Observed annually on March 8, International Women’s Day serves as a focal point for the women’s
rights movement and raises awareness of topics including gender equality, reproductive rights, and
violence and abuse against women. The day is celebrated by both state and non-state actors based
on an annual theme derived from a pertinent trend or issue influencing the livelihood of women
and girls based on the aforementioned parameters.

According to UNWOMEN, the theme for the 2023 women’s day is “DigitALL: Innovation and
Technology for gender equality”. This is in line with the key theme for the Commission on the
Status of Women’s 67th Session (CSW-67), “Innovation and technological transformation, and
education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region – Regional Training Facility on the
Prevention and Suppression of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes Region
(ICGLR-RTF) is mandated to Train and Sensitize Professionals Managing Cases of SGBV in the
12 Member States of the Great Lakes Region.

As provided for in the synopsis to this year’s theme, digital innovation and technology are pertinent
to achieving gender equality in form, practice and context. The ICGLR-RTF as a center of
excellence had a similar sentiment at heart in its strategic, operational and tactical advancements
in achieving zero tolerance for SGBV in the region as expressed in some of the interventions put
in place to this end.

Digital innovations and technological advancements at the ICGLR-RTF
Aware of the emerging trends in learning, with the effect of Covid-19’s remote erudition evolution.
The center developed an e-learning platform that facilitates remote learning across the 12 Member
States. An inclusive portal easily accessible on multiple devices to both men and women, in three
working languages (English, French & Portuguese) of the ICGLR. That will enable all inquisitive
professionals improve on their skills and knowledge in prevention and response to cases of SGBV
in the Great Lakes Region.

In execution of her mandate, the center has embraced digital advancements in training,
communication and finance. Leveraging on technology, the center has been able to communicate,
engage and source feedback from digital citizens through its various campaigns. Regarding
training, the center has adopted virtual learning mechanisms enabled by state of the art
conferencing equipment housed at the head offices in Kampala – Uganda.

With this advancement, the center further addresses the gender digital gap among its trainers by
periodically training its professionals in the use of virtual platforms for learning and transferring
knowledge through capacity building. Over 100 professionals – both men and women have
benefited from this growth trend.

Call to Action
In commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day, I encourage women to gain interest
in digital skills as part of their capacity enhancements both in their careers and personal
experiences. This will grant them a competitive edge in accessing information for their
development and safety. This is to further urge men to be open to digital innovation and support
women in the uptake of these spaces. At institutional level, knowledge is power, technology eases
access and utilization to knowledge. Adoption of technology facilitates quick delivery of services
for both duty bearers and survivors of SGBV with efficacy.

“Let’s leave no one behind, embrace digital innovation for gender equality and achieve Zero
Tolerance on SGBV.”