For Immediate Release:
Following the increased cases of violence against women in Uganda especially incidents of rape at Universities, 23 young women from across Ugandan have come together to combat sexual and gender based violence. The young women have been brought together under the TuWezeshe Fellowship, the leadership training and mentoring scheme which is an international project spanning four East African countries and the UK aimed at growing the capacity of young women leaders to fight for their rights and freedoms. In Uganda the Fellowship is being supported by Akina Mama wa Afrika, an organisation which for over 30 years has pioneered feminist leadership development and championing women’s rights and women’s empowerment.
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.
The TuWezeshe Fellowship is 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.
In the spirit of women-empowerment, participants will be mentored by some of Uganda’s most innovative and influential women leaders as they implement their own projects. These young women are about to transform Ugandan society for the good of women and men alike - watch this space.
———————-Note to Editors -—————-
TuWezeshe Akina Dada Africa-UK Young Women’s Leadership and Empowerment Movementi is a three year women and girls’ rights project funded by Comic Relief’s Common Ground Initiative. Operating between July 2016-March 2019, the project will be implemented in five countries; the United Kingdom (including England, Wales and Scotland), Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Somaliland. ‘TuWezeshe’ is facilitated by a consortium of four organizations namely Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development (FORWARD), Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel (SSAP) and Young Women Leaders Institute (YWLI).The aim of the project is to improve the rights and amplify the actions of East African girls and young women in their fight against all forms of gender based violence.