16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender Based Violence

 Pupils form Kitayungwa celebrating after the Gilrtakeover activity in their school

MINISTRY OF GENDER, LABOR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

THEME: “FROM PEACE IN THE HOME TO PEACE IN THE NATION: Male Engagement for the Safety of Women and Girls”.

1.0 Introduction
The 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender Based Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. The dates November 25th (which is International Day of Violence Against Women) to December 10th (the International Human Rights Day) were chosen as an awareness period to eliminate gender based violence.
The 16-days period also highlights other significant dates which include November 29th, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day and December 1st , World AIDS Day.
Every year Uganda joins the rest of the world to mark this noble campaign with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development at the helm of coordination since 2008. It is an important time to galvanize action to address GBV in all its forms.
The Campaign has been used as an advocacy and mobilization strategy with the following objectives:
1. Raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the family, community, national, regional and international levels;
2. Strengthening family and local initiatives to end GBV;
3. Establishing a clear link between national and international initiatives to end GBV;
4. Providing a forum in which stakeholders can develop and share new and effective strategies;
5. Demonstrating the solidarity of women and men around the world in addressing issues of GBV;
6. Lobbying governments to implement commitments made to eliminate GBV.
The national theme; “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the Nation: Male engagement for the safety of women and girls” was selected basing on the approach Government has adopted to focus on the participation of men and boys for social norm change
2.0 Gender Based Violence
Gender Based Violence (GBV) in all its forms, remains a critical human rights, public health and economic concern with severe, long term negative impacts on the physical, reproductive and mental well-being of the survivors, families and communities.
GBV disproportionately affects women and girls and violence against women is one of the most systematic, wide spread human rights violation globally as well as in Uganda. Up to 56% of Ugandan women according to UDHS 2016 have experienced physical violence and more than 1 in 5 women aged 15-49 years (22%) report that they have experienced sexual violence at some point committed by an intimate partner compared to the 8% men. Other forms of GBV such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage are also still prevalent although as a result of the laws in place, FGM is now reported at 1% of women aged 14-49 years among some communities that practice it.
Incidences of GBV are mainly rooted in the cultural norms (patriarchal structure) that assign different roles, social norms and values to men and women in ways that perpetuate male dominance and female subordination leading to unequal power relations in families and the community.
In addition, domestic violence against women at house hold levels is in most cases economically motivated, either due to the tensions arising from scarcity of resources and income to meet the basic necessities such as food, school fees and health care.

 Pupil of Buwanume pose with the placard 

2.1 Government efforts to prevent and respond to GBV
Government of Uganda has registered significant progress towards prevention and response to GBV. The legal system in place has played a significant role in addressing GBV. For example in Article 33 (3) of the Constitution ,the State commits to promote rights of women and equal dignity with men as well as outlawing laws, cultural practices and customs that promote GBV occurrences. The laws in place that operationalize the Constitutional provisions in regard to GBV include the Domestic Violence Act 2010 and its Regulations 2011; The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2010 and its Regulations, The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act 2009 and the Penal Code Act, Cap 120.
There are also policies and frameworks to prevent and respond to GBV and these include: The National Policy on Elimination of Gender Based Violence in Uganda (2016) and its National Action Plan 2016-2021; The National Action Plan on Women (2008); The National Male Involvement Strategy for Prevention and Response to GBV (2017); The National Guide lines on the Establishment and Management of Shelters and the National Referral Pathway for Prevention and Response (2013).
Important to note is that The National Policy on Elimination of Gender Based Violence in Uganda (2016) as one of its guiding principles calls for specific promotion of male involvement as a strategy to enhance community participation in prevention and response to GBV.
Other interventions in place include:
• Development of the GBV National Database
• Community mobilization and awareness rising about GBV,FGM, property inheritance, national campaigns against child abuse.
• Engagement of cultural, traditional and religious leaders
• Promoting male involvement in the prevention and response to GBV.
• Building capacity of key stakeholders e.g Police Force, UPDF, Health, Education and Judiciary.
• Working with male survivors of GBV in conflict and post conflict settings. For instance “Men of Hope” for counseling and providing conducive environment for men experiencing GBV to open up.
• The promotion of the “He For She” Campaign as a strategy under the support of UN Women to draw on men and boys to support women and girls in the prevention of GBV.
Despite the enormous efforts by Government and the stake holders to prevent and respond to GBV, male engagement /involvement remains scanty and thus the need to scale up the policies and programmes in prevention and response to GBV.

 Pupil of Buwanume pose with the placard 

3.0 Rationale for Male engagement for the safety of women and girls.
3.1 Gender Based Violence is a direct manifestation of gender inequality and human rights violation and serves to perpetuate poverty and impede development process and raises the need for interventions to address the underlying causes of GBV which emanate from unequal power relations between men and women. It is note that males also experience some forms of gender based violence both in and outside the family set up. Male engagement for the safety of women and girls means promoting the role of men and boys in confronting and transforming their own male privilege, power and status that perpetuates GBV.
In this regard, the Ministry has developed the National Male Involvement Strategy for Prevention and Response to GBV in Uganda to offer a national framework to scale up policies and programmes in GBV prevention and response by engaging men.
Involving men and boys directly in processes that prevent and/or respond to GBV is an indispensable part of the process of changing the power dynamics of existing gender roles, norms and values that perpetuate gender based violence.
3.2 Men and boys should be engaged for the safety of women and girls in the prevention and response to GBV because;
• Men have power in society as household heads, community, traditional, cultural and religious leaders and they hold majority of decision making positions in public, private sector and politics. This necessitates engaging them for the safety of women and girls.
• When men in positions of leadership speak on issues of gender, they are listened to because of the influence they hold in their constituencies.
• Uganda has diverse cultures, customs and taboos that define men’s status and expectations differently. Some of the cultural expectations promote violence against women and thus the need to engage them.
• Men control resources at different levels – household, community and national level. Engaging men will ensure that they do not become obstacles to women’s development.
• Targeting male children and youths is critical to build a future generation that does not subscribe to male dominance, but promotes gender equality including the safety of women and girls.

4.0: Actions to be taken to ensure male engagement.
• Promote gender sensitivity as an integral part of understanding the nature and impact of GBV.
• Promote respect for Human Rights: All persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres and in line with the Constitutional provisions. Male engagement aims to ensure that the underlying cause and contributing factors to GBV are curtailed.
• Provide a conducive environment to survivors/victims of GBV to enable full disclosure and reporting of GBV cases as well as minimize social stigmatization.
• Prevention and response to GBV is responsibility of different stakeholders given the cross sectoral nature of GBV.
• Community-led participation: The design and implementation of policies and programmes to prevent and respond to GBV should actively engage both male and female members of the community to disown the harmful social norms and practices that perpetrate GBV.
• Promote the role model centered approach: Men can play a big role in the prevention and response to GBV as role models.

• MGLSD will disseminate The National Male involvement Strategy for the Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence in Uganda.
• Promote the integration of male involvement in GBV policy formulation and programming.

 Pupil of Buwanume pose with the placard 

As we mark the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, 2017, the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development wishes to reiterate its commitment to male engagement and involvement as a priority strategic intervention for the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment particularly in the reduction of GBV.

Girl takes over Stanbic Bank as CEO of the Day

The International Day of the Girl commemorated every year on the 11th of October, increases awareness of issues faced by girls around the world.

Ahead of  these celebrations, Plan International Uganda, FAWEU and  partners, are supporting girls to symbolically takeover leadership positions in government, schools, civil society and the private sector under the theme” Girls takeover”.

In facilitating such takeovers, we aim to change perceptions about what is possible for girls, and to transform power relations in a way that will ensure all girls learn, lead, decide and thrive in society.

On 5th 0ctober 2017, ten year old Stacia Nampijja was honored to takeover the CEO of Stanbic Bank Uganda; Patrick Mweheire. 

Participation of women and girls in the work industry, dominated by the private sector sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication, inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.  However, girls continuously face a wall of resistance in their struggle to progress. Some of these challenges include discrimination in many ways, sexual exploitation, and lack of meaningful decent employment. Only a few girls get to positions of leadership.

Speaking to and audience of Stanbic bank staff, Plan International Uganda, and  the media, Stacia called upon Mr. Mweheire , to take  lead on behalf of private sector in addressing the issues of discrimination at the workplace, consider giving more public information on opportunities that exist in the bank.

 

“Please consider developing relevant services that will allow girls to learn, lead, decide and thrive.” The 10-year old CEO asked.

UGANDA parliament, inter parliamentary union reflect on CEDAW

The Parliament of Uganda together with the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) organised a seminar on CEDAW between 14 to 15 June to reflect on the progress of this convention and parliament’s role in the implementation process. The seminar was led by Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Uganda Parliament, with the participation of Ekwee Ethuro, Speaker of the Kenyan Senate, Phillipus Katamelo, an MP from Namibia, and Hilary Gbedemah, a CEDAW expert from Ghana. Some of the priorities identified during the seminar included: dealing with gender inequalities in the economy and family; improving the health of women and girls; and encouraging bills by private members to tackle sexual offences and amend discriminatory legislation. Uganda has not submitted a report to the CEDAW Committee concerning the status of its implementation of the Convention since 2010. As a result of the seminar, the Ministry of Gender committed to sending the country’s report to the Committee by the end of 2017, after consulting with Parliament. Participants discussed issues such as gender-based violence, equality in the law, girls’ right to education, the health of women and girls, and women’s economic empowerment. They highlighted priorities,

Including sexual and reproductive health education, policies on women’s ownership of land, and oversight of implementation of the country’s Domestic Violence Act. Ugandan MPs also called for ratification of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, which would enable the CEDAW Committee to receive individual complaints on breaches to the Convention. Cissy Kaamu, Plan International Uganda representative presented the health situation of girls in Uganda highlighting UGANDA parliament, inter parliamentary union reflect on CEDAW high rates of teenage pregnancy, HIV prevalence and domestic violence as biggest challenges affecting girls and women. Participants developed an action plan on the priorities. The seminar also provided a forum for an exchange of knowledge and experience between Ugandan men and women legislators, parliamentary staff, international and regional experts, civil society and other concerned national and international institutions

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