Forum for African Women Educationalists - Uganda Chapter (FAWEU)

"20 Years of Enhancing Girls' and Women's Education for Development" FAWE Uganda 1997-2017

GIRLS RIGHTS CLUBS PETITION COMMUNITY DUTY BEARERS TO COME UP WITH BYE-LAWS TOWARDS ACHIEVING EQUITY AND EQUALITY

In the weeks of 27th February to 7th March 2018, Adolescent Girls Representing CEDAW Girls Rights Clubs in the 10 sub counties from the three Districts of Kamuli Buyende and Tororo petitioned local duty bearers at sub county levels on key critical issues affecting girls’ equal access to education and other services limiting their wellbeing, These including Gender based violence, Child marriage, Defilement cases and child labor. This engagement followed Girl Rights Club interface meetings that were held between November and December 2017 at community levels were the above rights gaps were identified by community members, According to Jackie Nafuna Program officer CEDAW project each sub county came up with 3-4 gaps for action planning ,drew an action plan detailing the key rights gaps, activities to be conducted, key stakeholders to target for structural/system adjustments, attitude change, policy formulation and budget allocation (where possible) to promote gender equality and equity.

A GRC member                            The officer

 

(Left) A GRC member from Brain trust SS making her presentation in the just concluded interface meetings. (Right) The officer in charge from Wankole  Subcounty police station presenting during the interface meetings in Wankole  Kamuli District.

Key targeted duty bearers identified were the Senior Assistant Secretary, Community Development Officer, Police Officer and the LCIII Chairperson. Other relevant duty bearers were: head teachers of the 08 project schools per Sub County, parish chiefs (at least 04), area councilors (02) and two religious leaders (1 for Christians and 1 for Muslims).

 

Comments

 

In Wankole sub county Kamuli district the sub county Mr George Wankona the LC 111 chairperson together with district councilors passed a resolution to kick start the process of passing a bye-law regulating operations of sugar cane growers. It was highlighted by girls that sugarcane growing were a big challenge to families generally, Growers were sexually abusing and harassing girls, on their way to school and back home given the long distances between their homes and schools, it was also earmarked that out growers were employing young children hence causing children to drop out of school which led to hunger in homes in preference for sugarcanes not food crops.

 

In Tororo Hon Paul Olanya, LC III Chairperson Osukuru Sub County speaking at the interface meeting held at the Sub County committed himself to engage council in legislation and policy development to address girl specific issues for example teenage pregnancies, child labor, denial of education and early/forced marriages. “I will make sure to engage all sectors of the Sub County including education, security, production, health to reconcile their working towards addressing the issues that affect the girls” said Olanya.

Interface meetings: Interface meetings are meetings held between representatives of Girls Rights Club members and duty bearers in different sectors which are charged with the responsibility of providing services that promote the rights of girls.

 

Abuse Case Statistics

Summary of Top cases

Gender based violence

568 cases

Child marriages

5714 cases

Defilement cases

152 cases

Child Labor

34 cases

Source: Tororo Central Police Station Data 27/11/2017: Child and family protection Unit

The statistics on teenage pregnancies tororo district 2016/17

Age Total pregnancies

Total adolescent 10-19

10 – 19

5684

Source:Tororo District Health Office 28/11/2017 District Health Statistics 2016/17

Sampled Sub Counties with the Highest Rate in Adolescent Pregnancies

Sub county

Age group

No of teenage pregnancies

Total adolescents 10-19

Osukuru

10-19

226

 

Merikit

10-19

319

 

Rubongi

10-19

297

 

Source: Tororo District Health Office 28/11/2017 District Health Statistics 2016/17

I REFUSED TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL BECAUSE I HAD LOST HOPE (SHARIFA NAKISIGE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE STORY)

Since the inception of the Promting Girls Rights through CEDAW project in the the districts of Tororo Kamuli and Buyende in 2016 a record of over 100 Adolescent mothers have been retained back to school following a number of interventions that have Improved attitudes and systems at community, sub-county and district level to support adolescent girls’ rights to education, sexual and reproductive health .In the month of February 2018 the CEDAW team caught up with a one Nakisige Sharifa an Adolescent mother and now a student who picked enthusiastic interest to share her most significant change story following her current status comparing it with her past and this is what she narrated.

My name is Nakisige Sharifa a resident of Imeeri Village Nkondo Sub county in Buyende district, Am a senior two student and I currently go to Baligeya Memorial Seed Secondary school, I am a fifteen year old child mother and I got involved in CEDAW activities through a community volunteer in 2016. The most significant story that has happened in my life so far is surviving Early child marriage, I got pregnant while I was just in senior one and I dropped out of school, my parents and close relatives were annoyed with this act so I was punished and mistreated for a long time however they advised me not to abort even when they had promised never to deal with me again. After giving birth. a lady who happened to be a CEDAW community volunteer came and talked to me and encouraged me to join the out of school CEDAW Girls Rights Clubs which I did, From that day on wards a lady by the names of Madam Jackie visited us together with our community volunteers and started teaching us about the dangers of getting pregnant at an early stage , Early Marriage and child protection the project came to our village and we learnt a lot about the dangers of child marriage and teenage pregnancy and they also told us it was possible for young mothers to go back to school. In my village many girls who get pregnant at my age don’t go back to school.

SHARIFA
Nakisige Sharifa a resident of Imeeri Village

Me too I had refused to go back to school because I had lost hope and I was feeling shy even back at home , many children did not want to be close to me, others laughed at me it was very hard for me. Because I had changed my behaviors at home I requested my parents to give me another chance to go back to school , I got lucky and my parents decided to take me back to school .meanwhile at school I found another CEDAW Girls Rights Club which I also joined today I feel comfortable and happy because am studying once again , we are learning many good things and I believe I will complete school ,am happy am now back at school , I make good decisions and am now an assertive girl ,Girls at my school are also Assertive like me and they can speak for themselves confidently

It is my best story because the many things I have learnt from the project have helped me return back in school and have also built my confidence to stay in school my parents and other people know that when a girl gets pregnant its possible for her to go back and complete school. My parents too know the dangers of child marriage so they didn’t force me to go and get married to the boy that made me pregnant .I can easily share with my parents the challenges I face and in case they fail to help me I know the right places were to go for support.

I encourage all fellow girls like not to give up on Education because without Education the world will be a confusing place to leave in.

SENIOR CIVIL SERVANTS TASKED TO IMPLEMENT CEDAW LAWS

In an effort to contribute to the realization of girls’ rights in Uganda, senior Civil servants have been urged to prioritize implementation of the CEDAW articles in order to improve the wellbeing of women and girls in the country. This was highlighted on the 12th march 2018 during a CEDAW training that attracted over forty senior civil servants from the Judiciary ,Uganda police and various government ministries .The meeting was organized to equip them with knowledge and skills for effective implementation of gender related laws at work places and assess the extent at which different ministries have responded to call to improve on the budget for sexual and reproductive health rights in the national budget 2018/19 as compared to 2017/18.

cedaw May1
Representatives  from the Judiciary and Uganda Police   who took part in the CEDAW training for senior civil servants .

Speaking at the event Diana Kagere the Communications and Advocacy Coordinator at Centre for Domestic violence prevention (CEDOVIP) ,a local NGO partner mainstreaming women and girls rights who also co facilitated, earmarked that the Ugandan constitution was clearly in line with the CEDAW but the practical realization and implementation of the Articles was the challenge we were still experiencing .she also noted that there was need for appropriate consultation of CEDAW articles to strategically design budgets in order to cater for the real people who are affected. “We also need to challenge as individuals about Gender based violence “said Diana.

 

CEDAW is one of the international laws domesticated in Uganda in order to improve the wellbeing of women and girls in the country, however many custodians of this law lack proper skills and knowledge for effective implementation of this law, just like any other laws in the country,
Comments from Participants:

His Lord ship Justice James Eremye from Buganda road court mentioned that some of judicial officers had not yet appreciated gender issues, he therefore encouraged civil society organizations mainstreaming Gender to open up on the Judiciary to have issues affecting girls and women rectified.
Irene Kagoya the Advocacy and influencing manager at Plan International Uganda advised that there was need to seek for a multi stakeholder approach I order to keep momentum for the plight of the girl child in Uganda.

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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