ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

Women's Rights and Gender Equity.

ActionAid Uganda’s programming around women’s rights is informed by Persistent patriarchal, traditional and harmful religious, social and cultural  wide spread societal beliefs and practices like female genital mutilation, bride wealth, widow inheritance, wife battering, forced early marriages; defilement, rape and sexual harassment land and property grabbing. 

Over View

 

  • The underlying causes of poverty and injustice are gendered and women suffer inequalities due to persistent patriarchal, traditional and harmful religious, social and cultural beliefs and practices. 
  • Despite existing legislation, legal provisions and gender responsive policies, discrimination against women and girls remains an obstacle to the realization of rights and dignity of women and girls in Uganda. 
  • We explicitly focus on promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls in all our work.  
  • Our Strategic Objective is to support 40,000 Women and 7,000 girls in Uganda to claim and defend their right to: sexual and reproductive health; a life free of violence; and to gain control over their lives and productive resources.  

 

Women Rights and Gender Equality

 

  1. Overview:
  • The underlying causes of poverty and injustice are gendered and women suffer inequalities due to persistent patriarchal, traditional and harmful religious, social and cultural beliefs and practices. 
  • Despite existing legislation, legal provisions and gender responsive policies, discrimination against women and girls remains an obstacle to the realization of rights and dignity of women and girls in Uganda. 
  • We explicitly focus on promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls in all our work.  
  • Our Strategic Objective is to support 40,000 Women and 7,000 girls in Uganda to claim and defend their right to: sexual and reproductive health; a life free of violence; and to gain control over their lives and productive resources.  
  • Using a human rights-based approach, we invest more in changing attitudes and behaviours of communities towards supporting women enjoy and assert their full rights in their own capacity.
  • We also advocate government to put in place and implement appropriate laws, systems and programs to ensure the protection and promotion of women rights and freedoms including; civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
  • We facilitate empowerment of women living in poverty and exclusion by directly supporting them to meet their rights to basic needs as an entry point for their mobilisation,  awareness rising and  building their consciousness on the structural issues that perpetuate their conditions  .    
  • Using Reflection Action, we mobilise women and support them to organise themselves into solidarity groups to build a critical mass to challenge inequalities around them.  
  • We linking these organisations both horizontally and vertically into networks, platforms, alliances and movements for an amplified and collective voice.
  • We take sides with the women and engage in Campaigning to magnify their voices in the fight against poverty and injustice.
  • We build evidence through analysis and pilot alternatives for women empowerment to inform policy change.
  1. Program Thrust

The focus of our interventions is on:

i) promotion of women’s sexual reproductive health rights,

 ii) combating gender based violence in private and public spaces,

 iii) making women’s unpaid care work more visible,

 iv) Access, ownership and control over productive resources.

  • At the local level we are uniquely rooted in communities where we develop and implement long-term programmes with partners in ten local rights areas of; Amuru, Masindi, Pader, Nebbi, Katakwi, Kumi, Kapchorwa, Pallisa, Namutumba and Kalangala.
  • We also work with women living in urban poverty in Kawempe division with special focus on Gender based Violence (GBV), Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for young women and prevention of HIV and promotion ART literacy.  
  • Our focus in here is to contribute to the reduction of incidences of un employment of women and girls through provision of alternative options for gainful and dignified employment;  mitigate the effects of  and speared of HIV/AIDS among women and children; and support the development of a continuum of care and support and effective policy environment for scaling up the national response.   
  1. Approaches:

Addressing Sexual Reproductive Health Rights

  • We provide Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Reflection Action Circles and Girls Forums to provide spaces in which women and girls are able to openly discuss their rights to sexual and reproductive health.
  • We undertake capacity building Trainings in Human rights  to empower Women and youth to make choices and to be free of coercion.

Dealing with HIV scourge

  • We address issues of HIV Prevention through community outreach education, information and awareness raising using IEC materials translated into the local languages to reduce stigma and discrimination. 
  • In contributing to promotion of HIV Treatment undertake  trainings of peer educators, home visits   and  provide psychosocial counselling  and referral of People Living with HIV/AIDS to basic medical treatment centres within the communities
  • We work with media including print, Radio, TV and social media to educate masses on their rights and provide relevant information for effective decision making for women on their lives
  • We organise and use forum ,theatre to mobilise and create awareness on injustice faced by women

Addressing GBV

  • We contribute to the prevention Gender Based Violence  through awareness creation outreaches using drama shows, group discussions, radio talk shows, television spot adverts, development and dissemination of IEC materials [posters].
  • We   deliberately mobilise and engage men for attitude and behaviour change through meetings with Bodaboda cyclists, opinion religious and cultural leaders. 
  • We operate women protection centres [GBV shelters] providing quality, timely, integrated friendly services to survivors of gender based violence through and strengthen effective referral and collaborative justice mechanisms. 
  • Women and girls are supported to access and utilized timely, quality medical examination and first aid treatment, legal aid, alternative dispute resolution, psychosocial counselling and follow up support,  safety planning,  temporary accommodation and economic empowerment in 10 districts.

 

Making un paid care work visible:

  • Using Reflection Action approach we mobilise women for time diary filling and analysis to record their work load. 
  • We work with women to conduct community outreach meetings and dialogue meetings with local leaders to raise awareness.  Through National stakeholder meetings with Donors, CSOs and government officials, we engage for policy change and call for recognition, redistribution and reduction of the work load.  

Promoting women’s property and land rights:

  • Using the media for community mobilization, sensitization and awareness creation programmes including radio talk shows. Community meetings to discuss women’s land rights, support to test case litigation and strengthening of community legal aid structures through legal aid clinics and judicial courts.

 

  Improving the Legal and policy environment

  • In order to contribute to the improvement of the legal and policy environment, we mobilize and support activities of the district GBV coalitions that support prevention, care and response, and advocacy. Working in collaboration with the national GBV coalition, we advocate for the reform of health service delivery and police reforms to systematically address Gender Based Violence.

Working with others to influence Policy change

  • At national level, we work with Uganda Womens Network [UWONET], Uganda Women parliamentary Association [UWOPA]; UGANET, International HIV/AIDS organizations Platform[INGO steering committee], Uganda Land Alliance and Centre for Domestic Violence prevention [CEDOVIP] to actively monitor the policy environment for formulation and policy implementation.  We are members of the GBV/DVA coalition, PEP Coalition and the GBV referral path coalition intended to inform and improve actions on prevention and response to gender based violence, HIV/AIDS, Sexual and reproductive health.
  • For Regional and international linkages of women, their actions and organisations we work with AkinaMAma Wa Afrika under the ICGLR CSO Forum to monitor and influence policy formulation and implementation by the great lakes heads of states on commitments to end SGBV and conflict in the region.
  1. Strategy:

-        Mobilisation;

-        Empowerment,

-        Solidarity;

-        Campaigning

  • We raise public awareness on women’s rights through skills and knowledge building, human rights trainings, REFLECT and women rights Fora to influence positive change in attitudes, behaviours and practices.
  • Our  interventions  target women, girls, boys, men, and youth, formal and informal institutions for behavioural and attitudinal change.
  • We also support and strengthen the mobilisation and organisation of women, girls and their groups through print, audio, social theatre and social media. We work with coalitions and solidarity networks at all levels as platforms to enable women and girls claim, defend and enjoy their sexual reproductive health rights
  • We work with other civil society organizations to support and monitor Government performance on policies, action plans, manifestos and compliance to international instruments that promote, respect and secure women rights;
  • We develop, support and advocate for initiatives that enhance women’s participation in decision-making processes and access to, ownership and control over productive resources, including land and seed. We Support campaigns to resist and reform religious and cultural practices that undermine girls and women’s rights through linking local actions to national and international level spaces and solidarity movements.

For example

Women meet in Reflection-Action circles regularly over a 15 month period to fill out the time diary tool that tracks their activities. The time diary tool usually a visual representation of women’s un equal work load helps to build up literacy and critical analysis skills among women. It helps women to first recognize the value of their contribution to society in the form of unpaid care work. Second, by analyzing the diaries together in the circles, women can identify the main reasons why they are doing so much more of this work than men. Thirdly, we support women to actively participate in local level, national stakeholder and roundtable policy dialogues to present key asks and demand that community leaders and local government, key ministries take on some of the care provision through public services and a change to economic policies.

 

Impact of our work:

Our Reach and Impacts at a glance

  • Through the ten local rights programs and our partners in the urban areas, we have built capacity of 700 women and  600 youth with human rights issues through trainings
  • We have reached, mobilised and sensitized 14,996 people about Gender Based Violence resulting into: increased awareness among 8861 women, 6135men, 412 girls and 128 boys. 
  • There is evidence of attitude change with improved reporting and referral of cases to the women protection centres, police, and hospital and probation institutions
  • We have equipped 800 girls with the knowledge, and life skills, to make informed choices, to be free of coercion and have access to information to decide when and with whom they will engage in sexual relations and how to protect themselves against STIs and unplanned pregnancies.
  • Through awareness-raising campaigns and advocacy with other Civil Societies our efforts have contributed to establishment of a guide on evidence collection and handling of Sexual and Gender Based Violence  cases from ministry of health to all the health facilities .
  • The guidelines  provide for processes of effective collection of evidence and provision of emergency contraceptive pills and Post Exposure Prophylaxis treatment at all times, without necessarily waiting until the perpetuator is tested.
  • As a result there is emerging evidence that more women are willing to report cases of SGBV and improved system of evidence to support the legal process access to justice for women  and protection of  survivors from exposure to unwanted pregnancies and HIV and STIs.
  • The Women protection Centres [GBV shelters] provide quality, timely, integrated friendly services to survivors of gender based violence through an effective referral and collaborative justice mechanisms.
  • As a result, over 2500 women and girls have access to and utilized timely, quality medical examination and first aid treatment, legal aid, psychosocial counseling and follow up support, temporary accommodation and referral to other service providers in the 10 districts. 
  • So far, through alternative dispute resolution which is the most preferred intervention, up to 699 cases have been concluded; 123 survivors  were offered  safety planning and temporary accommodation at the shelters  and  276 survivors have been linked to economic empowerment programs as part of the resettlement and rehabilitation package. 
  • We have engaged model men as efforts to mobilize their support especially religious and cultural leaders have been key targets in these efforts.  As a result we have established men’s networks with strong and committed local leadership (Chiefs and clan heads)..
  • Using the media for community mobilization, sensitization and awareness creation programmes including radio talk shows in Lira, Oyam and Apac districts, up to 3000 women 1000 men have been reached and have gained knowledge and appreciate women’s land rights.
  • In addition 846 women and 788 men were reached through community meetings to discuss land rights. Test case litigation and strengthening of community legal aid structures: out of the 430 community members sensitized, 128 women attended legal aid clinics and were supported to regain their land in Apac, Lira and Minakulu while 37 women have sought legal aid and support from the 5 local women rights organizations through courts.

 

 

Researches and knowledge

We build evidence on women rights violations including through collaborative action research with, academic, and other institutions, test case litigation and alternative models to inform advocacy and campaign agendas:

 

Justice in Conflict: Making transitional justice work for women research examines the efficacy of transitional justice for women: how well transitional justice processes provide justice for women in Northern Uganda, considering the realities of women’s lives in conflict and post-conflict contexts and their experiences of recurrent violence.

 

Un paid care work: policy scoping study sought to establish: What policy interventions are needed to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care work?  The nature of existing programs polices and/or interventions that may have an impact on unpaid care work. The finding revealed that Uganda lacks national policies specifically designed for reducing the burdens of women’s unpaid care work.

 

Gender Based Violence: The BGV baseline survey was to establish baseline statistics on occurrence, causes and forms of violence frequently experienced by women, the reporting centres/institutions utilized by affected women and girls, the current remedies and capacity of the existing institutions in supporting justice processes for women and girls and level of community awareness on the issues of Gender based violence and justice system at different levels.  The study revealed that there is limited accountability and commitment by government agencies [police, health, courts and informal institutions] in preventing, responding, management and monitoring of GBV. The clans and LCs that are easily accessible and most utilized by women are unfortunately biased and in favour of men.

 

Land Grabbing: A Case study of multinational land grabbing, recent government land gazettes/long term land leases in the districts of Katakwi, Nebbi, Amuru/Nwoya and Masindi/Bulisa. It was a situational analysis on the prevailing concerns of land access and ownership rights among women/girls, that are arising from the current large-scale land acquisitions by foreign investors, Government institutions, private individuals and multinational companies and how this impacts on the land rights of community members especially women. Obtaining information on how to improve land administration systems and investment in agriculture, so that the land rights and livelihoods of women smallholder farmers and other vulnerable groups are strengthened.

  1. Upcoming events: ts

 

National Male champions quarterly Forum

AAU Women leadership Forum [Bi –annual]

End FGM regional advocacy and resource mobilisation strategy workshop for all 9 countries [Feb 2014]

International Women’s Day [March 8th 2014]

58th commission on the status of women [CSW –March 2014]

Women’s Rights community meeting –to be confirmed

Pan African Feminist Forum [June 2014

 

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