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Man Up to Stop Violence Against Women: Uganda
April 1, 2015

“Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. It can include physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse and cuts across boundaries of age, race, culture, wealth and geography.”

James Byarugaba
James Byarugaba

— Man Up Campaign

While a student at Makerere University in Kampala, James Byarugaba began to learn about gender and human rights. He discovered that “the cost of gender inequality is huge” and made a commitment to raise awareness about the value of equality.

In 2010, Byarugaba learned about the Man Up campaign, a collaboration of the Clinton Global Initiative and Vital Voices Global Partnership. At the group’s youth summit in Johannesburg that year, he met other youth who shared his commitment to equality and to ending violence against women and girls. “I realized I was not fighting alone,” says the 33-year-old, who also serves as a lecturer in project planning and management at Makerere.

Byarugaba has put his commitment to work through the nonprofit group Youth Alive Uganda. He says Youth Alive has been successful at ending violence against women in communities they work in because it:

  • Incorporates gender into all its programs, which include skills development and health care.

  • Started peer support groups for young people. About 100 groups with 50 members each meet with parents’ associations, teachers, religious leaders and men’s and women’s groups around the country to talk about the benefits of gender equality. “Working with community men’s groups has helped reduce sexual and physical violence against women,” Byarugaba says.

  • Promotes gender equality and an end to gender-based violence to school officials. That has resulted in some schools adopting child protection policies, providing separate toilets for girls and boys, and, in some instances, changing rooms and sanitary pads for girls.

  • Provides teen-oriented prenatal sessions where young mothers can share their experiences and challenges.

  • Partners with local institutions and governmental bodies to mobilize logistical and financial support for gender equality efforts.

Members of the Man Up campaign in Uganda get the message out.
Members of the Man Up campaign in Uganda get the message out.

“My vision is one world … where boys and girls and men and women have the same opportunities and are empowered to contribute equally in shaping the world they want,” Byarugaba says. “My vision is of a violence-free world where no human being owns the other or inflicts harm based on one’s gender.”

Say no to gender-based violence. Take your pledge today for how you will help end violence against women and girls in your communities at yali.lab.dev.getusinfo.com/4her.