The Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Amongi Betty has commended the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for its tireless efforts in mobilizing resources for sustaining Gender Equality and Women Empowerment interventions in Uganda.
She noted that the financial and technical support rendered to the Ministry and other government entities has made it possible to have the Gender Based Violence (GBV) Policy in place as well as other supportive instruments which guide GBV programming; especially the Male involvement strategy for addressing GBV, the Multi-media strategy for addressing GBV and the GBV Referral Pathway.
“In addition, the Ministry has developed the National Training Manual for the Social Welfare Workforce, which is a key resource in service delivery for GBV survivours.” The Minister noted.
She was speaking during a meeting with the new UNFPA Country Representative, Dr. Mary Otieno at the Ministry headquarters in Kampala on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.
Dr. Otieno replaces Alain Sibenaler who served for four years and six months.
Amongi also applauded the UNFPA support towards addressing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Sebei and Karamoja regions. The support has facilitated cross border engagements to curb the vice, but also enabled the generation of local commitment of the FGM practicing communities through declarations on abandonment of the vice.
“All this has resulted in greater community appreciation of the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation. In November 2021, the Ministry hosted the Inter-Ministerial Regional Cross Border meeting with the counterparts from Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia. The outcome was a recommitment to eradicate FGM across the borders, with engagement of the highest levels of political leadership and allocation of requisite financial and human resources,” the Minister noted.
On the recent spike in Child Marriages and Teenage Pregnancies, the Minister revealed that they were finalizing plans to implement a national campaign led by the First Lady to bring an end to the vices.
Dr. Otieno emphasized the need to score on Sustainable Goal number 5 on Gender Equality as a cornerstone of achieving on all the other goals. She described Child Marriages and Teenage Pregnancies as multi-sectoral issues that need to be tackled through empowering young women and girls with evidence-based information in a cultural and aged-appropriate approach.
She pledged UNFPA’s continued support to the Ministry’s interventions geared towards Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
The Commissioner Gender and Women Affairs at the Ministry, Angela Nakafeero, revealed that Gender Based Violence had dropped from 51% in 2016 to 45% in the current national survey done by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. She however noted that sexual and work related violence had increased over the same period, which calls for more concerted efforts.
She sighted the entrenched patriarchal tendencies as the main driver for the sexual and work related violence.
“As a remedy, we have strengthened the male involvement to have men and boys that support gender equality,” Nakafeero said.
Dr. Otieno implored the Ministry and Government at large to consider driving behavioral change at an early age if the fight against Gender Based Violence is to bear more results.
The meeting was also attended by the UNFPA Deputy Representative, Mr. Daniel Alemu and technical staff from both UNFPA and the Ministry’s department of Gender and Women Affairs.