The European Union (EU) has provided Uganda with €152 million (Shs624 billion) in new funding to empower women and girls and promote sustainable forest management.
Gender for Development Uganda (G4DU), a programme aimed at supporting education for adolescent girls, reducing gender-based violence, and promoting sexual and reproductive health, will receive €112 million (Shs461 million).
Ms Myriam Ferran, Deputy Director General of the EU’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships, made the announcement on Friday in Kampala during a visit to Uganda.
“Through G4DU, the EU is demonstrating its concrete support and commitment to protecting children in Uganda.” “Recently, there have been reports of child abuse, including in schools, and as parents, we are all very concerned,” Ms Ferran said.
“The action is primarily about girls and women, about empowering them and protecting them from violence so that they can reach their full potential and fully contribute to Uganda’s development and the country’s vision of becoming a modern and prosperous country,” she added.
The Gender for Development Uganda (G4DU) project will address some of the key determinants of adolescent girls’ education, as well as their transition from primary to secondary school and re-enrollment for girls who have dropped out.
It will also endeavour to reduce gender-based violence. Mr Aggrey David Kibenge, permanent secretary at the Gender Ministry, said at the event that the programme will build on what the government has accomplished under the EU-funded Spotlight Initiative on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls in Uganda, which began in 2019 and will end on March 30, 2023. “As the ministry in charge of coordinating gender equality in Uganda, we are excited about the program, and the ministry commits to working closely with all ministries, departments, and agencies of government, as well as civil society organizations, to ensure its success,” Mr Kibenge said during the programme’s launch event at Katwe Primary School in Kampala.
In a speech read by the State Minister for Higher Education, Dr Chrysostom Muyingo, Education Minister Janet Museveni stated that through such programs, Uganda has seen a significant increase in gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. However, she stated that Uganda is still dealing with several obstacles that continue to disadvantage girls and limit their access to education at various levels.
During her visit, Deputy Director General Ferran also announced a €40 million (about Shs152 billion) grant to Uganda to help fight climate change and protect biodiversity. Ms Ferran, who spoke at the function at the Ministry of Water and Environment Offices in Luzira, Kampala, said the programme will focus on promoting sector governance, promoting value chains, strengthening protection and restoration, and improving livelihoods.
“The Forest Partnership is a demonstration of shared ambitions to enable forests to fulfil their economic, social, and environmental roles, as well as a shared responsibility posed to forests by human, social, and development needs,” she explained. The partnership, according to Uganda’s Minister of Water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris, will help the country reach its Nationally Determined Contribution target of 21 per cent tree cover by 2030.
“Through these interventions, the expansion of other land use activities encroaching on forest lands will be reduced, while the economic resilience of forests will be strengthened through enhanced value chains for consumptive and non-consumptive forest products,” he said.