Uganda risks losing donor funding over sexual violence

The reported increase in cases of sexual violence especially in communities with big infrastructural development projects could lead to donors cutting back on investment in such projects, the State Minister for Gender and Culture Peace Mutuzo has warned.

Speaking at a media training on Gender Based Violence (GBV) at Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala, Mutuzo said that there is a risk of having project funding worth more than Shs 7.5 trillion cancelled by donors which calls for intensified government efforts to reduce on GBV cases in project areas.

“Uganda risks losing over $ 2 billion (Shs 7.5 trillion) in development projects if there are no adequate efforts to address social risks in workplaces and infrastructure projects. The poor social safeguards systems at work and in project communities must be prevented to ensure the dignity of children, women and workers is protected,” Mutuzo said.

Mutuuzo speaking during the training.

In January 2016, the World Bank suspended funding for the construction of the Kamwenge – Fort Portal road over environmental abuse and sexual harassment of young girls by road workers. The suspension was lifted a year later.

Fears are high that the same could befall the Kapchorwa – Kween – Suam road project in Eastern Uganda were cases of sexual exploitation and abuse are reported to be high.

Mutuzo said, Uganda’s investment drive has faced setbacks due to inadequate social safeguards management systems in infrastructure projects as well as small and medium enterprises.

CEDOVIP Executive Director Tinah Musuya (R) and Hon Peace Mutuuzo sharing a light moment.

“The construction and infrastructure sectors have recently faced numerous challenges in managing and mitigating social risks associated with the influx of labour in infrastructure projects. This has ultimately led to social unrest andconflict, low productivity, increased occupational injuries and disability, increase in acute and chronic occupational illness,” she said.

In Uganda, 25% of adolescent girls and young women aged 15-19 are pregnant or already mothers and at least one in 10 girls are married before they are 15. One in four teenage girls over 15 have already given birth or are pregnant according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) report of 2017.