The international project on strengthening women’s rights by CARE Austria, which I travelled to Kathmandu in Nepal for in April 2015, was now taking me to the African continent and Uganda. A country which was still embroiled in a civil war 10 years ago and is still visibly shaped by the scars of this tense time today. Banks are guarded by security personnel with machine guns and the hotel’s security precautions are similar to those at the industrial nations’ summit meetings.

In contrast to Nepal, the hardships of this trip well and truly pushed me to my limits this time. Once I’d arrived in the depths of the province, flowing water and electricity were just sporadic treats. The heat during the day was almost unbearable, the cold well water in the province was not really a good alternative for my European stomach, leaving us with just heated up water to take on our long car journey. The catering was not any better, a chicken that passed us five minutes beforehand on a moped’s luggage rack with its head bobbing between the wheel’s spokes was presented to us whole a little bit later as a “soup”. My travelling companions from CARE Austria, considerably more experienced and toughened up, kept a straight face while eating it, while I personally just ate rice for days.

It was fascinating for me to see how the CARE projects were bearing fruits here and the women have a clear and noticeably important role in everyday life in the country’s most remote corners. They are integrating themselves into a leading role in agriculture, are allowed to own and manage land and are even politically involved in the community now. A situation that would have been inconceivable 5 years ago. Women’s self-empowerment is spreading through all areas. Dance, drama is very important in the women’s free time and a specially rehearsed play was to illustrate to us the development here thanks to the women’s empowerment projects.

The passion, joy and love as well as the hard work, effort and also the risk of self-empowerment provide a positive vision of the future where Uganda and Nepal continue to develop and the days when women’s rights were not respected are now a thing of the past.

To know more about Alexander von Wiedenbeck’s work, please visit his official website.