By Spy Uganda
The National Launch for Uganda’s 16 Days of Activism campaign took place in Kamdini, Oyam District organized by multiple consultative National Organising Committee (NOC) meetings, led by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD).
“Launching 16 Days of Activism in Oyam District and in Northern Uganda in particular, ignited collective voices and call to action to end violence against women and girls in all its form. The launch heightened a growing concern among leaders in the region and stakeholders on increased teenage pregnancies, forced marriages that are demonstrated with increased statistics in the region,” Said Jolly Acen, UN Women Programme Specialist and Head of UN Women Sub Office in Gulu.
The 16 Days launch is taking place in Oyam District because data and statistics have shown a very high prevalence of teenage pregnancy. This has been recorded over the year 2020-2021, indicative of a clear link between girls out of schools (due to lockdown measures) and conception.
The event is aimed at raising awareness at the local and national levels about violence against women and its impact on national development while advocating for strategic actions by government, development partners, civil society, religious and cultural leaders and the private sector for increased resource allocations towards positive social norm change in the prevention and response to violence.
The guest of honor at the launch was Honorable Minister Betty Amongi accompanied by the Honorable Peace Mutuuzo, State Minister of Gender and Culture.
“The UN Women collaboration with Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development in Uganda has greatly yielded positive outcomes. In light of 16 Days of Activism, this collaboration provided a platform for all other key players and institutions to showcase tangible success stories in efforts towards ending violence against women,” said Barbara Namirembe (UN Women Governance Analyst and MGLSD Liaison) adding;
”The UN Women Representative called upon all stakeholders at the community and national level to take action and recommended all families to recruit girls into second-chance education so that they can realize their potential and have better lives. On the other hand, the Honourable Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development called upon key actors to create economic opportunities for women and urged all to create a conducive environment free of violence for women. This collective effort is definitely needed to create Change in Uganda.”
“Eleven thousand four hundred and sixty cases of teenage pregnancy make Oyam one of the districts measured with the highest number in the region. As a district, we have mobilized teenage mothers to go back to school. This is an initiative being backed by Members of Parliament!,” said the Local Council 5 Chairperson of Oyam.
The National Chairperson of the Women’s Council of Uganda also noted that the National Council is supported by members of parliament to train 160 women leaders in the district on Gender-Based Violence prevention and referral. UN Women Deputy Country Representative Adekemi Ndieli shared testimony highlighting the prevalent fear of violence, perceived and actual, for women and girls all over the world.
“Strengthening national commitment and action towards improving women and girls’ access to formal and informal education should be strongly supported as part of overall anti-violence efforts. This should be accompanied by challenging the widespread tolerance and acceptance of many forms of violence against women,” said Adekemi Ndieli.