World Bank, Gender Ministry officials and district leaders in a meeting in Kabarole
The World Bank in partnership with Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development is implementing a Shs 3.4Billion ($1million) in Communities of Kabarole and Kamwenge district that were affected by sexual abuses during the construction of Fort Portal-Kamwenge road.
In October, 2015, World Bank suspended funding to the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project (TSDP) for the construction of Kamwenge-Fort Portal 66.4km road due to contractual breaches related to workers’ issues, social and environmental concerns, poor project performance, and serious allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse by contractor staff.
Julius Byenkya, the Child Protection Officer World Bank Uganda disclosed that following the suspension of the road projects over sexual abuse and violations; World Bank has embarked on a project to sensitize the people along the Fort Portal-Kamwenge road that were affected by the construction.
Noel Komunda, the Gender Based Violence (GBV) Monitoring and Evaluations officer in the Gender Ministryrevealed that the Project is code named: Supporting Children’s Opportunities through Protection and Empowerment (SCOPE).
The revelation was made during a meeting with the district officials of Kabarole and Kamwenge held at Kabarole district headquarters Kitumba on Wednesday.
Komunda said, “The project is aimed at enhancing prevention measures and response services on sexual violence and child abuse, and targets 9514 children, OVC, survivors of sexual violence and those at risk of violence in the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge”.
“The communities along this road, local leaders and technical staff from the two districts will be trained on handling child abuse and sexual violence cases, referring the victims to medical workers and empowering police to testify in court,” he said.
Stella Ogwang another officer from the ministry said the implementation of a two year SCOPE project follows a research findings indicating a high school dropout of 57% with girls most affected, and 51.6% accounting for child abuse.
She revealed that the project will be implemented by Civil Social organizations operating in these two districts, supervised by the district technical team and Ministry of Gender.
Ogwang said, “After the two years of implementation, the program will be extended for more five years and will be rolled out to other districts because the suspension of funding by World Bank didn’t only affect Kamwnge –Fort Portal road but also Kabwoya-Kyenjojo road”.
RDC Kamwenge Elijah Biryabarema blamed the 90% of the funding suspension to local people saying they would have protected themselves against such abuses and also reported the suspects to the leaders.
He said the bank would have not suspended the project if there was proper coordination between the NGOs, contractors and district leaders who would have solved the problem before issues escalating to the international level.
The Vice chairperson Kabarole Moses Ikagobya welcomed the project but observed the need to involve the political leaders because when things go wrong they are the first victims to blame.