Strategic Objective: To mobilize individuals and community responses for prevention, response, and networking against violence against women and children and promote access to justice

Violence against women and children are global epidemics. At least one-third of women across the globe experience VAW and the health and development consequences that this violence brings. VAW and VAC cause great harm and cost to individuals, families, communities and governments, including multiple and long lasting consequences for rights, health, education, productivity and participation in public spheres. For intimate partner violence alone, selected country estimates suggest that out-of-pocket expenditures, lost income and reduced productivity can amount to up to 4.3% GDP-more than what many governments spend on primary education. A 2016 global prevalence study estimated that up to 1 billion children aged 2-17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year. Experiencing violence in childhood impacts lifelong health and well-being.

In Uganda the general perception and belief in most of rural communities and especially Karamoja is that women are of a low status and cannot make decisions that bring development to the society. As a result, they are often excluded from decision making of the family and community. It is believed that the best thing women can do is to stay at home to work for the family. A woman would not therefore be respected or listened to in any public fora. Continuing violations of women’s rights in Uganda is also linked to women’s lack of economic empowerment. Women hardly own any land and the law prevents them from inheriting property.

The patriarchal and male-dominated society of Karamoja in North-Eastern Uganda has marginalized women and placed them in a hopeless and powerless position that the women themselves believe they are second class citizens to men without having the right to speech, political participation and representation. They for example don't attend public gatherings, even if they did; they are not allowed to speak. Similarly, they would not vote for candidates of their choices since they are often directed on whom to vote for by the men. Women don't compete or stand for directly elected positions of leadership as these are believed to be reserved for men. The women don't demand for accountability from duty bearers for the services provided to them since they are not aware and articulate enough to do so. True participation of the poor rural women is therefore far from being realized. Generally, women in most Ugandan rural communities are ignorant and lack awareness and information on their rights in society.

The Discrimination against women is mostly occasioned by gender inequality, social norms and entrenched structural inequalities and laws. It is essential therefore, to understand the drivers of inequalities and the context in which they flourish and to help identify ways in which we can sustained social change to end violence against women. Our belief as AIDI is that if government and other women activists are serious about tackling discrimination and violence, these issues must be addressed as a matter of priority.