LASPNET MOBILISED RESIDENTS OF MUKONO MUNICIPALITY TO FIGHT GBV AT THE CLOSING OF THE ANNUAL GBV AWARENESS DAY CELEBRATIONS HELD AT THE HEADQUARTERS OF MUKONO DISTRICT

07 July 2022 -
Written by Laspnet
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On 2nd June 2022, LASPNET in partnership with Mukono district Local Government and several Gender Based Violence actors held a concluding GBV Awareness Day in Mukono district under the LASPNET-EU project titled “Empowering the Formal and Informal Justice Actors to respond and Handle GBV in the districts of Mukono, Kayunga and Buikwe,”

The students of Muzza High school matching with Golola Moses during the GBV annual awareness day in Mukono district.

The GBV awareness day in Mukono  which was preceded by the GBV annual awareness days held in Buikwe on 19th May and Kayunga on 26th May 2022 ,  attracted a total of 216 (F136; M80) participants. These included project partners like JCU, IWILAP and UGANET, JLOS officials, paralegals, Community Watch Committees (CWCs), community members, school children and GBV district partners as well as district leadership of Mukono. 

The spectacular day in Mukono began with fitness drills with the community and students of Muza High School instructed by Mr. Golola Moses the LASPNET GBV Ambassador and kick boxing champion at the district headquarters. Immediately after the fitness drills, Hon. Fatuma Ndibasa Nabitaka the RDC Mukono, flagged off the march to Mukono town centre. This was spiced up with brass band, skaters and bikers who kept distributing fliers and stickers with messages of GBV to the revellers. The colourful procession was made up of students Muzza High Schools brandishing posters condemning GBV while they marched to each tune that the band played

As the march approached Mukono town centre, business came to a standstill as revellers and the business community sought a glimpse of the famous kick boxer Mr. Golola Moses, skaters and bikers and the message that was being passed on while the brass band filled the air with melodies that attracted attention of masses from a distance.

At the celebration grounds, the procession was welcomed by Hajji Muwumuza Asuman Lubowa Vice Chairperson LCV. He appreciated LASPNET and European Union for bringing the project to Mukono and noted that there was a high prevalence of GBV cases in the district. The Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Ms Ndagire Jessica also welcomed the guests to what she called a very important day aimed at raising GBV awareness in the communities. Ms. Ndagire further informed the guests about the high prevalence of GBV in Mukono noting that in a single day, the district authorities get an average of five to seven cases of GBV and child neglect. This status therefore necessitated such a GBV awareness day to cause a mindset change among the people of Mukono. She cautioned the female students to safeguard their dignity by reporting men who try to divert them from their education.  

Mr Robert Kibaya, the Chairperson of the Mukono district NGO Forum spoke about the importance of education in the fight against GBV. He underscored the fact that the more educated a girl child is, the more valuable she becomes and less likely she will be exposed to GBV. He thus emphasised on the importance of focussing on educating girls in the villages of Mukono district.

The Chief Executive officer at LASPNET, Dr Sylvia Namubiru in her remarks recognized the guests in their different capacities. In a special way, she welcomed the representative of the European Union, His Excellency Nicholas Gonze, the Head of Section at EU and His Lordship Hon. Justice David Batema, the Resident Judge of Mukono High Court Circuit and appreciated them for their presence and facilitating elimination of GBV in Greater Mukono. She alluded to the funding support of Ugx 1.9 billion shillings that was offered by the European Union to implement numerous activities under the project including the baseline study conducted in February 2022;  the training of Community Watch Committee members in the districts of Kayunga, Mukono and Buikwe; GBV Community Outreaches in the sub-counties of the three districts; distribution of 70 bicycles to the CWCs, the GBV community awareness campaigns on radios and mobile caravans among other activities.

She noted with appreciation the key stakeholders who have supported the project in Mukono district. Citing the GBV case reduction as reported in the Annual Police Crime Report 2021, she hoped that the reduction in GBV cases in Greater Mukono is as a result of the intervention of the project.

While concluding her remarks, Dr. Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa called upon the RDC of Mukono to seize an opportunity and inform the President of Uganda about the tremendous work that DGF had supported and made the case for the lifting of its suspension. Noting that without DGF, LASPNET and many more CSOs would not operate and this would lead to an end in the implementation of rule of law activities leading to other economic problems like unemployment.

Speaking on behalf of the development Partners, Mr. Nicolas Gonze the EU Head of Section, Governance and Social Inclusion appreciated the invitation extended to European Union and emphasized the fact that LASPNET was facilitated with Four Hundred Fifty Thousand Euros (450,000) to implement a GBV project in the three districts of Mukono, Kayunga and Buikwe as earlier mentioned by the CEO. As a result of the funding, quite a number of activities had been implemented including a baseline study, training of informal and formal justice actors, legal aid outreaches among others. Mr Gonze appreciated LASPENT for the stellar project implementation and called on the community to join the fight against GBV.

Following his remarks, the dignitaries including Professor Mary Ssonko Nabachwa jointly launched the Project Success story magazine titled, “Joining Hands to Fight GBV: Community Change Stories.”  This was followed by inspection of LASPs and GBV Partners stalls while being entertained by students of Muzza High School with their well composed GBV song “Abazadde Mweddeko

In her remarks, Prof. Mary Sonko Nabachwa, a consultant from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development representing MDLSD painted a vivid picture of the prevalence of GBV in Uganda and globally. She told the guests that at least three out of five women have experienced gender-based violence and added that 30% of women worldwide have reported their first sexual encounter to have been forced. The Professor therefore concluded by cautioning that GBV is a health and security threat and called on the community to treat it as such and devise ways to fight and have it eliminated from society.

The Keynote Speaker for the day, Hon. Justice David Batema in his speech recognized the fact that men are also victims of GBV but emphasized that women and children make up the vast majority of victims. Justifying the need for mindset change to fight and eradicate GBV, Justice Batema informed the participants that in many families, girls and women have proved to be more responsible than their male counterparts. He made a clarion call to all religious and cultural leaders to be drivers of this mindset change and to engage the police on matters of criminal nature which they have previously settled contrary to the law.

Justice Batema however questioned the religious ideology of why the religious leaders question the lawful power of the judges to separate and or divorce couples in deserving situations. Adding that just as religious leaders are God’s representatives in putting together couples in holy matrimony and so are judges and magistrates being representatives of God in putting asunder in deserving situations especially to save lives.

His Lordship also cautioned parents who beat their children to near death and said that children too have rights and they ought to be talked to and not simply harassed.

The event was closed off by Ms. Fatuma Ndisaba Nabitaka, the RDC of Mukono district who passionately decried the prevalence of GBV cases in Mukono. She informed the guests that even the educated women suffer GBV and those who have strived to make it in life have endured a lot. She intimately shared a personal testimony as one of the girl child that was affected by GBV through her mother who was a victim of GBV. She painfully informed the participants that her mother passed on as result of GBV noting that whenever she recalls her experience, it makes her so depressed. She was quoted saying;

“….GBV can happen to any of us whether you are educated or not, whether in high offices or not…it is a silent killer disease that can kill or have long lasting effects on you or your family…I appreciate LASPNET for the continued efforts in sensitizing the communities in Mukono about the dangers of GBV…..”

On the contrary, she learnt her lessons and has done all it takes to empower her children especially the girls adding that one was a pharmacist in India and would do all it takes to protect them from any abuse now and in future. The RDC thus cautioned men who perpetrate GBV to reform or that they will dealt with mercilessly by the long arm of the law. She ended by appreciating LASPNET for the project well implemented and pledged the local government’s commitment to continue supporting the project.

Like in the previous GBV awareness days in Buikwe and Kayunga, Mukono was a great success as the activity re-emphasized the state of GBV in the district, highlighted the plight of GBV survivors, raised community awareness on GBV through various platforms such as the justice system actors and media, mobilised the public to shun GBV and its causes and created public awareness about the project interventions as milestones. All in all the  public was greatly informed and empowered  to continue reporting incidences of GBV to mandated institutions and LASPNET.

 MUKONO GBV AWARENESS DAY PICTURES

 Golola Moses & Muzza High students matching in Mukonotown

 (Left) Hajji Muwumuza Asuman Lubowa the Vice Chairperson LCV and (Right) Ms. Jessica Ndagire the Deputy CAO giving their remarks at the GBV Awareness day in Mukono

(Left) His Lordship Justice David Batema introduces giving his keynote speech in presence of Her worship Fiona Nakibuka G. I Magistrate. (Right) Prof. Mary Sonko Nabachwa, a consultant from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Mr. Nicolas Gonze the EU Head of Section, Governance and Social Inclusion, Ms. Fatuma Ndisaba Nabitaka, the RDC Mukono, Hon. Justice David Batema, Ms. Jessicca Ndagire Deputy CAO Launch the success stories Magazine in Mukono.

 Mr Nicolas Gonze the EU Head of Section, Governance and Social Inclusion giving remarks on behalf of European Union at the GBV Annual awareness day in Mukono district. (Right) Above, a section of participants and stakeholders pose for a group photo during the launch of the GBV annual awareness day in Mukono district on 2nd June 2022 at Mukono district headquarters

Compiled by:Mr. Lincoln Ndawula.