LASPNET’S GRAND LAUNCH OF THE GBV AWARENESS DAY IN BUIKWE

07 July 2022 -
Written by Laspnet
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LASPNET with support from European Union convened the grand launch of the GBV Annual Awareness Days which begun in Buikwe district at Mehta grounds in Lugazi on 19th May 2022.

The Awareness Day was part of the interventions under the EU supported two-year (2020-2022) project titled “Empowering formal and informal justice systems to respond and handle Gender-based Violence (GBV) in the districts of Mukono, Kayunga and Buikwe.”

The Chief Guest Hon Justice David Batema (seated 5th from right), Dr. Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa (seated 3rd from right) pose for a group photo with the district leadership during the launch of the GBV annual awareness day in Buikwe district on 19th May 2022 at Mehta Grounds, Lugazi.

The event intended to strengthen GBV response and prevention mechanisms as well as increase awareness about GBV in the district. The Annual day  in Buikwe celebrated under the project campaign slogan “Let us join hands to fight GBV among women and children” literally translated as “Tukwatire wamu okumalawo okabasanya abakyala na’baana,” attracted a total of 340 participants (188 Males: 152 Female including children) who included project partners like UGANET, AAV, JCU, UCLF and IWILAP, JLOS officials, paralegals and GBV Community Watch Committees (CWCs) and GBV district partners such as World Vision and Loham Children Ministries as well as District leadership of Buikwe.  

The event flagged off by the LASPNET Board Chairperson, Mr. Arthur Nsereko in the presence of key stakeholders at the district level, GBV partners, LASPs, CWCs, community members, school children, LASPNET CEO Dr. Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa and staff involved a series of pre activities aimed at raising GBV awareness in Buikwe district. These among others included the airing of radio DJ mentions and jingles on Dunamis FM and the movement of a mobile caravan prior to the event launch calling upon the community to speak out on the GBV acts so that survivors are supported.

The day’s activities commenced with a fitness crusade where the crowd puller, Mr Golola Moses entertained and also sensitized the community about GBV including school children from Lugazi East Primary School and Loham Christian School. This was spiced up with matching through district municipality led by a brass band which played captivating GBV awareness songs coupled with skaters and bikers who disseminated flyers and posters with GBV awareness messages to the community members. This colourful procession excited revellers standing along Jinja road and many of the bystanders joined and marched from Lugazi town to Metha grounds where the event was to be held in addition to being informed about the need to join hands to stop gender based violence in their community  

The above activities were crowned off with a community dialogue with local leaders, community members, justice actors and media at metha ground.

In their remarks, several district leaders including officials from the office of the Resident District Commissioner, Chief Administrative Office, Lugazi Municipality and GBV district partners including World Vision and Loham Children Ministries acknowledged the need to eliminate GBV in Buikwe district through continued awareness-raising. In unison, they appreciated LASPNET and the various stakeholders for the strides taken toward GBV response and prevention in Buikwe district.

Specifically in her introductory remarks, Dr. Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa, CEO LASPNET after recognizing the guests in their different capacities; gave a background and justification for the project. She retaliated the fact that the intervention informed by the high prevalence of GBV during the COVID 19 pandemic in Buikwe, Mukono and Kayunga districts according to the Annual Police Crimes Report of 2020. She informed guests that LASPNET had in addition conducted a baseline study in the aforementioned districts in February 2021 and confirmed the findings of the Annual Police Crime Report hence the commencement of the project.

In addition, her remarks alluded to the key milestones under the project including the training of the community watch committee members; the distribution of 60 bicycles; the GBV Community outreaches and the extension of legal support to GBV survivors through LASPs in the project districts all aimed at GBV response and prevention. She ended by appreciating the support of the development partner EU and stakeholders like the Buikwe district leadership, GBV Partners, CWCs, and the LASPs implementing the project including UGANET, AAV, IWILAP, JCU and UCLF.  Dr. Sylvia Namubiru made a passionate appeal to the RDC to inform the president about the life-changing work that the suspended DGF was supporting. She stressed that without its funding, it would be difficult for LASPNET and other organisations to provide legal aid to the indigent and would cause significant unemployment in the country.

Mr. Christopher Kyobe, the Chairperson of Buikwe NGO Forum decried the lack of respect for women and children. He informed the guests that in other jurisdictions like USA, children and women are respected and well protected by the law hence the low incidences of GBV. While Hon. Stephen Kinaalwa, the Member of Parliament for Lugazi Municipality called for constant training and sensitization of the communities in Lugazi and committed to funding the trainings if necessary.

On the other hand, Mr Arthur Nsereko in his brief remarks before inviting the chief guest to speak conveyed his utmost appreciation to all stakeholders in the district that had made it possible to have the project implemented and the impact it had brought to the community. Excited by the performance of the children of Lugazi East Primary School, he requested that their GBV song be copyrighted. He also appreciated Ms Maria Kaddu for putting a smile on the faces of the Buikwe community since as a project coordinator she is the face of the project.

The speeches of the day were crowned off by the Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker, Hon. Justice David Batema, Resident Judge Mukono High Court Circuit who in his passionate remarks begun by recognizing the fact that men are also victims of GBV however emphasized that women and children make up the vast majority of victims. Justifying the need for a 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.  He questioned the religious dogma of why the religious leaders question the lawful power of the judges to separate and or divorce couples in deserving situation. He added 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 further condemned cultural practices that belittle and exclude women from inheriting family estates especially during succession. He was quoted saying;

“These days girls and women have proven to be more responsible than men that is why even the former Prime Minister the late Apollo Nsibambi and a former tycoon the late Mulwana left management of their estates to their daughters in disregard of the known cultural practices and beliefs that its only boys or men who can inherit and manage estates of the deceased.”

 In his concluding remarks Justice David Batema explained to the participants the effects of GBV noting that if the vice is not addressed.  “GBV is a key cause of death, bodily disfigurement and mental illnesses adding the various forms of GBV to include psychological, sexual, physical and economic violence and cautioned men against perpetrating acts of GBV against women and children,” he noted.

The function was crowned off with the launch the project success story magazine titled, “Joining Hands to Fight GBV: Community Change Stories” and inspection of stalls for LASPs and GBV partners.

In a nutshell the launch in Buikwe re-echoed the state and dangers of GBV in Buikwe 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, created public awareness about the project interventions and milestones. All in all, the public was empowered with adequate information to continue reporting incidences of GBV to mandated institutions and LASPNET.

BUIKWE GBV AWARENESS DAY IN PICTURES

(Left) Participants led by Golola Moses match during the launch of the GBV awareness day in Buikwe district (Right) Mr. Arthur Nsereko, Chairman Board at LASPNET delivers his message

L-R A group of skaters and bikers displaying stunts while distributing GBV IEC materials to the communities during the GBV awareness day in Buikwe district, one of the skaters sharing GBV IEC materials to a by stander during the matching session

(Left) Children from Loham Child Ministries provide entertainment during the awareness day (Right) Hon. Justice David Batema, Resident Judge Mukono High Court Circuit launching the Project Success Story Magazine at the GBV Awareness day

 Left - Dr. Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa giving remarks at the launch of the GBV awareness day in Buikwe district Right - Mr. Ibrahim Kassaija (holding the microphone) giving remarks on behalf of the District DCDO Buikwe