ICGLR-RTF Report on The Symposium for Affiliated Trainers and Experts on Interventions taken to “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” taking into account Prevention and Response to Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Commemoration of International Women’s Day 2024 held on March 12, 2024

Participants/Venue: Attended by 52 Affiliated Trainers and Experts (38 participated virtually and 15-physically attended the Symposium at the ICGLR-RTF offices located in Kampala, Uganda.

Program: The Program commenced at 11:00 am and ended at 2:30pm.  It included:

  • Welcome Remarks by the ICGLR-RTF Regional Director – Hon. Dr. Janvière Ndirahisha;
  • Opening Remarks by the National Coordinator – Uganda represented by Amb. Phillip Rukikaire;
  • Key Note Address by the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development represented by Ms. Doreen Bakeiha;
  • Presentations from ICGLR Member States;
  • Plenary Discussions;
  • Action Points; and Closing Remarks.
  1. Welcome Remarks: The ICGLR-RTF Regional Director noted that the mandate of ICGLR-RTF is to train and sensitize judicial officers, police units, social workers, medical officers and other categories of persons who handle cases of sexual violence in the Great Lakes Region. She further noted that the ICGLR-RTF uses a cascading approach under which the Affiliated Trainers and Experts are vital components because they have the responsibility to train professionals within their respective institutions.

She explained that the Symposium also provides an opportunity for commemorating the International Women’s Day 2024, sharing information on achievements registered, challenges faced, and action points for scaling up interventions that will effectively enhance ‘Investment in Women: Accelerate Progress’; prevent and respond to Sexual and Gender Based Violence in an innovative and impactful manner.

  1. Opening Remarks: Amb. Rukikaire on behalf of the National Coordinator – Uganda highlighted the commitment of the Government of Uganda to support ICGLR and in particular ICGLR-RTF operations as the Host Government. He noted need to continue investing in women in order to accelerate progress in all spheres and particularly in – provision of financial services; reproductive health; education; and leadership.  He further noted the need to scale up measures to prevent and respond to SGBV.
  2. Key Note Address: Ms. Doreen Bakeiha on behalf of the Ministry for Gender Labour and Social Development – Uganda highlighted investments in women which have accelerated progress in political, economic and social spheres. Notable among these is Government support for operationalization of shelters which provide services for victims/survivours of SGBV; enactment and implementation of laws and policies on affirmative action in politics and education; and the GROW Project – a special initiative which provides an integrated package of services for female entrepreneurs.
  3. Presentations by ICGLR Member States: Presentations were made by: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zambia highlighted investments made in women in the political, economic, and social spheres. Some of the key highlights noted were: –
  • Illustrious investment in girls’ education and women engaged in agriculture in Agriculture by Angola;
  • Establishment of One Stop Centres for victims/survivours of SGBV, and the launch of the development and investment bank for women in Burundi;
  • Efforts to invest in human capital with emphasis on youth and women in the Central African Republic;
  • Provision of health services to women and children in the Republic of Congo;
  • Economic empowerment of women through initiatives such as the ‘Women for Women International Signature Program’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • Women Enterprise Fund and emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education for girls’ program in Kenya;
  • Gender and inclusive policies of Rwanda which have resulted in 61.25% seats held by women in the national parliament;
  • Advocacy for the protection of women and prevention of SGBV, meaningful participation in peace processes, building an inclusive and peaceful country, gender responsive humanitarian action, especially during the context of on-going conflict in Sudan;
  • Enactment of a legal framework that promotes affirmative action, protection of women’s unique status; and economic empowerment of women via various programs such as the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP)- an initiative that is aimed at improving access to financial services for women and equipping them with skills for enterprise growth, value addition and marketing of their products and services.
  • ‘Keeping girls in School Initiative’ which addresses inequalities in educational attainment related to gender and poverty and reduces secondary school drop-out rates among vulnerable adolescent girls; School Re-Entry Policy which ensures the right of pregnant girls to stay in school and to return to school after delivering their children and provision of one stop centres for survivours of SGBV, fast track courts for SGBV cases; and collaboration with Chiefs in prevention and response to SGBV in Zambia.
  1. Plenary Discussions and Closing Remarks highlighted the need to address emerging security threats such as technology facilitated SGBV; the psychosocial effects of SGBV; rehabilitation of perpetrators of SGBV; Conflict Related Sexual Violence and the need for male engagement capitalizing on positive masculinity. Discussions also highlighted the need for refresher training, revamping of ICGLR-RTF trainers and experts, closer cooperation with ICGLR National Coordination Mechanisms, and the need for resources for cascading the knowledge, information and skills acquired on prevention and response to SGBV.


6. ACTION POINTS: The following Action Points were agreed upon:

  1. Revamp, document and update information on ICGLR-RTF Trainers and Experts;
  2. Conduct refresher courses, capacity building for Affiliated Trainers and Experts; and continuously support joint training of all actors that handle cases of SGBV;
  3. Establish links with schools and infuse prevention and response to SGBV in the school curriculum; and focus on youth since they are the majority of the ICGLR population and most impacted by SGBV;
  4. Forge new alliances with impactful actors such as Traditional Leaders, Religious Leaders, Community leaders, Teachers, and the media;
  5. Firm up linkages with the ICGLR National Coordination Mechanism by introducing the Affiliated Trainers and Experts to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, and Ministries of Gender;
  6. Continuously conduct research on topics such as new forms of SGBV; and the status of implementation of ICGLR legal and policy framework;
  7. Create an ICGLR-RTF Network of Trainers and Experts on SGBV for continuous interaction and sharing of information.
  8. Convene on a quarterly basis in order to share ideas, information, good practices, and devise strategies for resource mobilization;
  9. Revamp and operationalize the ICGLR-RTF Media Network.