Ugandan women tackle domestic violence with green solutions


Constance Okollet Achom, President and Founder of Osukuru United Women Network (OWN), an organization fighting domestic violence with climate change solutions in Uganda, during an exclusive interview with IPS at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Credit: Aimable Twahirwa/IPS
  • by Aimable Twahirwa (sharm el sheikh)
  • Inter Press Service

“There is a growing number of women in my village who have experienced intimate partner violence. But they have always accepted to bear the brunt of suffering because of their inability to manage their finances,” said Okollet, president and founder of Osukuru United Women Network, says IPS.

With levels of domestic violence rising in rural Uganda, Okollet is now advocating using climate change solutions to curb its occurrence in this East African country.

According to the latest World Bank estimates, 51% of African women say that being beaten by their husbands is justified if they burn themselves or refuse to prepare food. However, acceptance is not uniform in all countries. The report shows that the phenomenon appears to be deeply rooted in some societies, with an adoption rate of 77% in Uganda.

Okollet’s organization is currently supporting and educating women about the impact of climate change on their village’s resources. Most importantly, it provides entrepreneurship resources and advice to women who are victims of domestic violence and advocates for their empowerment by empowering them to be self-reliant by becoming green entrepreneurs.

With 2,000 members engaged in various climate solutions, including carbon farming, clean energy and tree planting, the tradition of abuse is slowly fading in rural Uganda. green projects.

“It is traditionally seen as a disgrace to the male family members if a female family member works outside the home and earns a living,” said Okollet on the sidelines of the just concluded climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. .

To strengthen support for women to build climate resilience, the African Development Bank hosted the session at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh under the theme “Gender Sensitive and Climate Equitable Financing Mechanisms”.

The panelists said facilities tailored to support women, helping to build climate resilience, should be visible, simple and easy to access.

During the session, former Irish president and an influential figure in global climate diplomacy, Mary Robinson, pointed out that there is currently no suitable dedicated climate fund or permanent climate fund to support female entrepreneurs in combating climate change.

Robinson gave the example of some women-led projects in Uganda that could do ten times more if they had access to targeted climate resources. “They had no prospects of getting the money that might be available to their industry – they didn’t even know who was getting the money or where it was going,” she told delegates.

So far, through the Africa Climate Change Fund, the bank has released funds for ten capacity-building projects focused on gender and climate.

According to Kevin Kariuki, the bank’s vice president of energy, energy, climate and green growth, the new financing mechanism has committed $100 million in loans to public and private sector projects to address gender and climate issues across the continent. to deal with.

In addition to the new funding program launched in the margins of COP27, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the French Development Agency (AFD) also launched Gender Equality in Climate Action Accelerator.

The accelerator is expected to support private sector companies in improving the gender responsiveness of their business climate management.

According to the officials, the initiative will help African governments promote gender-sensitive climate sector policies, accelerating their green transition to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, the UNFCCC’s Gender Action Plan and key sustainable development goals.

Meanwhile, Okollet also said that in collaboration with local administrative authorities in her remote rural village in Uganda, she has already trained hundreds of women in developing green projects so that they become financially independent and have the confidence to tackle all the difficulties they face can get. in life – including domestic violence.

She says most rural women in Uganda have to wait for their husbands to decide on land management and access, leaving many women out of work and without any control over productive resources and services.

“These green initiative revenue-generating projects help the majority of these women develop self-reliance in their families and become self-sufficient,” she says. IPS UN Bureau Report

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© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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