A five-day Women’s Movement Building Training was convened by UN Women in Entebbe, Uganda between 18th and 22nd July 2022. This workshop, supported by UN Women through the EU-UN Global Spotlight Initiative, aimed at strengthening the work of Pillar 6 partners and the existing women’s movement in Uganda.
The Spotlight Initiative is the largest targeted effort to end violence against women and girls, and Pillar 6 of the work aims to promote a strong and empowered civil society, and an autonomous women’s movement. This will be achieved by advocating for stronger laws and policies, ensuring civil society participation, building capacity of CSOs and strengthening networking opportunities.
To open the workshop, UN Women Acting Country Representative ad interim, Ms. Adekemi Ndieli emphasized the importance of the women’s movement in achieving gender equality and Sustainable Development Goal 5 saying “UN Women owes its existence to the women’s movement. As feminists in the room, we want to ensure a transformational approach to everything we do across all our areas of work from economic empowerment to ending violence. We must have a support feminist approach to this work!”
This workshop deliberately established a safe space for women’s organisations to share experiences and rethink movement building. The overall objective of the workshop was to ensure a collective understanding and way forward to achieve the shared goal of achieving gender equality in Uganda. The workshop deepened the participants’ grounding on Feminism, Feminist Leadership and Agency. This led to a deeper appreciation of feminist schools of thought and implications on programming for Spotlight Pillar 6 Partners, from an intersectional perspective. Participants engaged in sessions on ‘Understanding Power, Privilege and Change’. This exercise was important because in order for the women’s movement to be successful, women must feel empowered.
The workshop provided a safe space for open honest sharing, allowing for the technical team to share their experiences, what they are proud of [in the women’s movement] and what they are ashamed of. The membership of the women’s movement present at the workshop did not leave anyone behind with representation from sex workers, young women, market women, women living with disabilities, women living with HIV and other marginalised groups of women. The workshop highlighted the need for a deliberate generational transition and management as well as expanding the feminist space.
Over the five days, the workshop focused on sisterhood strengthening, this involved bonding exercises as well as inspirational speeches from the moderator Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe and UN Women Uganda Programme Specialist on Ending Violence Against Women, Evelyn Letiyo.
“The work we do [as a women’s movement] is personal but collectively our pain can be lighter through sisterhood and support networks that we are forming here today.” Said Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe,as she closed the second day of the workshop.
One of the participants shared, anonymously: “It is important to recognise that we live in a patriarchal society, in the past, the push was for women’s human rights, now the movement is about consolidation of power.”