Renewed engagement for gender equality in Uganda
The Embassy of Sweden has renewed its partnership with Diakonia in Uganda for the upcoming three and a half years. The support aims to increase citizen engagement in democratic processes and to improve respect for human rights, with a special focus on women’s rights.
Gender inequality remains a big challenge
Uganda is facing serious challenges when it comes to protecting the democratic space for its citizens.
Gender inequality remains a big challenge due to the deeply rooted patriarchal norms and values. Most gender indicators point at a deficit regarding possibilities for women to claim their rights. Sexual and domestic violence is widespread with 51 per cent of women having experienced some form of sexual and physical violence (DHS 2011).
Diakonia in Uganda
The Diakonia Uganda programme 2015-2018 will address these challenges in many ways. One important strategy is:
To strengthen the capacity of local partners to deliver evidence based, rights assured and safe programmes at community and national levels.
Diakonia will build on its comparative advantage, which lies in its commitment in practice to developing results oriented partnerships to address the structural causes of discrimination, injustice and inequality. This will be done through practical interventions and through advocacy.
Previous programmes show positive results
The Embassy of Sweden has had a partnership with Diakonia since they set up an office in Uganda in 2008. Some of the results from the previous phases of cooperation include increased reporting on human rights violations, increased awareness on human rights among citizens, increased number of health workers in clinics as a result of improved community social accountability and a dramatic decrease in Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Amudat district.
Diakonia's partner organizations also began the journey to institutionalize gender equality at their workplaces and in programmes, for example by working with male champions and enhancing community policy adjustments for gender equality.
Increased focus on women's rights
This phase of the programme will have a stronger focus on securing women’s control over productive resources as well as engaging men in the struggle towards more equal gender relations by addressing gender based violence, among others. This will uplift but also positively change the status of women and girls by addressing the root causes of the injustices: poverty, marginalisation and discrimination; patriarchy, religion and culture that promotes oppression and indignity of women.
These priorities are well in line both with the Swedish Development Strategy for Uganda and the Swedish Feminist Foreign Policy.
Addressing the root causes
Rights holders will continue to be empowered to carry on working with human rights defence and in monitoring compliance by duty bearers:
"Addressing the root cause of gender inequalities like unequal power relations and violence against women is crucial for the advancement of all women and girls in society", emphasizes Urban Andersson, the Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda. "Male engagement is critical; men and boys are important as advocates and stakeholders to break the silence, raise their voices and take action. I am glad to partner with Diakonia in this important area".
Programme involves at least ten partners
The Diakonia programme in Uganda will continue to work in the underserved areas of Karamoja, Acholi, Lango and Teso in cooperation with at least ten partner organizations.