Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ACFODE Life Skills Training In Kisoro District Enlightens Women and Girls on Gender and Gender Roles

From the 11th to the 14th of December 2012, ACFODE carried out Life Skills training sessions in Kisoro district, at sub county level. The trainings were based on the premise that women and girls are usually the victims of different forms of violence ranging from direct physical aggression through beatings, rape, defilement, forced and early marriages, to emotional violence, which usually manifests through paternal refusal to pay school fees, denial of paternity to a child, and eviction from home, among others.

The trainings targeted varied categories of young women in the community, including head girls of schools, female youth leaders and child mothers with the aim of empowering them to be able to cope adequately within their different spheres in society by raising awareness on gender and gender roles, as well as equipping them with relevant economic skills.

A cross section of participants in Busanza Sub County making 
re-usable sanitary pads during a training session

The participants, who came from 37 different villages in Busanza and Nyakabande sub-counties, were taken through sessions to furnish them with deeper understanding of the concept of gender and gender roles. These sessions brought to light the fact that girls in the district generally carry a heavier work load and do not enjoy the same privileges and rights as their male counter parts.

As a result of the sessions, the participants were able to highlight unfair, stereotypical gender roles in their communities that are 'man-made' and can therefore be revised in favor of women and girls.

The diverse interactions also highlighted the pertinent need for awareness about HIV/AIDS and skills development among the women in the community. Participants were also equipped with skills in making reusable sanitary pads.

The women and girls in both villages were also encouraged by their leadership, to adopt safer mechanisms for their domestic practices and to be more confident in their interactions in society in order to achieve their desired goals. Ms. Ntakirutimana Christine, the Sub County Chief of Nyakabande said in her speech, ‘One has to speak with her head held high so that people understand and believe in what she says. Females are lucky that they are easily trusted so we, the women, need to utilize that opportunity.’

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Action for Development (ACFODE), an indigenous, voluntary, non-governmental women’s organization with support from EIRENE paid a visit to Luzira women's prison on 14th December 14, 2012. The visit, which was part of the broader theme for the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, aimed at promoting solidarity for harmonious existence and peace by connecting with the female inmates through the sharing of in-kind donations and a verbal message of hope.

ACFODE Chair Person Gertrude Ssekabira hands over donations to some of the female inmates at Luzira prisons

In collaboration with various women leaders, human and women right activists, corporate companies, representatives from civil society and development partners, ACFODE donated a number of basic necessities to the female inmates, including; bathing/washing soap, sanitary pads, cotton wool, and toilet tissue, toothpaste, teeth brushes and Vaseline among others..

Backed by the statutes in gender sensitive laws such as "The Prisons Act 2006" which outlines the rights and privileges of female prison inmates to special care for their specific reproductive needs, for instance, the right to healthier meals for pregnant and breast feeding female inmates, the visit further sought to challenge the current dire circumstances faced by Uganda's female prison inmates who live in overwhelmingly poor conditions, and also lack basic necessities. 

A Representative from Mukwano Group of Companies handing over some of their donations to the female inmates

The donations, which were handed over to the inmates by the ACFODE Chair Person Gertrude Ssekabira, Executive Director Regina Bafaki and partner organization representatives were warmly received by the prison ward who remarked that the gifts received were timely and relevant to their needs. She added that, "These are the women inmates; some of them are guilty, some of them are innocent, but they are all reformed."

A message of hope was also delivered to the inmates by Ms. Betty Byanyima, a women's rights activist, who urged the inmates to be optimistic about their future, take advantage of their opportunities while in prison to further their education and skills, and be a source of positive energy to those around them. She said, "You should go back to school within the prison or learn some new economic skills from each other so that when the time comes for you to go back into society, you can make a positive difference."

The ladies drew further encouragement from the ACFODE Chair Person, who emphasized in her speech that each of the women inmates deserved and would be given a second chance to correct all their past mistakes. She urged the women to seek peace while in their current situation for the sake of societal improvement, saying "when you give peace to a woman, you give peace to her children, her family and to the nation."

Members of the delegation carrying some of the donations to the vehicle before departure

In light of the successful interactive activity, ACFODE has gained better insight into the magnitude of the needs of the female inmates at Luzira prisons, and therefore calls on the government of Uganda to:

  • Fulfill international commitments government has made by ratifying different regional and international conventions such as The UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (2010) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2008), which outline the rights of women prisoners.
  • Operationalize the specific needs of the women prisoners stipulated in the Uganda Prisons Act 2006.
  •  Step up funding for the national prisons budget to ensure conditions consistent with international standards set in the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners, and provide sufficient provision for female prisoners' special reproductive needs.
  • Implement commitments made in existing legislative measures that protect the lives of people especially the vulnerable like women; for instance The Domestic Violence Act 3 (2010), Penal Code amendments prohibiting defilement of girls and boys (2007), and the Equal Opportunities Commission Act (2007).

 We also call upon the Uganda Prisons System to: 
  • Implement the sections that uphold the special reproductive needs of female     prisoners, enshrined in policies such as; The Prisons Act 2006.
  • Ensure access to prenatal, postnatal, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services and address the nutritional needs of pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. 

 We call upon women leaders, human and women right activists, representatives from civil     society, media and other key stakeholders to:

  • Spearhead advocacy efforts against abuse of female prisoners, and provide support to supplement on the existing government efforts.
  • Lobby for the provision of legal services to the vulnerable who are prone to fall victim to the fallible legal system, winding up in jail without genuine cause.
  • Popularize the Prisons Act 2006 with more emphasis on the provisions that promote the well-being of women prisoners in Uganda.       

Saturday, December 8, 2012

ACFODE Call to End Violence Against Women

ACFODE would like to share a mini video call to end violence against women as the world celebrates 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. Please click on the link below to view the video, and share it within your networks.

ACFODE Call to End Violence Against Women