Women Circles for Development in Uganda Favorite 

WACENA, was established in the year 2008 by a number of concerned mothers together with women students from Makerere University Kampala with a purpose of addressing and alleviating the acute and long-term consequences of violence against the women and children of Uganda.
The empowerment of women means development of their ability to take collective and individual control over their lives, identify their needs and determine their interests. In most cases, empowerment of women requires transformation of the division of labor and society.
They observed and considered four consequences faced by the victims of violence:
• Physical health consequences
• Sexual and reproductive consequences
• Psychological consequences and-
• Financial consequences
With all the above in mind, WACENA believes that women and children are deserving of human rights. During the first year of its operation, the organization started various activities that involved the beneficiaries directly at all stages of participation.
Among the activities that were initiated included but were not limited to:
i. Raising women and children voices through music, dance and art events
ii. Needs Assessment
iii. Preparation of Training Manual for gender equality
iv. Local leaders’ meetings and seminars
v. Micro-credit training for raped and defiled woman living the slums
vi. Initiating anti-child sacrifice campaigns
vii. Establishing and operationalizing a Women and Children None-violence Forum
viii. Developing a network of unemployed women youths and rehabilitation the LGBT persecuted girls minority
ix. Developing and disseminating HIV/AIDS awareness products and publications
x. Producing video educational programs on HIV/AIDS and violence against women and children
xi. Training women Youth and Project staff in HIV/AIDS awareness raising strategies
xii. Establishing database and carryout regular monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems for HIV/AIDS affected women and children
xiii. Enhancing the competitiveness of the small businesses established in the City slums and semi-urban centers mentoring women entrepreneurs through cluster attachments
xiv. Establishing networks with government ministries and civil society organization with related objectives
xiv. Conducting zonal workshops for High School girls and senior women teachers on issues empowering young girls
xvi. Addressing the issue of elevating a government policy that would make all sanitary towels for women and girls tax-free products.
To establish a violent free Africa fit for all women and children.

The mission of Women And Children’s Empowerment Network in Africa (WACENA) is to establish and maintain a reliable platform through which the voices of women and children would be heard and respected.

In carrying out this mission WACENA does:
Give priority to advocating for the human rights of the women and children and their invisible movements, groups or activities in their respective communities.
Focus attention on violence due to religion, culture or tradition, inequality, discrimination, poverty, violence against women and children in conflict situations, or as a result of natural disasters and those who are at risk and vulnerable on multiple fronts.
Offer legal intervention to the victims of sexual abuse and neglect in order to realize the civil, cultural, economic, and social rights, including the right to development.
Monitor and evaluate the impact of its work through the substantive benefit that is accrued through it to beneficiaries around the continent in particular and world in general.

The ultimate goal of WACENA is to enhance income, protection, equality and development for women and children.


Learning the key objectives during the establishment of WACENA, the Board of Directors formulated a WACENA strategy which would provide a framework aimed at addressing the causes of violence against women and children of Africa and of Uganda in particular.
WACENA defines violence against women as described in the UN Resolution of the General Assembly in 1993 and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women as "any act of gender-based violence that results or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological suffering or violation of women, including threats of such violence, coercion or violation of freedom both in public and in private life." Violence against women should be understood as: a) physical, sexual and psychological violence within the family, including violence and sexual abuse of girls in the family, rape in marriage, practices of genital mutilation, non-marital violence and violence during exploitation; b) psychological, sexual and psychological violence in the community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work in educational and other institutions, trafficking in women and forced prostitution; c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence conducted or supported by the state, at any point in time.
Therefore, the rationale of WACENA is based upon several reasons:
 UN research indicates that only a small proportion of acts of violence against women and children is reported and investigated; and few perpetrators held to account.
 In various countries there are no systems responsible for recording or thoroughly investigating reports of violence against women and children.
 For the countries that try to keep records with official statistics based on reports of violence in the home and other settings, they dramatically underestimate the true magnitude of the problem.
 Very few women and young children who suffer violence in their homes have the capacity to report.
 Very many women and children are afraid to report the incidents of violence against them for the fear of reprisals by perpetrators or of interventions by authorities which may worsen their overall situation.
 With regards to children, in many cases their parents who should protect them are silent about the violence that is perpetrated by a spouse or other family member, or a more powerful member of society such as an employer, a police officer or community leader.
 In societies where patriarchal notions of family “honour” are valued above girls’ human rights and well being, an incident of rape or sexual violence can lead to ostracism of the victim, under which further violence and even death at the hands of their families may occur.
 Many governments lack systems of consistent registration of births, leading to lack of formal identity that can place infant and small children at risk.
 Many governments also lack rigorous investigation into and registration of child deaths.
 Millions of girls are married before the age of 18, and the lack of marriage registration makes the problem more complicated to track.
 Few countries consistently record and report on the placement of children in institutions and alternative care or detention, and few still collect information about violence against children in such placements.
 Women and children, the perpetrators of violence against them and the public at large may accept physical, sexual and psychological violence as an inevitable act in society.
 Laws in many countries still condone “reasonable” or “lawful” corporal punishment and reflect societal approval of violence when it is described or disguised as “discipline”.
 Corporal punishment and other forms of cruel or degrading punishment, bullying and sexual harassment, and a range of violent traditional practices may be perceived as normal, particularly when no lasting visible physical injury results.

Problem Statement
A great number of initiatives or campaigns from international comparative studies to small-scale interview studies with women and children at a local level are providing a clearer image of the magnitude and pervasive nature of the problem in all regions. Information generated from these initiatives indicates that while some violence against women and children is perpetrated by strangers, the vast majority of violent acts is perpetrated by people who are part of the victims’ immediate environment: parents or other family members, boyfriends or girlfriends, spouses, partners, teachers, schoolmates and employers.

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