Amudat GBV Shelter protecting Women and Girls

August 28, 2023

Image: Amudat GBV Shelter.

UNDP Uganda/Joel Akena

UNDP together with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and Action Aid International Uganda have opened the Amudat Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Shelter, constructed with support from the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls. 

The Amudat GBV Shelter will provide temporary safe spaces to women and girls who will seek refuge when their families and community fail to shield them from violence and violation of their human rights. This initiative has also established the Terego GBV Reception Centre which was launched in April 2022. 

Gender equality and the empowerment of women are central to UNDP's global development agenda. The organization recognizes that sustainable human development hinges on the equal participation of women and girls alongside men and boys in their respective communities. However, the attainment of gender equality is affected by persistent cases of GBV that impact the wellbeing of women and girls and restrict their participation in economic activity. 

The Uganda Police Force 2022 Annual Crime Report documented a slight increase of 0.94% in reported cases of domestic violence compared to the previous year. Additionally, Uganda’s Demographic Health Survey 2016 revealed that 51% of women aged 15-49 had experienced physical violence. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, physical violence among women and girls aged 10-59 is highest in Amudat Town at 31% and sexual violence among girls aged 10-59 is highest in Amudat Town at 12% in 2022.

The Spotlight Initiative support in Amudat district has therefore been driven by the alarming surge in cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), domestic violence, teenage pregnancies, and child marriages throughout the country. 

By supporting the construction of the shelters, UNDP seeks to strengthen government institutions that are critical in the provision of essential services to women and girls experiencing GBV.

Image: Reception area of the GBV shelter.

UNDP Uganda/Joel Akena

The Amudat District leadership, represented by the District Chairperson, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Resident District Commissioner (RDC) expressed their pride, noting that the women and girls in this district now have a haven where they can stay. Beyond offering sanctuary during times of distress, the Amudat GBV Shelter will serve as a hub for disseminating information on sexual and reproductive health and rights to community members, facilitate referrals for GBV survivors to seek essential services and equipping them with life skills to enable them to strengthen livelihoods after they leave the GBV Shelter. 

Image: One of the dormitories at the Amudat GBV Shelter.

UNDP Uganda/Joel Akena

The Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development representative Ms. Christine Akumu emphasized the Government's commitment to establishing GBV shelters nationwide to act as comprehensive centres for victim rehabilitation and provision of legal aid. She added that through innovative partnerships, Uganda has now established 14 GBV shelters across the country.

Luta Shaba, the Coordinator of the Spotlight Initiative in Uganda, expressed enthusiasm for the launch of the GBV Shelter in Amudat district: “This shelter aims to combat various forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices. Women and girls in Amudat district who previously didn’t have safe spaces when fleeing domestic violations, do have a home now.”

Image: Training Room at Amudat GBV Shelter.

UNDP Uganda/Joel Akena

Beatrice Mugambe, UNDP Gender Advisor underscored UNDP’s heartfelt gratitude to all EU-UN Spotlight Initiative partners for contributing to the construction of the GBV shelter. She appreciated the Amudat District Local Government for their substantial contributions in the form of land and provision of technical oversight during the construction phase. 

The core objective of the Spotlight Initiative is the global eradication of violence against women and girls. It aims at generating a significant and sustainable positive impact on the lives of women and girls with a focus on vulnerable and marginalized communities. By addressing the underlying causes of violence and promoting gender equality, the initiative strives to create a world that is safer and more equitable for all.

Community Member Voices

“We are thankful to UNDP for the construction of this GBV shelter. As a district we really do appreciate and now know that the issues of domestic violence that have been high are going to reduce with time to come.” – Limo Mark Okiror, Probation and Social Welfare Officer, Amudat District.

“I personally experienced gender-based violence growing up and I know how it feels to be unsafe. It warms my heart that now our girls are going to be safe in this newly constructed GBV Shelter.” – Kyeruuto Pennina, Woman Councilor, Amudat District.

“We have previously received a lot of support from UNDP in terms of trainings on vocational skills, and now for this GBV Shelter we say thank you because this is going to help us greatly as a community.” - Chepkomon Poulina, Mother from Amudat District.