In the Lango tradition, women and girls were not allowed to eat certain types of food such as eggs, milk, meat and chicken, despite the fact that the women prepared the food and served it to their husbands.
‘The first 27 years I spent in marriage,’Grace narrated, ‘I had never eaten chicken; and since my husband was a village clan chief, he was very strict on following the traditional cultural norms, with claims that if he went against them his ancestors would get so angry with him. I would therefore cook chicken and serve the whole of it to my husband, who shared it with our three sons. As time went on, my six daughters became increasingly uncomfortable with the practice and each time they talked to their father about it, he responded to them that they can’t change tradition.
‘One evening, we tuned into Radio Divine and listened to an ACFODE programme in which the panellists were discussing the eradication of the negative socio-cultural practices that violate the rights of women and girls. Among them was the practice of denying women and girls the right to eat certain foods, for example chicken. The panellists on the talk show consisted of the ACFODE Field Officer, Moses Otwang, a police officer and a clan leader.’
After listening to the talk show, Grace and her daughters gained the courage to re-engage Patrick, Grace’s husband, about the issue of eating chicken. His response was still negative. Fortunately, Patrick was invited by ACFODE to participate in the community meeting with leaders of socio-cultural institutions, in Akokoro sub-county headquarters. The meeting aimed at discussing how to eradicate negative socio-cultural practices that discriminate against women and girls.
Patrick narratesthat during the meeting, ‘I was shocked to hear my fellow clansmen speaking against denying women the right to certain foods, including chicken. I bitterly confronted them about their intention to change the Lango tradition. Their response to me was that such tradition was outdated and violates the rights of women and girls and so needs to change. I felt so challenged and ashamed. That same evening, I returned home and requested my wife to slaughter and prepare the fattest chicken, which we atetogether as a family.’
‘That night was the best night for me and my daughters. Tasting chicken the very first time in our lives was a dream come true for us. I thank ACFODE for changing my husband; he was so rigidly set against change,’ Grace testified with excitement.