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How can we strengthen community Sexual and Gender-Based Violence response systems in Uganda?
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How can we strengthen community Sexual and Gender-Based Violence response systems in Uganda?

“Teenage pregnancies escalated during the lockdown. These are the issues we want to address, we want to ensure that these young people get the right information so that they can make informed decisions about their bodies and demystify the myths and misconceptions. For those who are abused, we want to ensure that they go through the proper channels to get justice.” Margaret Nannyombi, SRHR Alliance Uganda.

As Reach A Hand Uganda, we believe that the fight against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is a collective effort that involves leaders and the entire community.

On the 30th of March 2021, we conducted an inception meeting for the Strengthening Community-Led Redress Initiative for SGBV project in collaboration with Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Alliance, CEHURD, and Restless Development. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the project which will be running for the next 17 months and create ownership.

The Strengthening Community-Led Redress Initiative for the SGBV project supported by International Development Law Organisation (IDLO) is aimed at enhancing access to justice among adolescent girls and young women by strengthening linkages and collaborations between formal and informal justice systems in the targeted districts of Tororo, Butaleja, and Busia.

At the inception meeting in Butaleja District, the district chairman Mweru Isaac Hirya emphasized the current need for a project of this nature in the region.

He said,

“Gender-Based Violence has worsened with the coming of COVID19. Before men used to not be at home and women were free but now they have been home. This project has come at the right time and we hope to work together for the period you will be here. The police have the statistics and will give you those problematic areas and we shall work together to select these sub-counties.”

Why the three districts of Butaleja, Tororo, and Busia?

The SGBV statistics in the Bukedi region are quite high according to reports. Some of the issues are brought about by culture and religion. The region is also known to have one of the highest birth rates due to child marriages which often result in SGBV.

The project will work to ensure that the girl child can freely speak out through proper channels and that cases are taken seriously, and justice is served, and involve the men in the fight against SGBV.

During the implementation of the project, RAHU and partners will use “Community Response Agents” (CRAs) who will act as a linkage between the formal and informal structures by supporting SGBV reporting, evidence collection as well as aiding survivors to access required services.

They will be identified with the guidance of the district stakeholders and will have to be residents of the selected sub-counties consisting of both young people and other stakeholders with 80% female and 20% male. After selection, they will be trained and oriented on SGBV, access to justice, women’s, and children’s rights, and how to support SGBV survivors in their communities.

With the support of the Community Response Agents, we hope to increase awareness on the formal and informal channels through which adolescent girls and young women will access justice.

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