The Government is worried about the escalating cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the country. Gender state minister Peace Mutuuzo revealed that at least 168 people died last year due to GBV.
It is against this background that Mutuuzo called for an urgent need to end GBV in homes and communities.
Speaking during the launch of the ‘Heros for Gender Transformative Action’ project at Mbale Resort Hotel, Mutuuzo said the Government was losing a lot of money in treating victims of GBV.
She said the last data carried out in 2017 to 2019 showed that in just three years (2017 to 2019) the Government had lost sh78b in treating and managing GBV cases.
The Uganda Police Annual Crime report 2020 raises concern over the increase of defilement and domestic violence cases, among others.
The report further indicated that 17,664 cases of domestic violence were reported to police compared to 13,693 reported in 2019, giving a 29% increase.
Furthermore, a total of 14,134 cases of defilement were reported to police in 2020 compared to 13,613 cases reported in 2019, giving an increase of 3.8%.
The Netherlands embassy in Uganda earmarked 10m euros (approximately sh43b) to address Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
Dr Patrick Kagurusi, the head of programmes at Amref Health Africa — Uganda, said the project will contribute towards strengthening access to SRHR services and reduction of SGBV against women and girls in the high burden districts.
Under the four-year project the hard to reach and high burden districts, including Budaka,
Bukwo, Kween, Mbale, Bugiri, Iganga, Mayuge, Namayingo and Kalangala will benefit from the programme.
The project will be implemented by Amref Health Africa, MIFUMI, Cordaid, and International Centre for Research on Women.
Mutuuzo said the Government was planning to have GBV shelters in all districts across the country.
She said currently there are 18 shelters in the country. “We are not planning to have GBV, but in case it occurs, the victim who runs for rescue, should not find herself in the cells of police or pushed back home to the perpetrators of violence, at least they should have a safe place where they can have legal support, psychosocial support, medical and also skilling,’’ she said.
She further said there should be a balanced resource distribution with men, women and youth getting 30% per category while the remaining 10 % for people with disabilities.
“We are planning to give a lot more support to women. In addition to skilling, we are planning to give them money, which will come along with the parish development model. We have agreed to be equal in even sharing resources,’’ she reiterated.
The State Minister in charge of Primary Healthcare, Margaret Muhanga, condemned the act of female genital mutilation, adding that it had dire consequences to the girls’ health.
FGM is a procedure performed on a woman or a girl to alter or injure her genitalia for nonmedical reasons. It most often involves the partial or total removal of her external genitalia.
Muhanga said very many girls had died while others had got infections due to the practice of FGM.
“When somebody has been traumatised while young, even when they grow up, they lack confidence, even when they go to school they don’t perform well. How shall we reach the middle income status when our children are battered and facing a lot of violence at home,’’ Muhanga said.
The programme manager ‘Heros for Gender Transformative Action’ Michael Muyonga, said on a monthly basis each of the targeted districts on average registers 300 cases of GBV.
Muyonga said under the programme, they will train the young people who are survivors or victims of GBV to protect themselves from teenage pregnancies and SGBV.
He added that they will also support health workers to build more capacity to be more responsive to young people. Ruth Van Zorge, the first secretary of sexual reproductive health rights and gender at the Netherlands embassy, said young girls, boys, and women in Uganda should fully enjoy SRHR and live in a gender-equal society free from SGBV.
She said the project demonstrates a willingness to go the extra mile, invest extra effort because each person matters.
Article first published on Sunday Vision, Uganda.