Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) and Queer Youth Uganda jointly celebrated the 2016 International Women’s Day by paying a visit to the female inmates at Kirinya Prisons in Jinja. The two organizations marked the day under the theme “We push for Parity” with three major pledges namely-To fight towards progress in access to healthcare for minorities and inmates, take front row in the fight against sexual and gender based violence as well as call for gender inclusive leadership and to uphold career development and sustainability skills for LBTI women.
A team of 14 members from the two organizations were accompanied by a team of five health workers from Most At Risk Populations Initiative (MARPI) Mulago to offer free health services particularly breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling. They also presented the inmates with 5 boxes of sanitary towels, washing soap and sugar among other gifts.
The team talked to the inmates about the conditions in which they live and many expressed the scarcity of essentials such as soap, vaseline, medicine and food as one of the major problems they deal with on a daily basis. Some women said they were traumatized because they had gone long periods of time without seeing their children and other family members. They further said that there is also a major problem of common infections duet to the poor hygiene in the prison cells.
When asked about how they handle their sexual desires, one of the inmates said she always opts for an injection or tablet from the dispensary physician that curb such urges. A simple survey made at the facility showed that most of the women were in jail on cases related to domestic violence and abuse. The counselors from MARPI called upon the women to desist from anger driven actions because they lead to committing offence s that could otherwise be avoided.
From Jinja, the teams from Freedom and Roam Uganda and Queer Youth returned to Kampala where they joined other FARUG members at the former’s premises to commemorate the day. Ssenfuka Joanita Warry, the Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda, in her speech, said, “On this year’s Women’s Day we would like to appreciate everyone who has worked with FARUG to advance the cause of gender equality and the issues affecting our young women. FARUG pledges to fight towards progress in access to healthcare for women minorities and inmates, we take front row in the fight against sexual and gender based violence and call for gender inclusive leadership and to uphold career development and sustainability skills for LBTI women.”
“We call upon everyone, LGBT organizations, government, civil society organizations, religious leaders, educational institutions, international human rights organizations and partners, individuals (men and women) to take a concrete step in achieving gender equality as we strive towards sustainable development,” Ms Ssenfuka further retorted.
She also said the organization will continue working with the community to ensure that LGBTI women access health services since they are usually not regarded in health policies