Karamoja region (one of World’s poorest regions) being one of the areas with high cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Uganda, it has attracted the attention of several stakeholders who have came up with a number measures aimed at promoting a violence free society.
This region consists of seven districts (Kaabong, Abim, Nakapiripiti, Kotido, Napak, Moroto and Amudat) facing several problems like poverty,lack of better education facilities, poor road network, high number of Gender Based violence cases and gender inequality.
As one of the means of addressing Gender Based violence cases resulting from from gender inequality Action Aid International Uganda and it’s partners introduced Male Action Groups ( MAGs), the Social Change Agents who have done a great role in senstizing community members about issues of social norm transformation.
“Before joining the team in 2021, i used to seat at home as my wife used to do everything at home including fetching water, digging and taking care of the family as i used sat at home doing nothing. But after joining MAG team , our life has greatly changed because we now have our business in the trading center, we work together through sharing of responsibilities.” narrated Samuel Lokeno Petaa, 27, (MAG), resident of Naront, Amudat district.
He adds that although in their culture its women who take care of the family, their development has been admired by most members of the community from whom he has been able to mentor many that have also turnned into change agents.
“From our garden alone we sell produce to nearby communities and we use the same money to improve on our standards of living. I had 10 cows , but now they have increased to 60 in number. This has been as a result of the senstization i received from Action Aid.”
David Ariko ,28,resident of Put Loroo, Amudat district ,one of the reformed teenagers says that through the senstization which was offered to them, he realized that some cultural norms were keeping them (Pokotis) behind as other areas were developing.
“Earlier on , my wife used to give birth almost every year that passes, but having learnt about family planning , i escorted my wife to the health facility where she was introduced to this child spacing method and now we have a well spaced family.”
Ariko also added that he is working towards ensuring that he gathers enough money for his three children so that they can have access to best education which didn’t he wasn’t able to get back in the days.
Adiak Jacinta , 33, mother of eight, from Amudat town council reported that her husband used to assault her on almost a daily basis accusing her of baseless allegations which greatly affected her life.
“..lucky enough now our home is next to Action Aid International Uganda’s offices. I reported the matter and my husband was summoned, we sorted out the matter and my husband is now a reformed person.”
After the intervention of Action Aid and other stakeholders, everything changed in our home, we take care of all our children as you see and my husband provides almost everything at home now.
“I also supplement my husband’s income with some money i get from my business of stone crushing where i sell a truck of stones at a reasonable amount of one hundred and fifty thousand shillings.”
Suzan Ikwakol Pysco social support officer working with Action Aid in Amudat, pointed out that the one stop center was established in 2021 with support from UNFPA.
That during all the years the One stop center has existed, they receive several cases from the community with majority being physical assault and non maintenance. “We have assisted over 500 survivors to get justice through mediation, referrals and provision of legal support to those that need it in their cases.”
Some of the challenges in the area include; The highly deep rooted cultural beliefs like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Gender Based Violence (GBV) , Child marriages minimize the dignity of young women and girls.
The existence of Porous borders which grant a lee way to most perpetrators of injustices to flee out of the country wherever they commit crimes.