GULU WOMEN'S RESOURCE CENTER
In Uganda, there is a ominous lack of democratic space. Public and community space is critical to the development and health of a community, region and nation. Democratic space provides citizens and civil society the ability to challenge and better understand the interface between citizens, government and policy development. In addition, community space enables communities and civil society to gather, facilitate conversations and develop solutions to relevant and pressing issues.
To address the issues of stubborn poverty and the challenges women face regarding access to and information on: health, justice & human rights, gender based violence, economic empowerment, education and activism, Vac-Net and Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF) opened the Gulu Women’s Resource Center (GWRC). Which is a one-stop center that provides essential support, information and education to women, girls and the community in northern Uganda.
To create a community space providing women current and critical information, community meeting space, and computer and life skill trainings. It is through information and education that self-esteem and empowerment is facilitated, enabling women to stand up and lead themselves out of the vicious cycle of poverty that is often presented before them.
The GWRC provides women, girls and community in Northern Uganda, and neighboring districts, access to information and support thru small group educational courses, including computer skills, helping them become more able to make informed decisions about their lives. The center educates women about their health and well being, including access to family planning information, learning money management for economic empowerment and how to recognize and address domestic violence.
ADDRESSING THE BARRIERS OF ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR WOMEN
The Access to Justice Program (ATJ) is responsible for ensuring that victims of Violence such as women, girls, and refugees, are able to realize their human rights regardless of their status, through comprehensive legal aid support and referral pathway to all victims, it involves legal representation, mediation, police follow-ups, and provision of psychosocial support. GWRC hosts a toll free line 0800 900 444 victims of violence call call in for free services at any time.
WOMEN'S LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
KEY UPDATES OF THE PROGRAM
Since its inception in the year 2008. We have supported and graduated over 3,680 women who completed both grade 1 and 2 . all learners by the time they finished they learnt how to read and write, their self esteem and confidence, improved, participation in community meeting, improved business, health and preventable diseases among children reduced and a reduction in Domestic violence due to improvement in communication skills.Participants who sign up for classes are divided into groups, provided with materials, books, pens, etc. and attend classes twice a week for 8moths. 12 instructors who are trained by the government are recruited to teach women. Our target is to enroll 1500 annually .
We designed a Leadership Development Program to develop community outreach peer Leaders who help trouble shoot problems and link women and youth experiencing social challenges to service providers . These peer Leaders are trained to recognise the dynamics and warning signs of violence, problem solving, networking and management. They understand the barriers to obtaining services in the communities.
Our Leadership Development programs aim to advance the participation, access and voice of women in their communities in post conflict northern Uganda and other regions, districts and villages where women’s voices have been marginalized.
Our goal is to create a mechanism to elevate women’s legislative participation thru training initiatives promoting advocacy, activism; creating the space for women to run for elected office, manage campaigns increasing women’s representation at all levels of government.
Justice is the foundation ensuring women become equal participants in decision making, development and their own futures. Without access to justice, women are disenfranchised and disempowered, experiencing violence, abuse and inequality. This initiative demands that women are viewed not as victims but as agents of change for social and economic justice.
Vac-Net has trained 38 peer counselors and 72 VHTs that worke within their communities as volunteers and first hand doctors to the community. The program has natured young women leaders who have participated and are serving into elective positions at different levels allowing women to get the opportunity to participate into decision making and represent issues that affect women in the region.
Vac-Net believes women are natural leaders and can be transformative if given any opportunity. We intend to continue supporting women to grow their leadership potentials