AMwA successfully conducted a five-day fellowship training for 23 Ugandan young women from 26th to 30th June 2017 in Entebbe Uganda. This was part of the TuWezeshe Akina Dada Project that is aimed at amplifying actions to improve the rights of East African girls and young women to be free from all forms of violence, targeting Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Somaliland and UK-African Diaspora.
The young women were drawn from organizations that work on issues of SGBV while others came from universities but with an affiliation to clubs that deal with SGBV. Held under the theme "Improving the Rights and Amplifying the Actions of Young African Women against all Forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), the training aimed at enhancing the leadership capacities of young women to be able to challenge societal norms and influence policies on GBV.
In Uganda, by the age of 15, 56% of women have experienced physical violence while 28% of women between 15-49 years of age have experienced sexual violence. This is in stark comparison to 9% of men in the same age group. Further data from Uganda Health Survey reveals that the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections among female victims doubles that of those who have not been subjected to violence and been linked to HIV infection prevalence of over four times greater than abused women. The crisis of sexual and gender based violence has led to an increase in HIV/AIDS while the prevalence of teenage and child mothers has continued to steadily rise leading to a disruption in education and an increase in violence for girls whose families reject them when they fall pregnant.
Therefore the TuWezeshe Fellowship was a much needed response to this crisis. Facilitated by the renowned Dr. Sylvia Tamale, Christine Butegwa, leading activist Helen Okiring, feminist leader and practitioner Eunice Musiime and partners from the UK (Adwoa Kwateng-Kluvitse and Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan) participants learnt about the role social norms play in perpetuating sexual and gender based violence, the issues surrounding sexual and reproductive health rights as well as learning how to be an effective feminist leader, successful project planning and the notion of self-care in activist work.
The 5 day training aimed at enhancing the leadership capacities of young women to be able to influence and shape policies on gender based violence covering five modules of the TuWezeshe Training Manual, namely; 1) Understanding myself: Agency Power and Gender; 2).Understanding Feminist Patriarchy and Social Norms. The modules unpacked the socialization around gendered identity hence enabling participants to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and how they affect women's participation in leadership and decision making processes.
In addition the module enabled participants to identify places of power, institutions and the impact of these on socialization and women's Reproductive Health and Rights.3).Understanding Human Rights: SRHR and GBV; 4).Transformational Leadership; and 5). Activism, Innovation and social Change.
I realized that power over and rigid cultural norms at a certain extent tend to facilitate gender based violence more so directed towards women and girls. This also made me realize that there is a need to tackle structures that build hierarchy between men and women in order to fight against sexual and gender based violence.Nalubega Sumaya
In addition to the five modules, a field visit to Wakisa ministries- a teenage mother's crisis home was organized for participants. This provided the participants an opportunity to learn from a live site from teenage mothers lived experiences. The outcome of the training was the development of individual projects by participants which will be implemented in a period of 6months. Further, the participants were paired with experienced mentors who will continue to advise and support them through the implementation of their projects and walk the leadership journey with them for the one year.
On an exciting note Akina Mama wa Afrika has set up an Advisory Board to the Project comprising distinguished young women with expertise on issues of SGBV who are advising and supporting the TuWezshe Akina Dada Project in Uganda.