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Nothing as Beautiful as Working for Women’s Land Rights

Eunice Nabakwa shapes land rights policy to create meaningful change for the women of Uganda

I realized I could make a big contribution by getting into government

When I was young I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer. But of course my perception of being a lawyer, I was thinking of being maybe a judicial officer like a judge, or maybe go to court and start litigating - so that was my vision when I was young. But of course, when I grew up, looking at the communities, how the poor people in the communities really need help, I started growing passion for helping communities. And of course I knew I could help them by going into court to litigate but going through law school and emm…living with the communities…I realized I could make a big contribution by getting into government, getting to influence laws and policies, make sure that I bend – in case there is an opportunity to draft the laws, to draft the policies that can help the communities to secure their rights or maybe claim whatever properties they have. So, realizing that government was the best place for me to do this, I decided to join the Ministry of Lands.

I want to cook the laws

I don’t feel like I should go to court to litigate because in court it’s like you wait for the problem to happen and then go to use the laws that are already in place to litigate – no. I want to be in the kitchen. I want to cook the laws and make sure that once these laws are applied we can get an outcome that is favourable for all.

As an individual, you can contribute, you can influence

I am very excited because I see it working and I see the power of…I see how you as an individual, you can contribute, you can influence, you can give these lawyers who are in court – you can give them the laws that you want to be applied. So there is nothing better than that for me.

I look for solutions in the community

Once you get involved with working with the communities themselves, you keep going, you keep going like…every day you get to the field you discover new challenges or new good things, and then you are with these people who are actually living the experience. You are talking to them, you are looking for solutions together. They tell you what they want and as a lawyer or as a land administrator you get to sit down and say, “What does the legal framework say? How can we change? How can we do this?” So for me it has been a very, very wonderful experience, I really love my work. I love the work that I do.

There is nothing very beautiful like the work I do

For us it’s just like a lady who gets pregnant and goes through the nine months and then sees herself deliver a baby: that’s how the process of land registration is. So you begin the process and finally you see yourself ending the process, so there is nothing very beautiful like the work that I do.

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