The project will address the issue of sexual and domestic violence in Gulu district (Northern Uganda) through community dialogue and advocacy and will help 150 girls who are or have been victimized through education, counseling, art therapy and economic empowerment.
Drastic change occurred in gender dynamics after the war in Uganda as traditional values were shattered and alcoholism spread among men. As a result 56% of women and girls experienced physical violence (mainly from their husband or partner) and 22% experienced sexual violence, half of them being under 19 . In cases of domestic violence, girls are often financially dependent of the one abusing them so leaving means for many ending up in the street where they are vulnerable to sexual exploitation
The project will focus on providing counseling (psychological, medical and legal), art/sport therapy and vocational training (leather shoe making) to girls victims of violence in order for them to be able to overcome the trauma, build confidence and get an income-generating activity; on community sensitization, especially towards boys, to tackle gender stereotypes; and on advocacy towards duty bearers to implement the country's laws and policies on sexual and domestic violence
The project will address the girls' social and economic hardships and lack of education while working on changing boys' mindset regarding violence towards women and girls. Educating young people is essential to change social beliefs and tackle gender stereotypes upholding gender-based violence. Pressuring duty bearers will lead to the enforcement of the country's laws and policies which is a requisite to women and girls protection regarding sexual and domestic violence.