Diakonia has been working in the Lake Victoria region since 2006. The Lake Victoria Programme (LVLP) has contributed to a number of improvements in the livelihoods of communities living around the lake.
A successful programme
Diakonia's Lake Victoria Programme (LVLP) 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.
Through participation in the programme, members of communities have begun to view themselves as rights holders, claiming and demanding their human rights from those in power.
These are but a few of the many positive results achieved in the five years during which Diakonia and its partners have implemented the Lake Victoria Livelihoods Programme (LVLP) with the explicit objective of improving sustainable livelihoods for the fishing communities of Lake Victoria.
An increased focus on human rights
The programme, that in 2011 was extended for an additional three years (2012-14), is now being refined by building upon past experiences, strengthening a human rights based approach and increasing the focus on human rights fulfilment, in particular in relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The programme will shift from a focus on livelihoods to stronger focus on human rights and is called the Lake Victoria Rights Programme (LVRP) starting from 2012.
An integrated approach addresses many human rights issues
Other human rights issues include widespread gender inequality, low levels of democratic participation and a lack of access to decision-making processes. These are factors that the programme aimed to address through an integrated approach including HIV and AIDS prevention and mitigation, social justice and human rights, as well as economic empowerment.
A new focus: SRHR for marginalised groups
Diakonia’s future work in the region, through the Lake Victoria Rights Programme (LVRP) has incorporated a clearer human rights based approach, and in particular a focus on SRHR for marginalised groups.
This is a direct result of the fact that communities have begun to view themselves as rights holders, identifying human rights as crucial to create long term and sustainable improvement of livelihoods in the region.
Involving the men
In order to increase impact of SRHR work, including a continued focus on HIV and AIDS, an important component will be actively engaging men, a group often overlooked when it comes to SRHR. Another often excluded and marginalised group are young men and women, hence a focus on youth involvement throughout the programme.
Training of paralegals
Training of paralegals and their work with legal aid and attitude change will be continued and integrated into other programme components.
A regional network will strengthen the rights holders
In order to enhance human rights enjoyment around the lake a regional component will be added, Diakonia will aim to facilitate a regional network of fishing communities, letting their concerns form the basis of advocacy and lobby initiatives towards local, national and regional duty bearers.
Finally, in order to enable participation of communities in human rights empowerment and advocacy activities the economic empowerment programme will be continued. This includes support to income generating activities making sustainable use of local resources in order to diversify sources of income, reduce reliance on the lake and lessen poverty.
Boats on the shore of Lake Victoria