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INTERVIEW: Jacqueline Asiimwe on finding her human rights calling early

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As early as primary seven Jacqueline Asiimwe Mwesige started realising what she would finally be – a rights activist. She recalls starting to think about how she could help children caught up in wrong doing after a guest speaker from Kampiringisa juvenile detention facility told their P.7 class stories of children in conflict with the law. Even when she joined Gayaza High School a year later, she decided she wanted to do law.

But she shied from talking about it.

“In S.3 when my parents asked me what I wanted to be,” she recalls, “I said I wanted to be a doctor just to please them.

“There is something in me that stirred whenever there was injustice,” she says.

At university she joined a women rights organisation FIDA as a volunteer and working as an advocacy officer at another women’s organisation Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET). She became awake to how many women silently grapple with issues of maintenance, domestic violence, and rape.

She now works with a law consultancy firm where she mostly deals with human rights issues; especially advocating for women’s rights.
Recently, she participated in the ‘Black Monday’ campaign; an initiative by several civil society organisations to tackle corruption in the country. According to Asiimwe this was an awakening call for people to act and show anger about a vice that goes on with impunity.
Jacqueline Asiimwe Mwesige’s lite side

Any three things we don’t know about you?
I am a very shy person and it’s something I have to overcome again and again. I also battle a lot with internal fear for I sometimes feel like I am not as good as people assume I am.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness would be when people are free to be who they are and to do what they enjoy doing without fear that they may be punished when they do.

What is your greatest fear?
The fear of not getting up when I’ve fallen

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I can be very impatient when things are not going the way I think they should go but I also feel it shouldn’t be all about me.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
People who are sloppy with time. I am a very time conscious person. I was taught both at home and through school that you are on time all the time and if you can’t make it on time you communicate.

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