The European Union (EU) has provided €152 million (Shs624 billion) in new funding to Uganda to empower women and the girl-child as well as promote sustainable management of forests.
Of this, €112 million (Shs461 million) will go towards the ‘Gender for Development Uganda (G4DU),’ a programme aimed at supporting education for adolescent girls, reducing gender-based violence and promoting sexual and reproductive health.
The announcement was made on Friday in Kampala during the visit to Uganda by Ms Myriam Ferran, the Deputy Director General of the EU’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships.
“Through G4DU, the EU is concretely demonstrating its support and commitment to protecting children in Uganda. There have recently been reports of child abuse, including in schools and as parents, we are all very much concerned,” said Ms Ferran.
“The action is essentially about girls and women, about empowering them and about protecting them from violence so that they can realise their full potential and contribute fully to Uganda’s development and the country’s vision to become a modern and prosperous country,” she added.
The Gender for Development Uganda (G4DU) project will address some of the key determinants for adolescent girls’ education for their transition from primary to secondary school and the re-entry into school for girls who have dropped out. It will also aim at reducing gender-based violence.
Speaking at the function, Mr Aggrey David Kibenge, the permanent secretary at the Gender ministry, said the programme will build on what the government has achieved under the EU-funded Spotlight Initiative on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls in Uganda that commenced in 2019 and closed on March 30, 2023.
“As the ministry responsible for coordinating gender equality in Uganda, we are excited about the programme and the ministry commits to work closely with all ministries, departments and agencies of government and civil society organisations to ensure its success,” Mr Kibenge said at the programme launch event at Katwe Primary School, Kampala.
Education Minister Janet Museveni, in her speech read by the State Minister for Higher Education, Dr Chrysostom Muyingo, said through such programmes, Uganda has registered a significant increase in gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. However, she said Uganda is still struggling with several barriers that continue to disadvantage the girls and limit their right to education at various levels.
During her visit, Deputy Director General Ferran also announced funding of €40 million (about Shs152b) to Uganda to contribute to the fight against climate change and protect biodiversity.
Speaking at the function at the Ministry of Water and Environment Offices in Luzira, Kampala, Ms Ferran said the programme will look at promoting governance of the sector, promoting value chains, strengthening protection and restoration and improving livelihoods.
“The Forest Partnership is a demonstration of common aspirations to enable forests to fulfil their economic, social, and environmental roles and a common responsibility posed to forests by human, social and development needs,” she said.
The Minister for Water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris, said the partnership will help Uganda attain the Nationally Determined Contribution target of 21 percent tree cover by 2030.
“With these interventions, the expansion of other land use activities encroaching into forest lands will be reduced, while strengthening the economic resilience of forests through enhanced value chains for consumptive and non-consumptive forest products,” he said.