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The UN Population Fund and UN Women have signed an agreement to implement the Joint Programme on Gender-Based Violence in Uganda.  Funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda, the five-year USD 28,750,000 million (SEK 250 million) programme will support interventions to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, with integration of sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in hard- to- reach and vulnerable populations.

Approximately 2,783,699 people including GBV survivors, young people aged 10-14, women of reproductive age (15 – 49 years), sexually active males, refugee populations, and women and men 50 years and above, will benefit from the programme that will be implemented in the 14 districts of Abim, Amuria, Kaabong, Kaberamaido, Kiryandongo, Kotido, Napak, Nakapiripirit, Pader, Yumbe, Moroto, Gulu, Bundibugyo and Kampala.

During the brief ceremony that took place at the Embassy of Sweden in Kampala, on December 17, Sweden’s Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Per Lindgärde expressed his commitment to support initiatives in preventing gender- based violence and ensuring that these crimes are dealt with in an efficient, fair and transparent manner.

“In Uganda, gender- based violence remains an obstacle to the achievement of gender equality and development and it is important that we address these problems to be able to make a difference for Uganda’s future generation,” said Ambassador Lindgärde.

“We are pleased to work with the government of Uganda, UNFPA and UN Women and partners to find ways to prevent and combat gender based violence in Uganda. We are therefore proudly committing more funds for this cause.”

L-R: UN Women Representative Dr. Maxime Houinato, Sweden's ambassador to Uganda, H. E Per Lindgärde and UNFPA Representative Mr. Alain Sibenaler at the signing ceremony at the Embassy of Sweden in Kampala. PHOTO: UNFPA/Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi

In his remarks, UNFPA Representative Mr. Alain Sibenaler thanked the Government of Sweden for the generous support and commitment to the cause of preventing and responding to gender based violence and ensure that every woman and girl lives in a safe space with the dignity, respect and rights they deserve.

“Gender-based violence undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of women and girls. It also has detrimental consequences for the development of societies and countries in terms of economic productivity and educational outcomes,” Mr. Sibenaler said.

“Eliminating gender-based violence is an important area in work of operationalizing the UNFPA mandate to carry out the ICPD programme of action and realizing the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, this is an opportunity to live to the commitment of delivering an integrated package of rights for all. No one should be left behind in this battle against gender-based violence,” he added. 

UN Women Uganda Country Representative, Dr. Maxime Houinato said the new programme provides an opportunity to consolidate, deepen and expand current interventions: “The programme will enable us to integrate response to gender-based violence by strengthening our work on sexual and reproductive health rights, eliminating harmful practices and ensuring protection of the most discriminated women and girls. The programme will also foster a spectrum of partnerships with governmental and non-governmental actors to strengthen accountability and community actions to end impunity, to better protect victims and ultimately to build a culture of zero tolerance.” 

Gender-based violence remains high in Uganda. More than 1 in 5 women aged 15-49 have experienced sexual violence, according to the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS, 2016). Implementation of the five-year programme will contribute to the implementation of the Government of Uganda’s National Development Plan (NDP) II, Vision 2040 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 on ending poverty, 3 on good health and wellbeing, 4 on education, 5 on gender equality, 10 on reduced inequalities and 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.

The programme will also support the implementation of the overall policy frameworks governing GBV, including the National Gender Policy, the National Policy on the Elimination of Gender Based Violence and its National Action Plan (2016), the third National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolutions 1820, 1325 and the Goma Declaration (under development) and, The Social Sector, Health and Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) Strategic investment plans.

Written by Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi