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Using Media and Dialogue to fight against GBV against women and girls Summary
MFA implemented a project to advance women’s human rights with a focus on ending Domestic violence and Gender Based Violence in the most affected regions in Uganda, through using media and dialogue. The project was in response to the reported significant increase violence against women and girls during COVID19 lockdowns. By May 2020 Uganda Police registered over 3000 cases of domestic violence against women and girls. Women facing GBV were even more accessible to their aggressors during the lockdown or as a consequence of restrictions. In addition there was a notable rise in cases of defilement, rape and teenage pregnancies which shot up in the wake of the pandemic . With schools closed many young girls were exposed to unsafe conditions both at home and in their communities.MFA used media and dialogues in the most affected regions- Northern, Busoga and Western, to address the problem of Violence against Women and girls in those regions. Through community dialogues, radio skits and talk shows, there was a raise in awareness and increased understanding on women’s rights. The project also increased conversation on Gender Based Violence and discrimination against women and girls. By engaging leaders and duty bearers in these actions, there was enhanced accountability and follow up in upholding the rights of women, and promoting them. There was an increase of women’s voices in the media through use of dedicated media spaces on partner regional radio stations where women shared their experiences. MFA and partner community based organizations sensitized the public on the rights of woemen and girls, and rallied for support to end gender based violence.
“My neighbor would send her 13 year old daughter to look for food for the family because her husband had stopped her from working yet he was not providing for them. The girl ended up sleeping with men for money, now she is pregnant. Who is to blame?” A participant in the community dialogue in Jinja.
“Poverty is the main cause of GBV here. We have a saying in lusoga that obwavu lumbe meaning poverty is death. Women despise their poor husbands, this angers the men into beating them up to humble them, “Samwiri Walube
“Women get loans to pay school fees for children while the men spend money in bars and on other women. The men turn off their phones and leave home till the wife borrows money to return the children to school.” Kasifa Kibirige, Vice chairperson for women
“Men give women money/capital for businesses but those refuse to contribute to the home even when the businesses are profiting. Instead, they save up and buy property like land and houses but do not contribute to the development of their marital homes. When men discover this they beat up their wives, “ Mujuni Steven a trader, LC finance
“Couples should solve problems from the bedroom first. The bedroom is the central office of the home. Families should also have weekly meetings between Children and parents. Listen to each other in the home.” Serugo Isma
“We had another successful radio talk show las night, more engaging this time with a good number of listeners calling in to report GBV cases they had witnessed in their communities. On the panel we had a police Officer in charge of child protection and Family unit from Mbarara Central police station who took contacts of the callers to follow up on the cases brought forward on the show”, Juliet Rukwanzi, Project Officer, Integrated Community “Development Initiative (ICODI),Mbarara
“On Mighty Fire FM, very painful stories of defilement were shared by relatives of victims. A man who defiled an 11 year old nanny who had been brought by his wife to take care of their baby bribed the police with 4 million shillings and is a free man now. That is just one of the 15 cases shared by listeners on today’s show. The police officer has got some of their numbers to follow up on the cases.” Francis Watum , Talk show host, Mighty Fire FM, Kitgum
“Men would call in to discuss serious issues to advocate for women’s rights. While women would call in and laugh about issues like child marriages because some of them had been married off when they were still young. Female callers would blame the victim, even on issues like rape and defilement. We need to speak out more to empower women. Thank you Media Focus on Africa for supporting us on this show, we are getting somewhere with advocating for women’s rights.” Rosemary Wakesho, Programs Officer, Anti-Domestic Violence Center (ADOVIC),Jinja
5 community dialogues with 40 participants each.
9 radio presenters trained on producing edutainment programs for promoting social change
9 community based representatives training on conducting dialogues against GBV
“Speaking up against GBV publicly, and giving GBV victims’ voice is so fulfilling