How Nyaka Is Helping To End Gender-Based Violence In Uganda
Sexual and gender-based violence remains a critical socio-economic issue in Uganda, with alarming statistics highlighting its devastating effects on individuals and communities.
According to the Annual Police Crime Report, 2020, 18,872 victims of domestic violence were recorded: 3,408 male adults, 13,145 female adults, 1,133 male juveniles and 1,186 female juveniles.
The Ministry of Health-DHIS-2 2017-2020 further reports a consistent increase of SGBV cases from 79,888 in 2018 to 82,401 in 2019 (3.1 percent increase) then by 9.8 percent from 82,401 in 2019 to 90,489 in 2020. The pre and post-COVID-19 situation has also been characteristic of increases in SGBV cases, both nationally and globally.
Lockdowns and other mobility restrictions left many women and girls trapped with their abusers, isolated from social contact and support networks. Increased economic precarity has further limited many women’s ability to leave abusive situations. COVID-driven economic and social instability has in many communities heightened the risk of child marriage and domestic violence.
Nyaka has been working to combat sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the district of Kanungu since 2015. We have supported over 600 survivors, facilitated the conviction of over 60 perpetrators and have carried out training and awareness-raising activities in partnership with the community as a whole.
Over 500,000 people have received the message “Enough is Enough” and hundreds of community members, including grandmothers, grandfathers, boda boda riders and local professionals have been trained as community champions against SGBV. In March 2023, we expanded these services to Rukungiri district, with the opening of a healing center at Kebisoni Health Center IV. Nyaka’s Healing Centers provide SGBV survivors with appropriate first-line medical and psychosocial support services.
Nyaka holds an annual walk against SGBV with the aim of raising awareness, sharing details of support services, and encouraging community involvement in the prevention and reporting of SGBV. As a result of the efforts by Nyaka to engage communities in the fight against SGBV, 87% of community members in Kanungu are now willing to report cases of violence against women and children, with 83% now aware that survivors are victims of circumstances and not self-seekers.
This year the walk began with the opening of Nyaka’s 5th Healing Center in Kebisoni Health Center IV in the Rukungiri district. Thereafter, participants, led by Chief Walker, and Ms Mary Borgman, the PEPFAR Country Coordinator, embarked on a symbolic walk through Rukungiri town to demonstrate their dedication to raising awareness about SGBV.
This was followed by a gathering at Rukungiri Stadium, where the community was addressed by community leaders and experts, with presentations and performances from students, grandmothers, and musicians including Ykee Benda, Zamani, and MC Kachaina.