Posted on December 7, 2017
Comments Off on How ACT is working at grassroots level to stamp out gender-based violence
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. #ACTagainstGBV
Since 1981, women activists around the globe have observed a day against violence on 25 November each year. In 1999, the United Nations enshrined the date as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women using the acronym UNiTE, promoting awareness of the issue of violence against women and working with governments, NGOs, and other international organisations.
This year, UNiTE initiated the 16 Days Campaign, linking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November and International Human Rights Day on 10 December. With the promotion of violence against women as a human rights violation, NGOs and charitable organisations like ACT (African Child Trust) are embracing the initiative and illuminating the work they’ve done to educate as a means of curbing violence and violent practices against women and girls.
Across most of the African nations where ACT operates, masculine patriarchal societies are the norm, particularly in rural society. Often, women and girls are subjected to practices that leave them endangered and unable to attain to their full potential. Practices such as female genital mutilation, though decreasing in practice, is sadly still an issue that plagues much of the region. Violence, including spouse battery, rape, and other forms of sexual assault are practiced. To stem the tide, ACT focuses on greater access to education for both girls and boys. The aim is to breed cross-gender equality and mutual respect that teaches at early age that women are not second-class citizens. We specifically set out to provide opportunities for women through training, to earn their own income, as opposed to being completely dependent upon men.
We have been using our #ACTagainstGBV campaign on Twitter and other social media in the past 16 days to promote our work and document our efforts to support women and girls in the 8 African countries where we operate. We have supported more than 1,000 women over the past year and developed grassroots programmes that have created pathways to independence and success for women in rural communities. In Busoga Region of Uganda we have supported the widow community to form the Tabitha Women’s Vision Association, which develops avenues for financial independence for women and orphans through projects using education, farming, and raising livestock to generate income in a sustainable way.
In Bungoma County, western Kenya, ACT has partnered with JTAN Ministries to support women in the community in a greenhouse farming initiative. The Widows and Orphans project enables the women to sell products grown in greenhouses to generate sustainable income. It has lifted more than a hundred women out of poverty and enabling them to send their children to school.
Women’s Greenhouse Initiative (Kenya)
There is more work still to be done across the world to eradicate violence against women. Reforms must come from the bottom up. Societal practices that were once the norm must be significantly changed or eliminated. We must discourage early child marriage that stunts growth and personal development of young girls and leaving them vulnerable, without education and opportunity to develop to their full potential. We must be the generation that work together to root out practices that disadvantage women and girls. WE MUST LEAVE NO WOMAN OR GIRL BEHIND. We must end violence against women and girls wherever it exists.
If you would like to join us in our mission to stamp out violence against women and girls, please lick here.