In 2021, Sense International Uganda (SI Uganda) joined a consortium led by the Uganda Society for Disabled Children and Peace and Humanitarian Security Resources in a peacebuilding project aimed at removing barriers to women’s meaningful participation in violence and conflict prevention.
The project focused on women with disabilities and female caregivers of persons with disabilities, and SI Uganda facilitated the inclusion of women with deafblindness and mothers and female caregivers of children with deafblindness. Leaders at the local and national level, the media, and family members were active stakeholders in the programme.
The project sought to improve the meaningful participation of the beneficiaries in early conflict warning at both the national and district levels. Violence and conflict were broadly interpreted to include all types of violence, such as collective violence (e.g., violent gangs), interpersonal violence (e.g., domestic violence, child abuse, etc.), and economic violence (e.g., property seizures, exclusion from development programmes, etc).
The beneficiaries were empowered as Fem Wise-Africa mediators, a network of African women in conflict prevention and mediation and a subsidiary mechanism of the African Union.
This two-year project used a range of activities, including trainings and community dialogue, to ensure that:
Some key learnings from the project include:
By mainstreaming persons with deafblindness into broader disability programmes and mainstream mechanisms, like Fem Wise-Africa, there is greater awareness of the daily violence that persons with deafblindness face – the aggression they encounter, not being taken seriously, dismissive responses, refusals to accommodate them, and overall exclusion. In this project, peacebuilding went beyond the absence of violence and focused on meeting the daily needs, including economic needs, of persons with deafblindness and the enjoyment of their rights while creating a network for advocacy and inclusion.