Sunday, October 8th, 2023 | By

Local leaders in Albertine region have been urged to be allies in ending gender based violence against women and girls.

According to 2022 Police Annual Crime report,  Albertine region registered the highest number of domestic Violence cases in 2022 with 1,841 cases registered out of 17,698 cases country wide. The report further shows that more women and girls as victims of domestic violence compared to men.

Fred Lukumu, the LCV chairperson for Buliisa district attributes the high cases of domestic violence to land conflicts, oil and gas developments and impacts of COVID-19pandemic that have led to displacements, poverty and food insecurity.

Mr. Lukumu notes that to tackle this challenge, both women and boys should be involved in finding solutions to eradicate violence.

“Not only women but also men should see violence as unacceptable in society and be willing to stand up against it,” said Lukumu.

He appreciated men who are already engaged in conflict resolution and mediation in Buliisa under different platforms. He applauded National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) for empowering both men and women in ending gender based violence and solving conflicts through community safe spaces.

From 2021, NAPE established community safe spaces to handle cases of gender based violence under a European Funded project “Deepening grassroots women’s rights, participation and economic livelihood opportunities in the era of expanding of oil and gas extraction and COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda” in Hoima, Kikuube and Buliisa districts

According to Rajab Bwengye, the projects coordinator, both men and women have been trained to identify and address gender based violence through mediation, counseling, and referral and follow up to police in 20 community safe spaces established in three districts.

Eddie Watuma, one of the community based caretakers in Buliisa toen council community safe space, says men have a responsibility to take the lead and influence their peers in fighting against the stereotypes in community that cause gender inequality.

He noted also noted that men who are victims of gender based violence find it easy to report cases to their fellow men who are taking part in counseling and conflict resolution.

“During conflict solving sessions, we have learnt that men need sensitization and involvement if we need to end violence. Some men think that beating women is normal because that’s how society brought them up. But when we sit them down and counsel them, they turn out to be change agents,” said Watuma.

According to Bwengye, cases recorded by caretakers at all the 20 established safe spaces in all the 3 operational districts are 1,186 out of which 953 were resolved at safe space sites.  He notes that others have been referred to police for further management contributing to a success rate of 80%.