Uniting for Change: The Importance of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence through Sports in Uganda.

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Did you know  that by the end of March 2023, members of the GBV Sector Working Group (SWG) managed 1,526 incidents reported, in the GBVIMS from all thirteen refugee hosting districts in Uganda? Shockingly, the main types of GBV disclosed by survivors include psychosocial/emotional abuse (32%), physical assault (24%), and denial of resources (24%). These alarming statistics underscore the urgent need for continued advocacy and collaborative initiatives.

In a vibrant display of unity, advocacy, and athleticism, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2023, culminated in a spirited sports event organized at Kitebi Primary School in Rubaga Division, Kampala District, Uganda, on Friday, 8th December 2023. Under the overarching theme “Unite, Invest to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Women and Girls, the event brought together diverse teams, each committed to the cause of eradicating gender-based violence. Among the key organizers were the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), and the instrumental partnership of Raising Gabdho Foundation (RGF).

The event featured football matches that not only showcased athletic expertise but also served as a powerful platform to raise awareness about the importance of preventing and responding to violence against women and girls. The teams included both men and women, highlighting the collaborative effort required to address this pressing issue.

1. Women’s Football Match: Refugees vs Actors:

The day kicked off with an exhilarating women’s football match between refugees and actors. This game symbolized the resilience and strength of women, regardless of their backgrounds. The match was a testament to the power of solidarity and the shared commitment to creating a safer and more inclusive environment for women and girls.

2. Men’s Football Match: Refugees vs Partners:

The men took to the field next, with refugees facing off against partners in a fiercely competitive football match. This game not only showcased the sporting spirit but also emphasized the need for collaboration among diverse groups, including refugees, partners, and organizations like RGF, to effectively combat gender-based violence.

Following the intense matches, a ceremony was held to recognize and commend the participants for their dedication to the cause. The awards ceremony saw teams being presented with prestigious Golden and Silver medals as a token of appreciation for their outstanding efforts.

RGF played a crucial role as a partner in this initiative. The organization’s contributions were invaluable in making the event a success. RGF worked alongside UNHCR,Rebuild and OPM to support the cause and foster collaboration among various stakeholders.

The Importance of 16 Days of Activism:

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a crucial global campaign that aims to raise awareness, inspire action, and mobilize communities to end violence against women and girls. These 16 days, from November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to December 10th (Human Rights Day), serve as a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggle and the collective responsibility to eliminate gender-based violence. By organizing events like the sports initiative at Kitebi Primary School, communities can actively engage in the campaign, fostering a sense of solidarity and commitment to creating a world where everyone is free from the threat of violence based on their gender.

In the current discourse, Joan Nakiyini, Program Lead at RGF, passionately advocates for global unity within communities. Her perspective underscores the urgency for collective efforts to amplify voices, shedding light on the pervasive nature of violence against women and girls. Nakiyini emphasizes that gender-based violence transcends borders, making it a worldwide concern demanding not only collective action but also systemic change.

Joan’s insight serves as a poignant reminder that the issue of gender-based violence is not confined to specific regions—it is a global challenge that necessitates a united front. By bringing this often-hidden issue into the spotlight, we initiate crucial conversations and elevate public awareness. Only through such collective action can we pave the way for lasting change, fostering a world where the rights and safety of women and girls are universally respected.

Advocacy and Education:The campaign provides a platform for advocacy, enabling organizations and individuals to educate communities about the different forms of gender-based violence and its impact.

Policy Influence:The collective momentum generated during the 16 Days can influence policymakers to enact or strengthen laws and policies aimed at preventing and addressing gender-based violence.

Community Engagement: It encourages local communities to actively participate in efforts to combat gender-based violence, promoting a sense of shared responsibility.

Empowerment: The campaign empowers survivors by highlighting stories of resilience, courage, and recovery, reducing the stigma associated with being a survivor of gender-based violence.

International Solidarity:The 16 Days of Activism is a global movement that fosters solidarity among nations, emphasizing that gender-based violence is a human rights issue that transcends borders.

As we reflect on the importance of these 16 days of activism, let the sports event organized at Kitebi Primary School, supported by UNHCR, RGF and other partners, be a shining example of how sports, advocacy, and partnership can serve as powerful tools for social change. Let the statistics and stories shared during this period be a catalyst for continued efforts to unite, invest, and respond to the urgent need for a world free from violence against women and girls.It transcends borders. As we reflect on the significance of these 16 days activism, the sports event held at Kitebi Primary School, generously supported by UNHCR, RGF, and other esteemed partners,During this event, athletes and advocates came together, not merely for a competition but to champion a cause. The statistics and stories shared throughout this period serve as a catalyst for ongoing efforts to unite, invest, and respond to the urgent need for a world free from violence against women and girls.As the final whistle blew and the cheers echoed through the grounds, a moment of celebration ensued. The winning team, exemplifying exceptional sportsmanship, was honored with a prestigious cup . This tangible recognition symbolizes not just their victory on the field, but their contribution to a greater victory—a world where gender-based violence has no place.

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