The 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, an annual campaign, serves as a critical platform for raising awareness and action. This year, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region is intensifying its efforts to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence, notably within the mining sector, in partnership with diverse organizations and governmental entities.
It is imperative to acknowledge and address the gender disparity in the mining industry which not only limits the potential of women and young girls but also undermines their dignity. By doing so, we can ensure the overall growth and development of the mining industry as a potential source for regional development, stability, and security.
Ambassador João Samuel Caholo, ICGLR Executive Secretary
Collaboration among the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Great Lakes Region (OSESG-GL), and other partners forms a committed coalition aiming to advance women’s rights and prevent gender-based violence. Through this concerted approach, tangible strides are being taken toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 5 on gender equality, while addressing the specific needs of women and girls in fragile and conflict-affected settings.
This year’s theme “Unite! Investing to prevent violence against women and girls” underscores the significance of unity and financial investment in effective strategies to prevent and address such violence. It emphasizes the collective action required and the necessity of adequate resources to implement programs aimed at prevention, awareness-raising, and response to sexual and gender-based violence.
A pivotal two-day workshop held in Kampala on 27-28, November 2023, served as a crucial platform for engaging stakeholders in the mining sector. The focus was on promoting positive masculinity as a pivotal approach to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence in the Great Lakes Region. This workshop facilitated knowledge-sharing, idea exchange, and collective innovative actions aimed at reshaping cultural and social norms related to masculinity while fortifying initiatives to combat gender-based violence in the mining sector of the Great Lakes Region.
Prevention and response efforts to violence are the cornerstone of our collective actions and will find an appropriate response through access to justice, but also in the concrete actions that will be taken in the data collection of gender-based sexual violence, the adoption and implementation of legislation and policies with adequate financial resources. In addition, sensitization, assistance to victims by strengthening psychosocial care and socio-economic reintegration are key.
Huang Xia, UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region
The mobilization during the 16 days of activism against sexual and gender-based violence in the Great Lakes Region signifies a resolute commitment to addressing these pressing issues. These collective endeavors exemplify a shared determination to establish a safer and more inclusive environment for women and girls, particularly in vulnerable sectors like mining.