Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA)

Feminist Leadership Development

I was the National Mental Health Coordinator, Ministry of Health in Uganda during AWLI. I was also working at ACFODE, Association of Uganda Women Medical Doctors, and Hope After Rape. At that time, I had an (MB CH B) with a Masters in (MMed Psychiatry). Since AWLI I have changed professionally and personally. I am currently working for the World Bank, Washington DC as well as Makerere University School of Public Health and I live in Uganda. In addition, I am a Welcome Trust Research Fellow, Makerere University School of Public Health/London School of Economics and Political Science, a member of the World  Psychiatric Association,World Federation for Mental Health, Children and War Foundation and Board Chairperson, Trans-cultural Psychosocial Organisation. I have added an MSc HPPF to my professional qualifications. I was at the AWLI in January 1988 with the objectives of personal empowerment, to understand gender issues much better and to see how to integrate gender into health.

AWLI was able to empower me in a number of ways; I learnt to accept personal decisions that are not necessarily in conformity with societal norms. An example of which is the difficulty I faced coming to terms with a marriage breakdown due to domestic violence. After the AWLI I was able to deal with it and accept that it was not my fault but a necessary step for my mental wellbeing and the psychological protection of my children.

Soon after the AWLI, I was able to lobby and include mental health as a priority in Uganda’s First Health Policy, one huge achievement, not many countries have been able to do.