On Friday 2nd of September 2016, a consortium of four organisations (Akina Mama wa Afrika Uganda, Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development UK, Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel UK and Young Women Leaders Institute Kenya are launching the three year project TuWezeshe Akina Dada- Africa/UK Young Women’s Leadership and Empowerment Movement Project funded by Comic Relief and Department for International Development (DFID). The launch is taking place in Kampala, Uganda. The project is aimed at amplifying actions to improve the rights of East African girls and young women to be free from all forms of violence (including female genital mutilation and child marriage), targeting Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Somaliland and UK-African Diaspora.

Violence against women and girls is a global human rights violation that gravely impacts on the health, development and progress of African women and girls. It takes many forms and includes female genital mutilation, child marriage, domestic violence, sex trafficking, intimate partner violence among others. While many African governments have demonstrated commitment to eliminate violence against women and girls through the adoption of international, regional and national policy frameworks and laws , there is limited progress on the implementation and enforcement of national laws and policies that prevent, protect and support the needs of survivors.

Dr. Maggie Kigozi, a Board Member of Akina Mama wa Afrika, highlights the World Health Organisation report that shows 37% of African women are affected by intimate partner violence; 125 million women and girls from 28 African countries are living with female genital mutilation and 39% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa were married before the age of 18 years (UNICEF 2016) this demonstrates the urgent need for accelerated efforts to address these abuses and secure the liberty of African women and girls.

“For too long African women and girls have experienced multiple forms of violence, ending these human rights violations requires urgent actions at all levels including government commitment to protect and fulfil obligations as well as enabling young women to have the leadership and voice to advocate for their rights to be free from all forms of violence.” Naana Otoo-Oyortey MBE, Executive Director, FORWARD

TuWezeshe Akina Dada (My Rights My Freedom) project will bring about changes in the lives of young women through developing their leadership capacity to influence and shape decisions about their rights, amplify their voices and strengthen their collective action to be free from gender based violence. Unique to the project is building bridges between African Diaspora in the UK and Africa, to address this common problem. TuWezeshe Akina Dada; My rights My Freedom is here to contribute to securing the dignity, freedom and rights of all African women and girls to achieve their potential and build an Africa that is peaceful, prosperous and equitable.

Launch details: Friday 2nd September. Address: Protea Hotel, Kampala, Uganda. 8.00am- 1.00pm.

Notes to Editors:

• For media enquiries: UK please contact: Naomi Reid: [email protected] Tel: +44 (0)20 8960 4000 in Uganda contact: Irene Kagoya, [email protected], Tel. +256 (0)775110881
• FORWARD is an African Diaspora women led UK campaign and support charity dedicated to advancing and safeguarding the sexual and reproductive health and rights of African girls and women. FORWARD works in the UK, Europe and Africa to help change practices and policies that affect access, dignity and wellbeing. www.forwarduk.org.uk Twitter: @FORWARDUK
• FORWARD has been campaigning against FGM and other forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) affecting African women and girls for 30 years.