By Tonny Akankwatsa
US Ambassador H.E Deborah Malac makes a toast with Uganda Premier Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda. The US envoy has urged the Ugandan government to invest in girl child education. (FILE PHOTO)
The US Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac has advocated for the girl-child in her appeal to the government of Uganda to empower women by investing in their health and education to alleviate gender-based violence.
She made these remarks at her residence in Kololo on July 4, 2019, during the United States Independence day celebrations that were also attended by Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda who stood in for President Museveni.
“Infrastructure is important for long term economic growth and development, but it cannot come at the expense of investments in education and health because human capital is equally as important as infrastructure, ” remarked H.E Malac on Wednesday.
She added that the US government is investing a lot in women empowerment programs to make sure that Ugandan women and girls have enough access to quality education. The US envoy also narrated that, every day she meets talented girls in Uganda who can make a contribution to their country just like how the US women have made great contributions to their country.
She also revealed that the US government is more focused on the health of women and children together with the prevention, Care and treatment of HIV/AIDS in Uganda. “When the government focuses on health, education and poverty, gender-based violence and inequality will be solved in among Ugandan women and girls.” She remarked.
Speaking at the same event, Uganda’s Premier, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, who had represented the Head of state, said that the government is grateful for the support from the US and will maintain cordial relations between the two nations.
Way forward, “we are excited to strengthen our efforts in partnership with the Ugandan government and people to support girls and women throughout the country. The work of advancing women’s rights is difficult and uncomfortable. We have certainly experienced this in the United States – but it is crucial work, and we urge the Government of Uganda to prioritize actions to combat gender-based violence and ensure equal opportunity. How many events do we all attend that call attention to the high prevalence of gender-based violence only to see little concrete action afterward? We must channel our collective outrage over sexual harassment, assault, and physical and emotional violence against women into meaningful actions – not just blame the victims and sweep incidents under the rug.”
She narrated that for a nation to develop, women are vital hence their issus must be addressed too as possible. “Women’s rights are human rights, and women’s issues are human issues. They are also international development issues. Research clearly shows that investments in women’s employment, health, and education have a direct connection to a country’s economic growth and successful development. This is a proven fact. No nation can become a vibrant middle-income country if it leaves half its population out of the development equation,” she examined.
On the other side
According study reports, over 77.5 billion have been spent by Uganda’s government to eradicate gender based violence, no matter efforts and strategies applied to resolve the challenge-including gender equality.
“As is true globally, much more work remains to achieve equality for Ugandan women. One area of major concern – and perhaps the greatest constraint on women’s full participation – is high levels of gender-based violence. The number of gender-based violence cases reported in Uganda continues to increase annually. Not only is gender-based violence an assault on the ideal of equal rights for all, but it is also harming Uganda’s prosperity. A study by the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention showed that gender-based violence costs Uganda 77.5 billion shillings annually in lost profits and expenses – 77.5 billion!” she lamented