Reply To: Reflect and discuss: VAW prevention principles

Regina Kacwamu

    I am familiar with a programme on women’s leadership and GBV prevention in rural Uganda, implemented by one of the leading women’s rights organizations. The programme ensure facilitates capacity building for women and men champions in the community who reach out to other women and men in the community on women’s rights and identify and support them to recognize and address violence.

    During orientation and capacity building sessions, the trained women and male champions analyze gender and power dynamics in the community and suggest context-specific strategies of approaching these conversations in the community in a way that will not escalate violence against women and girls.

    In the capacity building sessions, the women and male champions are taught about gender concepts, different oppressing powers such as patriarchy, social norms and masculinity and how they reinforce violence against women. This way, they have conceptual grounding and confidence to discuss and interrogate these issues in their community dialogues with the wider community.

    The programme also incorporates male champions who reach out to fellow men in the community to educate them about women’s rights, GBV and the importance of supporting women to participate in leadership roles in their community. This way, the programme meaningfully involves women as well as enhances the participation of men in preaching positive male masculinities as a safety strategy to reduce backlash against empowered women. The programme incorporates a GBV response component where it supports linkages of survivors of violence to health, counselling and law enforcement and justice services.

    The organization has an institutional development objective where the staff are capacitated on VAW, gender, women and empowerment issues before they transfer these to the community.