On the 02ND July 2020 from 4:00 – 5:00Pm Tunaweza Foundation hosted a webinar on gender -based violence (GBV) faced by Girls and Youth with Disabilities during Covid-19 Lockdown in Uganda with Support from UN Women Uganda.
The aim of the Webinar was to provide an opportunity for sharing and discussing different approaches and possibilities to Gender-Based Violence faced Girls and Youth with Disabilities.
During the period of the national lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, various public and private sector institutions, the media, experts and activists in the gender sector insisted that gender-based violence had increased as a result of the national lock-down. However, the gender sector lacks the necessary institutional capacity and resources to develop an effective system for collecting, storing and sharing accurate and reliable statistics on gender-based violence in order to guide effective national intervention strategies.
It is for this reason that the Tunaweza Foundation invited speakers and participants to engage on how to improve the country’s institutional capacity to develop an effective system for collecting accurate, reliable and gender-disaggregated data on Gender -Based Violence and involving Persons with Disabilities in decision making. We believe that this debate will help generate insights and ideas to lead the country towards developing the necessary interventions towards resolving this institutional weakness and as part of supporting the vision of the United Nations of 2030 Agenda ‘’ Leaving No one Behind”.
- Patrick Sebintu – Behavior change & Communication Specialist at Straight Talk Foundation
- Naome Akwee – Disability Advocate
Mr. Tonny Musisi – Administrator, Tunaweza Foundation
Sign Language Interpreter
Ms. Olivia Nakigozi – Sign Language Interpreter
Tunaweza Foundation envisaged that the discussion will assist the organization and its stakeholders to engage the relevant policy makers in developing a national institutional capacity to collect, store and share accurate and reliable data/statistics to enable the country to deal effectively with the scourge of gender-based violence faced by Women and Girls with Disabilities.
The discussion was opened with a short introduction from the Executive Director of Tunaweza Foundation giving a brief introduction about the purpose of the webinar and the outcomes expected.
“Support or assistance for Girls and Youth with Disabilities experiencing domestic violence was not classified as an essential service that may continue when the country went on lockdown said Patrick Sebintu and this indicated a rise in the number of cases of domestic violence and new challenges faced by women victims in accessing justice.
Patrick Sebintu observed that because of the limited movement during the lockdown, NGOs are having a hard time reaching Girls and youths with Disabilities experiencing domestic violence who do not have phones or any devices to access the internet.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted existing inequalities and systemic patterns of discrimination rooted in our society said Naome Akwee, Disability Advocate.
Naome Akwee also observed that for Girls and Youth with Disabilities who have been exposed to gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of violence on their lives intersects with women’s experience of the lock-down (isolation, fear for the future, increased domestic work load, mental load, career loss, income loss, reproductive health rights issues, etc.). The psychological consequences resulting from this combination will emerge in the long run, even after the end of the lockdown and of the current emergency.
Restrictive measures have interfered with all activities related to institutional responses to violence against women, with respect to prevention, protection and prosecution, but also as regards inter-institutional co-operation among relevant actors due to the strict measures imposed on movement. said Naome Akwee
Naome Akwee also shared that the school lockdown has exposed girls, not only to a disruption in their education, but also to sexual abuse and sexual exploitation at home and some have faced early marriages and pregnancies.
Patrick Sebintu advised In times of crisis, special attention should be placed on the language used to frame the phenomenon of violence against women and he encouraged participants to always listen to the victims before jumping to conclusions.
Patrick Sebintu pointed out that there has been developed online services to report, prevent and combat gender-based violence against women for example the Safe Bangle an innovative technology developed by Mr. Kamya Ambrose a YALI Alumni.
During the webinar one of the participants raised a question and a comment regarding Autism and how it has been neglected as a form of Disability in Uganda.
Participants applauded Tunaweza for being inclusive in its webinar by having a sign language Interpreter.
The webinar was concluded on a word of prayer from one of the participants.