Side by Side Initiatives in Uganda

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The decision to establish a national Ugandan chapter of Side by Side Faith Movement for Gender Justice was established during the engagement with participants from a secular women´s organization Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), and faith based institutions including; Uganda Christian University, Nkozi University, Church of Uganda and Uganda Joint Christian Council among others. The reasons for the partnership under the SbS forum was to benefit from the different capacities and opportunities resident with the diverse institutions while advocating for gender justice.

One such area for partnership which was envisaged, was the joint advocacy for the passing of the Marriage Bill following a stalemate for over 50 years in the Parliament of Uganda. The SbS Uganda chapter hopes to draw on the prophetic role and the power of the Pulpit to ensure that gender justice is a reality in Uganda.

As follow up to the commitments by faith leaders to have a more visible role and voice in promoting positive masculinity and the respect for women’s rights, CoU-PDR organised weeklong activities to mark the 16 Days of Activism with activities ranging from a gender justice run, policy breakfast meeting, media advocacy and university debates to bring on board the younger people within the higher institutions of learning and sustain the agenda on the protection and advancement of women’s rights.

Guests at the opening devotional

 

In marking the 16 Days of Activism which annually takes place between the 25th of November (the UN International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women) and the 10th of December (the UN International Human Rights Day), the Anglican Church (Church of Uganda), which spearheaded the country´s ´16 Days of Activism with the faith and Gender Justice Perspective´ rallied the different faith leaders and the general public to make bold statements on injustice and challenged the status quo. The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda the Most Reverend Stanley Ntagali presided over the policy breakfast with a call to the church to speak out against gender based injustice. CoU-PDR took the discussions to the institutions of higher learning through gender justice themed debate and the students used the platform to share about the gender equality and implored faith leaders to take an active role in challenging gender based discrimination (GBD), and secure the rights of both girls and women given the role of faith in society where over 90% of people align to religion. The Archbishop also took on media advocacy campaigns to draw attention to the need to address inequalities in the access to education for girls.

The events were climaxed with a run which brought on board politicians, youth, CSOs, faith leaders and refugee communities in a voice of solidarity against gender based violence.

As faith leaders take a more active role in the development agenda in the Uganda Context, it is hoped that gradually the barriers to women and girls realising their full potential will be dealt with and the reality of a just society achieved.

Credit – CoU-PDR participants together with a faith leader during the gender justice run.

 

The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda during the prayer breakfast meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Terrie Robinson | Tuesday, April 10th, 2018
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