By Aluma Clement
Arua- Village saving associations (VSAs) are fast becoming major sources of domestic violence among communities in the district, community leaders have revealed.
While the intention is to encourage savings culture and promote community empowerment, a section of its members are misusing the schemes and punishing their spouses in the process.
Leaders of community based organizations under the Prevention plus Project of Reproductive Health Uganda in Arua reported last week that the improved economic status has instead led to violence in homes.
One of the survivors, who requested to have only one name, Richard, said: “My wife turned into something else after our wedding. She went into borrowing spree from various saving groups without my knowledge and putting our marital house as security. I discovered this when one morning I saw group members coming to attach the house.” Richard lamented.
But Susan Driwaru, a resident of Jakoyia village in Pajulu Sub-county said some of the husbands were equally sending them to borrow from the savings associations and failing to pay in the process.
“My husband sent me to borrow money from the two groups where I belong, after giving him the money, he said he was taking his merchandise to Juba, South Sudan, only to hear after three months that he was staying in a lodge in Arua town,” Driwaru said.
The Arua municipality principle community development Officer, Judith Drate, admitted the problem but said a lot of sensitization is needed. “We receive many complains of domestic violence related to VSAs unfortunately they are not officially registered. They happen almost daily but the victims prefer to settle it at that level, others involve lots of physical violence against the spouses,” Drate said.
Micah Avubieng, the district community development officer attributed the violence in homes to bad cultural norms which forbids women from saying no to men’s’ demands.
Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) in partnership with Sonke Gender Justice is implementing the project “Prevention partnering with Men to end gender based violence (GBV) in three districts of Arua, Bushenyi and Kapchorwa.