BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA: May 11, 2021
The Madi and West Nile Diocese has relaunched it’s campaign against gender based violence (GBV) which also encompasses sensitisation on family planning and fighting HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy.
“We condemn all forms of GBV and I urge women to protect themselves and their children,” Bishop Charles Collins Andaku said in a pastoral communique issued to the media on Tuesday.
“There are also men who are victims of GBV but fear to come out because of societal norms,” he added.
The bishop called for the promotion of the culture of reconciliation while at the same time asking the judiciary to expeditiously hold GBV perpetrators accountable.
He said in order to strengthen families, there is need to find ways to prevent GBV and rectify cultural norms and practices that drive the vice.
Rt. Rev. Andaku issued a passionate appeal to young children to abstain from sex, reminding them that their bodies are temples of the Holy spirit.
“We are troubled by the rampant impregnating of young girls many of whom are forced to drop out of school. Abstain from premature sex and stay at school,” he emphasized.
“Parents must honestly engage their children on sexuality and guide them on relationships,” the bishop added, directing that all Anglican religious leaders in the diocese must forthwith use the pulpit to preach against teenage pregnancy during sermons.
The Madi and West Nile diocese covers the districts of Arua, Maracha, Terego, Madi-Okollo, Koboko, Yumbe, Obongi, Moyo, Adjumani and Arua City.
The pastoral communique marks the re-start of the anti-GBV campaign that started last year to address the escalating vice exacerbated by the Covid-19 lock-down.
It is financed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with support from the inter-religious council.
Stephen Angala, an official from the directorate of health at the Church of Uganda provincial headquarters said that campaign against GBV is vital from the church perspective because the church reaches everywhere and needs health Christians.
He disclosed that during the lock-down, many men and women found it hard to stay together at home for various reasons of which infidelity which is colloquially referred to as cheating was the leading cause.
Other drivers were HIV/AIDS, poverty and gender roles, he said.
During the initial phase of the campaign last year, 36 members of the clergy drawn from the 12 archdeconeries of the diocese were trained to counsel GBV victims.
The church also undertook GBV sensitisation on radios and ran a drawing competition in which children and youths were asked to depict GBV taking place in families.
Then church officials followed up by visiting those families in order to counsel the family heads.