Monday, 28 April 2014


Faced with several women and children rights challenges like forced early marriages, child neglect and desertion, property/land grabbing, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), coupled with ignorance on how to address them, the women and children in Buhweju district had lost hope to life until Community Awareness and Response on AIDS (CARA) a Non Government Organization focused on creating a Uganda free from HIV/AIDS and poverty intervened.
To address the above challenges CARA with support from Independent development Fund (IDF) employed different strategies to empower the community with the ability to manage and solve their own problems through its project Promoting the rights of women and children for HIV Prevention in Buhweju district”. Specifically CARA strengthened institutional capacities at local and district levels to enhance promotion of women and children’s rights in the district. This was done through training paralegals (human rights activists) and orienting local council leaders about their roles and responsibilities in the promotion of women and children’s rights. In total, CARA trained 120 adults as Human Rights Activists, 140 Children Peer educators and oriented 120 local council leaders.
Graph showing the trend in reporting of cases on violence against women

The Human rights activists and peer educators were charged with identifying, handling, reporting and following up on cases of defilement, child labour, child neglect, wife battery, rape, land grabbing, assault, failure to take children to school, denial of widows and orphans to inherit property left behind for them, to mention but a few.
During the trainings,  channels of reporting cases were emphasized, and, by the end of the project  there was an increase in the number of cases reported on human right violations; at least 80% of the community members and the children had known where, how and when to report what conflict.
A survey baseline report at CARA indicates that at the beginning of the project in 2011 only 10 cases of women rights violations were reported quarterly and that by 2012 the number of reported cases had shot to at least 50 cases. By end of 2011 itself, reports indicated 102 cases reported at CARA office, 59 referred to different authorities that included the police, Community Development Offices, and probation and welfare offices.
In a nutshell the project achieved its intended objectives and created positive impact; through the capacity building activities conducted, improved knowledge and skills of communities especially the trained peer educators and local leaders in handling human rights violation cases and increased awareness and dissemination of Human Rights messages among women, men and children was registered, for example; the project had targeted to reach 33,460 people with HR and HIV prevention messages, but by the end of the project, 103,525 people had been reached. The utilization of these messages is seen to have led to increased reporting and action on these cases. Consequently the number of GBV and child abuse cases reduced significantly as illustrated in trend analysis above. This suggests that respect, fulfillment and observance of children and women’s rights increased. As a result, the beneficiaries are living in peace and harmony and their quality of life has improved significantly.
Lesson Learned:
Women’s enthusiasm to learn and to cause positive change should never be underestimated. They should always be involved and empowered with the right information to change their situations.