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Ugandan women living in fear despite government peace plan

Women's Task Force members meet female councillors and community leaders in Katakwi

Women's Task Force members meet female councillors and community leaders in Katakwi

Womankind’s partner Isis-WICCE is working in the north and north-eastern regions of Uganda to promote women’s participation in the peace-building and recovery process related to the official armed conflict. Despite the official end of the armed conflict in northern Uganda, a long-standing boundary dispute between the Teso and Karamoja regions is threatening the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP).

Women and the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan

In 2008, following the collapse of the Juba peace process, the government ofUganda responded to the challenges in the northern region by developing the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP). The PRDP establishes the guiding principles, the institutional framework and the strategic objectives for any future peace building, recovery and development interventions in the greater northern region of Uganda. The goal of the PRDP is to consolidate peace and lay the foundations for recovery and development. A review of the PRDP by Isis-WICCE revealed that it contained little to specifically address women’s needs and their role in the recovery process.

To ensure that women’s needs are highlighted and addressed the Women’s Task Force for a Gender Responsive PRDP was constituted in March 2009. Its main objective is to engage the women’s movement in the implementation, monitoring and follow-up of the PRDP to ensure that women’s needs, interests and rights become a priority for the peace, recovery and development efforts in north and north-eastern Uganda.

The Women’s Task Force hold a dialogue meeting

In September, Isis-WICCE organised a 2-day dialogue meeting in Katakwi district for the Women’s Task Force with Councillors and community leaders. The objective of the meeting was to improve the participation of women at district level decision-making through sharing the task force’s monitoring report with Councillors and PRDP planners and local leaders. The meeting revealed that the ongoing conflict is keeping the area underdeveloped. The continuous insecurity undermines the objectives of the PRDP.

The strategy is to use the task force’s monitoring report to influence district planning to address women’s needs and concerns. However, what the dialogue meeting revealed was how gender-based violence impacts communities, and prevents women’s participation in and benefit from government programmes such as the PRDP. The women leaders also identified that in addition to the raids related to the ongoing conflict, their communities are affected by gender-based violence which has left many women dead. “Women are overworked, made to produce without family planning and on top of that, men beat them, torture them to the extent of killing them” laments Joyce Aluyat, a female councillor at the district.

These women have little access to justice when it comes to gender-based violence. “Even if a woman has a justifiable cause, her case never passes through and because of this many women die and others tortured but perpetrators go without prosecution,” says Rehema Acom, a community leader. The councillors present at the meeting pledged to put in place by-laws to curtail violence against women in their communities.

Post by Helen Kezie-Nwoha, Isis-WICCE Programme Manager

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Post by Cristiana Conte