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Stakeholders Urged to Finance and Establish New GBV Shelters – Report

There is need to reconsider funding for GBV advocacy and funding

By FEMJOF-Uganda Team

Stakeholders involved in the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) have been called upon to continue funding and establishing new GBV shelters in order to provide support to survivors.

“This is an important moment to address the multi-layered impact of COVID-19 on women in both formal and informal work in Uganda and Kenya – and around the world. We should learn from this experience to create more inclusive, gender-responsive policies to support workers who are often overlooked and undervalued,” said Peggy Clark, the CEO and President of ICRW.

The call was made during the sharing of two reports that shed light on the challenges faced by women in the informal sector in Kenya and Uganda during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research was conducted by a team of researchers from the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW).

The report findings were presented during a virtual event on Wednesday, July 12, and are expected to be further discussed at the upcoming Women Deliver Conference in Kigali on July 18.

The research titled “The Social and Economic Impact of the Covid-19 Policy Responses on Women Working in the Urban Informal Sector in Uganda/Kenya” reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit Kenya and Uganda in March 2020, had a significant impact, disrupting economies and straining healthcare systems.

Ms Kirabo Suubi, one of the researchers from Uganda, emphasised the need to reconsider funding for GBV advocacy and support as women in the informal sector recover from the impact of COVID-19.

The study reports provide evidence-based insights into the impact of COVID-19 on caregiving responsibilities, jobs, businesses, access to essential services, and the incidence of gender-based violence among women in the informal sector. It also highlights the coping mechanisms adopted by women traders and their impact.
The pandemic exacerbated social and economic inequalities, disproportionately affecting women employed in informal businesses.

In a region where the informal sector plays a vital role in the economy, these reports offer critical insights into the experiences of women traders, who constitute the majority of workers in the sector, but whose stories are often overlooked.

“Our research found that the design and roll-out of COVID-19 economic recovery and social protection policy responses did not directly target workers in the informal sector. Further, while non-governmental organisations played a critical role in implementing social assistance programmes, such as cash transfers targeting women in informal settlements and vulnerable households, the absence of a single comprehensive registry made it difficult for the government to account for the reach of those interventions,” added Evelyne Opondo, ICRW Africa Director.

The research revealed that a significant percentage of informal women workers in both Uganda and Kenya reported experiencing gender-based violence (GBV).

In Kenya, higher rates of GBV were reported in the workplace (15%), while in Uganda, higher rates were reported at home (12.2%).

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We empower. Change Narratives. Sustain
Female Journalists Forum – Uganda (FEMJOF-UGANDA) is a not-for-profit Community Based Organisation run by a group of female journalists in Gulu, Northern Uganda. We train, mentor, coach and counsel female journalists to change the narratives and become tomorrow’s great journalism leaders.

The idea to have a female media organization was established in 2019 when a group of about ten female journalists based in Gulu met and realized the shrinking number of female field journalists and the need to encourage female journalism students to join the newsroom with a purpose.

This dream to have a network and support system of female journalists based in Gulu was realized in 2021 when the organization was officially registered to not only bring together female journalists but advocate for a better working environment for female journalists, TRAIN , mentor, coach and counsel those that need a hand to reach their destiny.

In this, we envisaged better representation of women and female journalists in the media through a broad based approach to storytelling hence changing the traditional narratives of what and who a female journalist is. Currently, we have more than twenty members at different media houses and our mentorship programme at journalism institutions of learning is a step towards increasing this number in the newsrooms.

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