SOURCE: The Independent

ActionAid Uganda has held a one-day intergenerational dialogue in the Lokales sub-county, Amudat district, and the main objective is to enhance the inter-generational relationship between men and boys, women, and girls, that is supportive of adolescent gender and Sexual Reproductive Health (SRHR).

One of the most common vices they are trying to fight is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Although FGM was declared illegal in 2010, the practice is still being conducted secretly. Susan Ikwakol the psychosocial support officer in Amudat said that the major aim is to have violence-free communities. “Within these discussions, we make sure the aspect of Gender Based Violence (GBV) comes out. How do the negative social norms affect women and girls who are mostly faced with GBV?”

Cheptalal Sewareng the woman councilor of Lokales sub-county said that FGM is the basis of GBV and that the only way to curb GBV, FGM needs to be addressed first. “I underwent FGM and it has affected my relationship with my husband and so have other women. Our husbands disrespect us, they can’t even move with us anywhere,” said Sewareng.

These intergenerational dialogues provide a platform for women and girls to voice and challenge child marriages as a violation of their rights through solidarity action toward denouncing child marriages and sharing their perspectives on the promotion of education, employment, livelihood, and talent development. The programs are geared towards nurturing progressive social norm change specifically in the Campaign to End child marriages and teenage pregnancies in Amudat.

With the support of key community influencers such as cultural and religious leaders, the campaign aims at dialogues with boys, men, women, and girls supporting inter-generational dialogues at the community level to engage boys, girls, women, and men in dialogues and consensus – building on alternatives to child marriage engage boys, girls, women and men in dialogues and consensus.

Susan Adimo, the Amudat Child and Family Protection Unit officer attributes the ongoing practice to a lack of security on porous borders bordering Uganda with Kenya on the side of Karamoja. ‘’Some of the girls are being taken to Kenya and get circumcised from that side’’ she says. Ikwakol said that for this to work, they involve community leaders, cultural leaders, religious leaders, and the sub-county leadership and health workers to talk about the dangers of sexual-based violence.

“When we came, there was less or no information about gender-based violence but we are grateful with the support from UNFPA and the project we have implemented, we have done a lot of sensitization in communities,” she said.

In Karamoja, the project is implemented in Amudat District and aimed at eliminating FGM and provision of integrated gender-based violence services in the district.

ActionAid established Amudat District GBV One-Stop Centre in 2021 and it has implemented various activities including the mobilization and training of Male Agent Groups and Female Agent Groups in 05 Sub Counties of Loroo, Kongorok, Abiliyep, Losidok, and Lokales.

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