Worldwide, women have been key in the contribution to social, economic, cultural and political achievement. The United Nations recently rolled out the Sustainable Development Goal 5 which aims at achieve gender equality and empowers all women and girls. The sustainable development goals seek to change the course of the 21st century, addressing key challenges such as poverty, inequality, and violence against women. But progress towards gender equality has not been as fast in many places.
International Women's Dayis annually held on March 8 to celebrate women's achievements throughout history and across nations. It is now also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women's Rights and this year’s theme was dubbed “Equality for Girls and Women.”
Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU) in partnership with AHF Uganda Cares hosted the Post International Women’s Day Celebration 2016 on a bright sunny 12th day of March 2016 in Kikuba Mutwe –Kabalagala where they targeted the waitresses, barmaids and bartenders.
Kikubba –Mutwe – Kabalagalais one of the highly densely populated suburbs of Kampala. It is characterized with high rate of commercial sex workers, women operating small business such as restaurants, lodges and shops. Kabalagala may be defined as the party melting pot where many bars in this place stay active till the late morning hours of the day and it is due to this fact that many women are held up working in long shifts in a bid to earn a living to support their families.
Due to this boost, women and girls have become more susceptible and vulnerable to sexual harassment, gender and domestic based violence as well as contracting HIV/AIDS, STIs and unplanned pregnancy due to limited knowledge on women’s rights and entitlements.
It is against this background, that this year’s celebration mainly focused at reaching out to these unprivileged communities to increase awareness on women and girl’s rights and entitlements regards to social, political and economic development of their communities with a theme ‘Celebrating waitresses.’
The day started out with mobilization of the community by a number of youth barked by the Village Health Team (VHTs) who moved through Kikuba-Mutwe distributing and demonstrating the correct and consistent use of condoms and sensitizing women about their health. The team gladly invited the locals to the official event that was hosted at St. John Baptist Primary School where there was free HIV Testing and Counseling (HCT) services, free Family Planning Services and free Cervical Cancer Screening services.
At the venue, the women were empowered through the use of themed creative and performance arts namely; spoken word poetry, themed dance pieces and inspirational talks by a team from AHF Uganda Cares and some outstanding women and girls who included Miss Y plus- Babirye Robinah.
Robinah gladly shared her story and encouraged many girls to carry the right mindset. She was bone with HIV/AIDs but has become a champion in the fight against the scourge.
Robina Babirye – Miss YPlus 2015 giving an inspirational talk during the Post IWD 2016 Celebration in Kabalagala, Kikubba-Mutwe“
There are waitresses who are living with HIV/AIDS and these have a double disadvantage because they have to go through the challenges of living with the HIV/IADS as well as challenges of working in as a waitress” added Robina Babirye – Miss Y Plus 2015
A total of 380 people received free HCT services, 33 women were able to get cervical cancer screening and over 28,800 condoms had been distributed and women sensitized on the correct and consistent use of condoms. Health Educational and live music performance were at the highest with pomp as music was performed by Nassanga Ann aka Afrie where they sang the ‘tuli wamu nawe’song; an anti-stigma song aimed at raising awareness on the negative effects of HIV related stigma among others.
“Young people and women should stay busy, productive and not to indulge in risky sexual behaviors that could lead to the spread of HIV/AIDS and also informed the audience that cervical cancer can be transmitted through unprotected sex” said Dr. Lubanga of AHF Uganda Cares
PHAU Peer educators conducting a condom distribution drive during the Post IWD 2016 celebration in Kabalagala, Kikubba Mutwe.
As we seek to promote gender equality and empower all women and girls worldwide, we should endeavor to reach out to all communities where women may seem insignificant in order to achieve this goal. Bar maids and waitresses are women who struggle to support their families while working at odd times and places. It was against this background that we celebrated these waitresses since they have also been key in the contribution to social, economic, cultural and political achievement worldwide.
Live performance by Afrie during the Post IWD 2016 celebrattion in Kabalagala – Kikubba Mutwe.
This event was supported by African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), AHF Uganda Cares, VHTs and local Leaders from Kabalagala – Kikubba Mutwe. To follow the project activities, check out our Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeand Vimeo