BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA: May 3, 2021
Since 2019, CARE International has employed a gender transformative approach to implement the women and youth resilience project (WEYREP), a five year project expected to wind down in 2022.
Involving 75 percent women aged 15 – 45 and 25 percent male youths aged 15 – 30 years, the result has been the formation of 114 savings and loan associations in former Oli Division in Arua City and Omugo sub county in Terego district.
This is meant to achieve economic empowerment of women, girls and male youths so as to support their families.
One of the project officers, Gilbert Alioni said the groups are also involved in fighting gender based violence with the help of role model men to influence positive masculinity and challenge negative cultural norms.
Additionally, CARE International is harnessing community leaders sourced from religious, cultural and political establishments and activists from parishes as well as change agents selected by the groups to advance the gender empowerment agenda.
However Jennifer Gaberu, a gender advocacy specialist said in order to consolidate the achievements of the WEYREP project, the organisation has decided to use policy dialogue that places women leaders at the centre.
She explained that women leaders are often elected on promises to promote gender equality but many of them sit in those fora as rituals.
“One of the problems we are facing is that we have a big number of women in positions of decision making such as in Parliament, media, civil society and in councils but those numbers do not translate into useful policy influences,” she charged.
She gave the example of the community development department at the districts which she said is poorly financed without women Councillors raising their voice yet that is where gender issues are addressed.
Accordingly, CARE International has launched a three-year project aimed at training and enhancing the skills of women leaders in Arua Central Division and Omugo sub county to carry out advocacy policy dialogue.
This, it is hoped would translate into meaningful participation of women leaders in influencing policy formulation and implementation.
The project which too is being carried out in Gulu city is also expected to enhance partnerships with the civil society to build evidence that can inform local policy advocacy and dialogue.