As Uganda commemorated the 16 days of activism against gender based violence under the theme: “Act Now: stop teenage pregnancy, child and forced marriages”, Action aid Uganda in partnership with Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) together with other partners among these; Action for development (ACFODE) and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Magazine Limited organized the first National Annual GBV Conference/Dialogue on 10/12/2014.
The event acted as a local fundraising initiative whose proceeds went towards the construction of the Gender Based Violence Shelter in Kween District. The dialogue also acted as a platform to raise awareness and showcase different organization’s ongoing work on ending Gender Based Violence in Uganda, which was appreciated by most of the participants.
The dialogue involved presentation of papers by key government sectors, civil society actors and United Nation agencies on lessons, challenges and future strategies for improved collaboration and strengthening the referral pathway. This was followed by an open dialogue and heartrending testimonies by Gender Based Violence survivors to give the participants an insight on the actuality of Gender Based Violence.
Various stakeholders presented papers namely; Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development, Justice Centers Uganda, the Police, Ker Kwaro ACholi, the Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), Teso Women for Development (TERREWODE), The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA–U), Center for Domestic Violence (CEDOVIP), and ActionAid Uganda.
The major message put forward by these stakeholders was that gender based violence is a human rights violation and is a hindrance to economic stability, affects health and is a stumbling block to development.
The challenges faced across the board included; minimal male involvement in the fight against the vice, prevention measures are not sustainable, the non functional referral systems, stigmatization/ostracisation of gender based violence victims and survivors, implementation of the act is very poor, for example protection orders, parents failing to fulfill their parental duties to children, corruption, the culture of silence among others.The challenges faced across the board included; minimal male involvement in the fight against the vice, prevention measures are not sustainable, the non functional referral systems, stigmatization/ostracisation of gender based violence victims and survivors, implementation of the act is very poor, for example protection orders, parents failing to fulfill their parental duties to children, corruption, the culture of silence among others.
A number of recommendations and strategies were made, and these were among others; improvement of access to the justice system including provision of free legal aid to gender based violence victims, effective implementation of gender laws such as the Domestic Violence Act, establishing one-stop-centres in all districts ,the need to stem teenage premarital and marital engagements, the culture of silence among GBV Victims must be fought, increased male involvement in the fight against the vice, provision of safe accommodation for the victims, need for an integrated and multi-sectoral approach/response to gender based violence.
The campaign was crowned with an Annual Gender Based Violence Fundraising Dinner where ACFODE won an award for her “Excellent Efforts in Gender Based Violence Prevention and Response through Improving Policy and Legal Environment,” as handed over by the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Ugandan Parliament, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga.
Gender and Economic Policy department