By Nangonzi Assumpta
It does not sound like an easy journey, but trust me, It is worth the walk. As one of the member states of the United Nations, Uganda committed to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. Here, we hope to significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere as well as strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime among others.
On 3rd November Action Group for Health, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS hosted key district officials; Political leaders, health workers, social workers, cultural leaders, religious leaders, community members and media at Dokolo district Council Hall to launch her project entitled “Promoting and Protecting Human Rights in relation to GBV”. The launch was presented by AGHA staff through write-ups about AGHA and the project and speeches from the CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) and the LCV chairperson Dokolo district.
Promoting and Protecting Human Rights in relation to GBV aims at reducing GBV in Dokolo district by 2017. The project funded by Independent Development Fund will benefit 3000 women, men, girls and boys in 5 sub-counties of Kangai, Kwera, Adeknino, Okwongodul and Dokolo by: addressing the knowledge and capacity gaps in local council courts and other community structures and easing access to redress by actively using innovative community oriented approaches to scale up monitoring, documentation and reporting of human rights violations.
The participants from other regions of the district expressed their anguish of the project location which they found discriminative. The project officer, Mr Okwi Frederick addressed their feeling by explaining to them the trend of GBV in the district where they all appreciated that truly Dokolo South still presents higher magnitude of GBV than North and that their redress mechanisms are still very weak. He further comforted them by drawing their attention to the radio talk shows, that are to cover the entire district and beyond. He also informed them that the community structures that were to be strengthened such as the LC Courts, Police and Religious Leaders operate in the entire district, and so the people of Dokolo North would still benefit. Though not fully satisfied, they pledged to support the project.
Mr. Omuge George, the CAO Dokolo thanked his team for putting aside all their work and respecting the invitation for the launch. We learned from his speech that the district officials had just received their activity implementation funds implying that this was meant to be a very busy moment for them. Mr. Omuge thanked AGHA for respecting the protocol of the district by registering their project with his office before implementation, a rule abused by many NGOs operating at district level. He urged all NGOs to register so as to avoid duplication of activities and over flooding the district with irrelevant projects. The CAO went ahead to inform AGHA that the LC1 Courts that were targeted for earlier are inexistent due to financial shortage that hindered the district from recruiting these since they would not be able to retain them at the moment. He advised on the use of LC3 Courts that had just been constituted, which the team agreed with. He called on AGHA to steak to their project objectives and consistently report project progress as will be requested by their mother department. He concluded by handing over the AGHA team to Community Service Department, which is fully responsible for overseeing GBV implementation in the district.
The event was crowned by the LCV vice chairperson representing the LCV chairperson who received the Project documents and responded to AGHA’s request to allow them continue with their implementation as planned. He was happy with the project as he believed that Gender based violence is one of the challenges affecting both males and females, yet given less or no attention especially in terms of budget allocation for prevention and redress mechanisms. He was even happier with the approach of using the already existing structures as he confessed that this would enable them sustain the project work when AGHA dies out. With that pleasure, AGHA was granted their request which left them empowered to promote and protect human rights by reducing GBV in Dokolo.