property rights of persons in cohabiting relationships.These rights are often violated and in particular those of women. In 2013, the Bill was tabled in the 9th Parliament and only 20 of the 178 clauses passed. Opponents argued that the purpose of this Bill is to protect only women and that it encourages couples to file for divorce. These misconceptions still exist among policy makers and within communities. Therefore, the campaign aimed to increase a fact-based discussion on the Marriage and Divorce Bill, both among citizens and duty bearers.
What we did
Three Trac FM poll questions informed focused talk-shows on nine radio stations throughout Uganda and attracted nearly 13,000 individual responses. The findings of the poll questions are depicted on the next page. The results of the polls were used in a variety of stakeholder meetings attended by the members of the Marriage and Divorce Bill coalition, which largely comprises of CSO partners; duty bearers and ers from the Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC). During the campaign, it was evident that the majority of listeners still thought the bill was about either promoting divorce or only beneficial to women opened up the debate on the bad reputation of the bill.
UWONET and its coalition, therefore, submitted a request at the ULRC to change the name. With the findings from the campaign, they were able to convince the Commission to change the name into “The Marriage Bill”.
"The discussions teach me and teach others. The issue of conjugal rights was truly eye-opening, I understand now that someone might not want to engage in sexual intercourse because she or he has justifiable reasons such as poor health." - Bymukama, 27yr old participant