By Rev. Willy Akena.
The Provincial Mothers Union President Rev Dr. Edidah Mary Mujinya together with the Provincial Mothers Union Worker Mrs Sara Kasule were guests during the official launching of 16 days of activism against gender based Violence campaign.
The Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda the Rt. Rev Johnson Gakumba while launching this activity in the Diocese called upon the participants to actively involve themselves in the fight against gender Based Violence in the Diocese.
The Bishop said because of the war that was in Northern Uganda there are many challenges facing the people in the Diocese. Many people are hostile and can easily get annoyed and fight.
The bishop appealed to members to make sure girls are given opportunity to study. He castigated some parents who give their daughters in marriage at an early age to stop the practice. “Bring women in leadership position” the Bishop said, He challenged women who are majority to make sure women are elected into position of leadership including priests as well as Bishops.
The Provincial Mothers Union Presidents said many men are not working hard enough and that some cultures leave most of the work to women. The MU president also challenged women especially the working class or professional against hiring house girls. Citing her own example she said for the last 22 years she has had no single house maid. “You bring a village girl who does not know any thing :- from cooking, mopping, ironing and general house hold cores, but after one year this poor girl is able to do much better work than even your own children.
Quoting Ephesians 5:25-30 the MU presidents said men must love their wives and women are to submit to the men. Saying this does not mean that the women are to be look down upon. They need to complement each other. She further said submission is power in itself.
The District Gender office Mrs Akumu Christine appealed to men and everybody to put an affirmative action in order to uplift the women to a certain level .She added that all sectors must put in place gender friendly facilities e.g the front desk in a school must be gender sensitive so that the girls who sits infront do not become agents of sexual arousement. Even in the production sector women must participate in all areas including sale and purchase in the family, not only garden work. Christine appealed to women to accept men to be partners in projects or other activities that women are involved in. In another related development Christine informed participants that some sub counties in Uganda, education of the boy child is very low like around lake Kyoga, and so many girls have also gone to school.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991.
The campaign runs from 25th November to 10th December annually. The dates chosen include, November 25, the International Day against Violence against Women and December 10, the International Human Rights day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. The 16 –day period also highlights other significant dates including December 1, which is World AIDS day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre of 1989.
The 16 Days Campaign is observed by actors in government, civil society, local communities and development partners to organize and speak out for increased attention to the prevalence and occurrence of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and to call for action to prevent GBV and respond appropriately to incidence of GBV. The Global theme for 2011: From Peace in the home to peace in the World; Let’s Challenge militarism and end violence against women.
The National theme for Uganda: From Peace in the Home to Peace in the Nation: end violence against women.
In yet another related development the Diocesan Secretary Rev. Canon Ayella Okot Othniel Labeja said having all the documents like the Provincial gender Policy, Acholi Cultural policy, House of Bishops resolution and many others and do not put them in practice is like having a decent house but empty.
The staff of the Diocese of Northern Uganda had a rare opportunity of playing football as a way of saying together they are willing and ready to advocate for prevention of Violence against Women.