GULU WOMEN'S RESOURCE CENTER
The Gulu Women Resource Center 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 provides a reading space and material for community members, and also host the peace Hub a space that provides psychosocial support to the victims of domestic violence.
In Uganda, there is an 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 training. It is through information and education that self-esteem and empowerment are facilitated, enabling women to stand up and lead themselves out of the vicious cycle of poverty that is often presented before them.
WOMEN'S LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
We designed a Leadership Development Program to develop community outreach peer Leaders who help troubleshoot problems and link women and youth experiencing social challenges to service providers. These peer leaders are trained to recognize 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.
We trained 38 peer counselors and 72 VHTs that work 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 in decision making and represent issues that affect women in the region.
Uganda is preparing for the 2021 general election. Its time to encourage and support women to aspire for political elective positions from all levels. We know very well that for many years of voting rights for women the struggle for and to be heard continue! We believe women are natural leaders, we train, nature provides technical resources for women running for elected office in Northern Uganda.Women must have a seat at the decision-making table or nothing will change.
62 women from our program including our senior peer Counsellor joined many others from our to contest for in the upcoming headed by our senior peer counselor Prisca who is contesting for Gulu City women representative
We believe women are natural leaders and can be transformative if given any opportunity. We intend to continue supporting women to grow their leadership potentials
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 in for free services at any time.
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 learned how to read and write, their self-esteem and confidence, improved, participation in a 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.
FREE COUNSELLING SERVICES DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
As cases of COVID-19 cases increase in Uganda, the emotional, physical, and mental toll is also growing. Uganda introduced mandatory lockdowns and restrictions on movements to curb the spread of COVID-19, but survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) many found themselves trapped in their homes with their abusers. Forcing them to face more extreme forms of violence.
Because many GBV service providers are currently not physically reachable because of restrictions caused by Covid-19, this crisis provides an opportunity for us to deploy our peer counselors who use our Toll-free line to conduct tele counseling services and referrals with the District Taskforce.
With the spread of Covid-19, survivors are finding it hard to seek help, and are left isolated from the people and the resources that could help them. Health systems are becoming overloaded, making it more difficult for survivors to access medical, psychological, and mental health care in physical spaces.
“Every day, I receive more than 30 cases that need counseling and other services many have been stigmatized because they are suspected to be in contacts with some of the unfortunate individuals confirmed and battling COVID-19” – says Prisca
Through our toll-free line hosted at Gulu Women’s Resource Center, survivors are virtually linked to service providers for support including psychosocial, legal, and medical services. Service providers include FIDA, Action Aid, as well as the Uganda Police Child and Family Protection Unit.