According to Luwero police reports, feedback shared by the Community Development Officer (CDO), community leaders and the Luwero District Gender Officer, Kamira Sub County and Town council remain the highest Gender Based Violence (GBV) hot spot in Luwero district. The COVID19 pandemic and restrictions put in place to curb its spread could also be linked to the exacerbated numbers. This resulted into low social economic growth and development, family breakdown and low participation of women in community development programs.
With funding from Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS), NAWOU engaged with religious and women community leaders to conduct awareness on GBV as a major hindrance towards realization of women’s economic justice through the community radio approach. The community leaders selected to sensitize the communities possessed relevant knowledge and information on GBV and also part of the GBV community response committees.
Community radio was chosen mainly because it serves a definite community and is a form of public-service broadcasting. It reflects the culture, ideology and thoughts, encourages participation, norms and values of a particular community while addressing social issues at grass root level.
The community radio sensitization took place in parishes of Kabunyatta, Kamira, Mazzi and Katagwe-Kikandwa. These communities were selected due to their high levels of ignorance on socio-economic rights, economic backwardness and the high prevalence of violence against women and girls considering their remoteness. The shows intended to create massive awareness on GBV and women’s economic rights to support communities effectively respond to emerging cases and to curb the outbreak of violence.
“The community reach out had a good reception and invoked listener participation,” said Joyce Nakaggwa, Chairperson Luwero district network. “From our reports, as community leaders, we received over whelming phone calls from listeners supplementing, demanding, disagreeing, reporting and seeking assistance proving the messages we were communicating were triggering thoughtful conversations.”
“Working with existing community resources and structures is highly effective and economical in spreading information and sensitizing communities against GBV,” stated Monica Nantume, Program Officer NAWOU. “Through the approach of engaging community women leaders to sensitize against GBV, NAWOU reached over 2770 households and 8310 individuals within a short period of time hence contributing towards changing negative attitudes that escalate the problem. As a result, this approach will be continued and replicated in other areas for collective efforts against gender based violence.”
On average, each leader received about five (5) phone calls per day for over a period of nine (9) days which totaled up to a hundred and eighty (180) phone calls for the entire sensitization process.
“Women at Work: Economic Justice for all” project implemented in Luwero district within 13 sub-counties is supported by Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS) with the overall project goal being strengthened realization of women’s economic participation and other economic rights.