Bride Price Poverty and Domestic Violence in Uganda

This research on Bride Price was done in Uganda and touched on Domestic Violence, Child Marriage, poverty and early or forced marriage.

The researchers included Professor Gill Hague, Dr. Ravi Thiara, Atuki Turner and MIFUMI.

This research was An International Collaboration between MIFUMI Uganda, Violence Against Women Research Group, University of Bristol, UK and The Centre for the Study of Safety and Well-being, University of Warwick, UK. It was generously funded by the British Academy, UK.

The full Bride Price Poverty and Domestic Violence in Uganda report can be downloaded

Conclusion

The study found a mix of positive and negative impacts of bride-price on individuals, families and communities, and mainly negative impacts in terms of development. These included gender inequality, early or forced marriage, and both landlessness and homelessness for women (including widows).

While both domestic violence and entrenched poverty were clearly identified as the over-riding issues, bride-price made both worse. Thus, findings of the research revealed significant inter- connections between:

  • Bride-price and domestic violence.

  • Bride-price and impoverishment.

Some connections were also identified with increased HIV infection.

As the first rigorous research investigation into the practice of bride-price in rural Uganda, using a participatory approach, this study raises important issues for consideration for those seeking to address its negative impacts. Clearly, the research findings highlight both positive and negative outcomes of the traditional cultural practice in the contemporary context. While consideration has to be given to its important role in the enaction of cultural traditions, overwhelmingly, respondents of this study suggested that the practice of bride-price required reform.

Furthermore, if the reform of bride-price is to be carried out, five main routes emerged from the research findings:

  • Legislative reform at government level.

  • Policy reform through government initiatives and civil society.

  • Legislative and policy reform at the local level, e.g. through the Tororo District Bridal Gifts Ordinance.

  • Educational initiatives in the education system.

  • Community awareness raising and sensitisation.

While progress may be slow in effecting the reforms highlighted by the research, though some have already taken place, it is hoped that this research will help to inform and act as a catalyst for future action and change, not only across Uganda but also in other parts of Africa.