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The SURGE Project- The Women Gender Based Violence Shelter Project

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For now  20 years, ActionAid  has gathered  experience in prevention and response to Gender Based Violence in Uganda.

ActionAid Uganda started by  designing  and implementing  the  Women Won’t Wait (WWW) campaign aimed at addressing the Intersection of HIV Infection and Violence against Women and Girls. This resulted in the piloting of Women Protection Centre (WPC) model in three districts of Mubende, Pallisa and Nebbi.

The results and experiences from the pilot deeply informed DFID’s support in the  establishment of seven additional Centres in Kumi, Katakwi, Mubende, Kween, Amuru, and Kampala (Bwaise).  Two additional shelters of  Lira and Gulu were later  established with support from UNFPA under the Joint UN Programme on Gender Equality,(2012-2014).

The Gender Based Violence Shelters project contributes to  SURGE (Strengthening Uganda’s Response to Gender Equality), a four year programme (June 2016 to May 2020), supported by DFID.

The  overall aim is to  strengthen efforts towards achieving equal access for women and men to opportunities and a life free from violence and, ultimately gender equality.

  • The vision for SURGE is to achieve more traction towards equality for women and other vulnerable groups in Uganda by increasing awareness of gender and equity issues in communities and the public sector (using budget scoring), improving demand for, funding for, access to and quality of gender and equity responsive services while  facilitating the spread of positive behavioural norms over a broad cross-section of society. The programe strives to achieve this through:
  • Building GoU capacity to lead on integration of gender and equity in public financial management;
  • Improving public awareness and progressive change in social norms away from gender inequality and gender based violence;
  • Increasing access to safe spaces/shelter, legal, health, psychosocial services and economic opportunities for Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors;
  • Ensuring that effective programme management arrangements are established to achieve programme outputs and objectives.

SURGE contributes to the achievement of Uganda’s Vision 2040 and the aims of the National Development Plan (2015/16-2019/20), Social Development Sector Plan, Uganda Gender Policy, National GBV Policy, the Public Finance and Management Act (2015), the Domestic Violence Act (2010), the Prohibition of FGM Act (2010) as well as other national, regional and international normative frameworks and standards on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

ActionAid Uganda implements the SURGE project  alongside other organisations  such as  Centre for Domestic Violence (CEDOVIP) that is dedicated to  delivering on GBV prevention with focus on Female Genital Mutilation  in Kween and Moroto and Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Kampala.

MIFUMI, another partner  delivers on both prevention and Response of GBV in Masaka, Mbarara and Moroto.

The programme also provides targeted Technical Assistance  and operational support for implementing gender equality and equity in Public Finance Management . It delivers on this by  working closely with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Soecifically, ActionAid is working towards;Improved public awareness and progressive change in social norms away from gender inequality and gender based violence; this is implemented using SASA! Methodology and an alternative prevention approach on what works to prevent Violence against Women and Girls. To achieve this, ActionAid  uses  different approaches like capacity building for formal and informal structures, community meetings and dialogues,  Drama and open air debates.

To attain Increased access to safe spaces/shelter, legal, health, psychosocial services and economic opportunities for GBV survivors,  ActionAid runs  10 GBV shelters. These  offer Integrated GBV services to Women and Girls but also Men and boys as secondary beneficiaries  The services include;

  • Temporary accommodation for protection as well as security for survivors. This guarantees  a safe and comforting place with basic necessities that include food, bed and friends.
  • Counseling and psychosocial support to survivors of Gender Based Violence.
  • Provision of Legal aid, Case management and representation in courts of Law.
  • Rehabilitation and resettlement of survivors to the most comfortable and safe environment, (incl. mediation) for those that need. This comes with an economic package if seen as essential.
  • Support with personal safety planning to the survivors.
  • Provision of First aid and Referral, as need be to hospital, police, courts, including financial facilitation of all processes.
  • Documentation of cases to support policy advocacy and campaigns.

 The shelters work through  GBV Coalition/ GBV Task Force composed of  technical, political and civil society representatives. These meet quarterly to discuss and share experiences on prevention and response to GBV in General but also with emphasis to the shelter and drawn plans of action. The colaitions also  play a supervisory role and offer technical support to the shelters.

The project is not an isolated from the organisations 5th strategy but an inbuilt component under priority one; Women’s access to social justice and Strategic objective 1: To advance girl’s and women’s realisation of social and economic justice by 2022.

 For further details please contact;

Joyce Baker Nabwire Project Coordinator  Women Protection Centres

Tel; +256775493797


 Nivatiti Nandujja National Coordinator Women Rights and Gender Equality

Tel; +256772663047