On the occasion to mark the International Women's Day (IWD), the European Union and the United Nations, in partnership with the Government of Uganda, launched the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. This is a multi-year programme aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls. The function was presided over the President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
President Museveni was joined by the European Union Head of Delegation to Uganda H.E Attilio Pacifici, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Rosa Malango and the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze to sign off a painting with the Spotlight colours as a symbol to officially launch the Spotlight Initiative.
In his remarks, President Museveni expressed his gratitude to the EU and the UN for having chosen Uganda to be among the countries to benefit from the Spotlight initiative. He further said that violence against women is backwards and called upon all Government agencies to work towards its elimination. "Violence against women is stupid and cowardly," said President Museveni. He went on to underline that "marginalizing women is out of date".
On his part, Ambassador Attilio Pacifici stated that the EU had provided an initial funding of US$ 22 M for the first two years towards the initiative in Uganda. EU's total initial investment in the global initiative was EUR 500 million. Ambassador Pacifici underlined that "EU-UN Spotlight is a reaffirmation of EU's commitment to gender equality and women empowerment" and to fight against the most prevalent forms of violence against women and girls worldwide.”
In Uganda, the EU-UN Spotlight initiative is implemented in partnership with the Government, the United Nations, civil society and the private sector in the seven districts of Amudat, Arua, Kampala, Kasese, Kitgum, Kyegegwa and Tororo.
Over the next three years, comprehensive programmes will be implemented to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, increase access to sexual and reproductive health services and strengthen systems for preventing and responding to violence against women.
“The EU-UN Spotlight Initiative is a demonstration fund for action on the Sustainable Development Goals. The Initiative aims to demonstrate that a significant, concerted and comprehensive investment in gender equality can make a transformative difference in the lives of women and girls,” said the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Rosa Malango.
The EU-UN Spotlight initiative will build on existing good practices and increase the scale and ambition of interventions. It will aim at mobilizing support from target sectors, as well as building new partnerships. It will raise awareness of the widespread harmful practices and their detrimental impact of violence against women and girls.
Gender-Based Violence remains high in Uganda. More than 1 in 5 women aged 15-49 have experienced sexual violence compared to 8% of men, while 56% of ever-married women and 44% of ever-married men have experienced spousal violence.
51% of women and 52 % of men aged 15-49 report that they experienced physical violence since age 15. Sexual and physical violence remains high when compared to the global average by World Health Organization at 35.6% and 37.7% for men and women respectively.
To read more about the Spotlight Initiative, please visit: https://www.spotlightinitiative.org/uganda