It is a great honor to preside at the opening of this Positive Masculinity high level dialogue for Uganda Police – the first of its kind, where Uganda Police Force (UPF) and UN Women combine synergies to promote positive masculinity among male police officers with the aim of ending gender discrimination and other violence targeted at the female gender but specifically female police officers.
Gender Based Violence (GBV) is highlighted in the Second National Development Plan (NDP II – 2015/16-2019/20) as a critical human right, public health and economic concern with 56 percent of women citing having experienced physical violence by the age of 15 years while 28 percent women aged 15-49 citing having ever experienced sexual violence compared to 9 percent of men in the same age group
The prevalence, complexity and the social acceptance of Gender Based Violence have generated the recognition that the prevention and response to GBV requires broad community participation and particularly the participation of men and boys. It is for this reason that The National Policy on Elimination of GBV (2016) calls for specific promotion of male involvement as a strategy to enhance community participation in prevention and response to GBV in the family, community, schools, and institutions and well as workplaces.
It is therefore my intent and that of the entire UPF to implement male involvement through the promotion of positive masculinities as a comprehensive and internationally recognized strategy to end all forms of gender discrimination and violence against women officers and create a conducive working environment that promotes a gender responsive policing. We shall do this through the framework of our police weekly barazas.
Positive masculinity emphasizes the values of equality, respect and dignity for people of all gender identities. Positive Masculinity also seeks to challenge boys and men to contribute towards more helpful and life-giving ideas about what it means to be men in a productive way. The positive masculinity campaign is aimed at triggering a countrywide action to engage, sensitize and highlight the responsibilities that male police officers have to unlearn social norms linked to toxic masculinity and eliminate all forms of discrimination & violence against women and girls both within the force and the public at large.
The Positive masculinity campaign adds to the already existing steps that the Force has taken to address specific gender issues in policing in Uganda and internal concerns regarding discrimination, lack of opportunity, and equality for women and men who serve in the force. These interventions include:
- The development and launch of UPF gender police and its implementation strategy in 2018,
- Establishment of the Departments of Women Affairs, Child and Family Protection, Sexual and Gender Based Violence and child related Offences;
- The inclusion of modules on gender, human rights and child protection in the curriculum for the initial training of police officers; and
- The practice of affirmative action in recruitment and promotion of female officers.
- The UPF has also worked with the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development and partners including UN Women and civil society organizations to enhance its gender responsive practices.
It is at this point that I want to profoundly thank UN Women for its continued support to UPF since 2014. UN Women has supported UPF in areas of; Logistical and personnel capacity building, Community awareness on Gender Based Violence (GBV), Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG), and Policy development within UPF. The female officers leadership training held recently in Senior Command and Staff College Bwebajja supported by UN Women has already seen more female police officers in command and senior positions.
In this respect, Uganda Police will continue to amplify its efforts and make commitment to any intervention that will improve the working relations between male and female officers and between police and the public. Through the positive masculinity campaign, we hope to make police officers exhibit a positive masculinity image that promotes gender equality; improve on the image of the police especially when handling GBV issues; promote a gender responsive policing; and increase understanding of police on causes, effects and consequences of gender discrimination and Violence Against Women and Girls.
It is therefore my honor to declare this first positive masculinity high level dialogue of police senior management open – FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.
J.M.Okoth – Ochola, (Esq.)
INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE