Diakonia - People change the world

Regional programme: Lake Victoria Rights

This programme is no longer active.


A successful programme

Diakonia's Lake Victoria Rights Programme (LVRP) has succeeded in changing attitudes towards people living with HIV and AIDS from stigmatization to participation, empowered religious leaders to successfully address taboos and misconceptions about the epidemic, decreased cases of domestic violence and child abuse, and allowed many women to gain economic and social independence through alternative income generating activities, as well as savings and loans.

Through participation in the programme, members of the fishing communities have begun to view themselves as rights holders, claiming and demanding their human rights from authorities at the traditional level and  government level. This has resulted in a more systematic advocacy focus on sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), and access to justice at county, national and regional levels.

An integrated approach addresses many human rights issues

Other human rights issues that the Lake Victoria region faces include widespread gender inequality, low levels of democratic participation, limited access to justice and a lack of access to decision-making processes. These are factors that the Lake Victoria programme aims to address through an integrated approach comprised of reproductive health promotion, access to justice, and sustainable economic empowerment.

Unique approaches towards Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

LVRP places a special focus on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for communities and marginalized groups living around Lake Victoria. The programme incorporates a paralegal approach, male involvement and a faith based approach to promote and protect the SRHR of all community members.

Faith Based Approach

LVRP continuously engages Faith Based Organizations in working on SRHR issues. This is based on the realization that they are unique, insightful and valuable partners due to their community mandate, legitimacy and extensive outreach. Faith Based Organizations mobilize, influence people’s behaviour and attitude, and have elaborate structures at all levels critical for advocacy engagement.  Of the six Diakonia partners at the Lake Victoria region, five are Faith Based Organizations.

Male involvement

In order to increase the impact of the SRHR work, including a continued focus on HIV and AIDS, an important component in the programme is the active engagement of men and traditional leaders, who are often overlooked when it comes to SRHR. Male involvement is important for promoting access to SRH for both men and women. This means not only men supporting their partners to access SRH but also promoting access to SRH for men by addressing male reproductive health.  

The paralegal approach

The training of paralegals is conducted in matters of civil and criminal law, and regional human rights principles. This is a key strategic approach in enhancing access to justice in the Lake Victoria Basin, especially in the beach fronts and islands where services like lawyers, courts, police and prison stations are far away. The paralegals provide legal aid and awareness to enhance attitude changes, access to critical legal services and access to administrative justice. Paralegals play a critical role in mobilisation and being change agents through sensitization, investigation, dispute resolution, whistle blowing and advocacy from a rights-based approach.

Capacity building

Diakonia conducts and supports trainings under the SRHR, economic empowerment and access to justice themes. This capacity building of  partner organizations and rights holders has led to increased community awareness and policy responses by both rights holders and duty bearers on matters of health, governance, economy and justice. Diakonia also conducts leadership and governance trainings to partner organizations as well as capacity assessments in order to strengthen the institutions.

Read more about the Lake Victoria Rights programme