In partnership with the Gender ministry and UN Women in Uganda, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) illuminated The Source of the Nile Bridge in Jinja city with the orange colour to launch the #16DaysOfActivism that call for efforts to End Violence Against Women and Girls.
The launch created awareness of the continued prevalence of violence and clarified the urgent need to end all forms of violence against women.
The remarks shared highlighted the urgency behind this work, as donors rallied behind UN Women with evidence and the community backed up that evidence through testimony. Government representatives also shared their commitments to the cause.
As guests arrived, dance entertainment and videos played in the background illustrating the work conducted in Uganda to support survivors of violence and efforts to prevent all forms of discrimination against women. The UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu introduced the United Nations Resident Coordinator Susan Namondo to make remarks on behalf of one United Nations.
The UNRC shared: “Despite the commendable efforts of the Government – including legal reforms, increasing access to justice, and improving services – high rates of violence persist. This is costing society. In 2021 alone the Uganda Police Force received over 16,000 reports of sex-related offences – one report every 30 minutes.”
On the sideline of the launch, civil society organisation Frauen Initiative Uganda (supported by UN Women) held an exhibition entitled “What I Was Wearing.”
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development concluded his remarks at the launch with reflections on the “What I Was Wearing” exhibition, noting: “We should not agonize, but organise.” [when it comes to ending violence against women and girls].
The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda, spoke on behalf of the development partners and donor community in Uganda, sharing recent statistics on teenage pregnancy.
To back her, the Chairperson of the National Women’s Council Faridah Kibowa and the Honourable Minister of Gender Betty Amongi reinforced with figures from Uganda Bureau of Statistics and emphasised the timely importance of this campaign.
This launch was a call to action and triggered thinking among participants visiting the exhibition and bearing witness to the remarks, the shared feeling was around urgency and the need to amplify this cause. Representation from the United Nations family, the diplomatic community and the government highlighted the need for concerted efforts to take urgent action.
The launch left participants asking “What Can I Do?” to make the world safer for women and girls. With conclusive remarks and commitments to continue work to end violence in Uganda, the campaign was officially launched with a symbolic cake-cutting and signing of the Commitment Board.