Type of Document Thesis Author Jonikaite, Greta URN etd-11132006-013322 Title Addressing Violence Against Women in Uganda: Approaches and Strategies of Civil Society Organizations Degree Master of Science Department International Affairs, Program in Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Rebecca Miles Committee Chair Peter Easton Committee Member Terence Coonan Committee Member Keywords
- Civil Society Organizations
- Violence Against Women
- Gender Based Violence
- Public Health
Date of Defense 2006-11-07 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis thesis looks at how civil society organizations (CSOs) are working to address the issue of violence against women in Uganda. Specifically, it examines what types of organizations are working to address this issue, where their efforts fit into the public health ecological model for violence prevention, and to what extent they adopt a feminist perspective. In addition, I investigate how operational environments affect CSOs and what the organizations consider they have learned from their experiences. The study is primarily based on interviews conducted in the field with CSO representatives from various parts of Uganda.
The findings suggest that the majority of the CSOs studied are grassroots or other indigenous women’s organizations that undertake activities in multiple categories and thus adopt a holistic approach in addressing the issue of violence against women.
Based on the public health ecological model for violence prevention, the overall picture that emerges is that the CSOs focus on primary level interventions, specifically concentrating their efforts on sensitization, awareness-raising, advocacy, and lobbying activities. In regards to their level of operations, my findings indicate that organizations favor community level interventions. All of the CSOs in the sample aim to address multiple at risk factors and most adopt a focus on multiple types of violence. In terms of the target population, the majority of interventions are universal, whereas both selective and indicated interventions primarily target women and girls.
The study results indicate that the majority of the organizations adopt a feminist approach, either explicitly or implicitly. As a result, the CSOs focus on women’s and girls’ strategic interests and work towards the equal enjoyment of rights and opportunities. In addition, a majority of the activities that aim to address women’s practical needs do so in ways that have high transformatory potential.
Those interviewed report that CSOs face a variety of constraints from their operational environments. Inadequate human and financial resources, negative cultural and political climates, as well as competition between CSOs are impeding their efforts to end violence against women in Uganda. Only two positive factors were identified that contribute to the performance of CSOs – their dedicated members/staff/volunteers and networking with other organizations.
From the CSO interview responses some common lessons emerged. These include addressing the causes instead of the symptoms of violence against women, in particular, addressing gender inequality and consequently involving men and other community members in violence prevention efforts. The organizations also emphasize the importance of appropriate methods and communication strategies when dealing with sensitive issues. Finally, although facilitating behavioral change is a long-term and arduous process, interventions that promote lasting change are considered critical in order to end gender-based violence.
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