Gender Based Violence (GBV) has in recent years gained public attention but exploitative and choice-denying GBV associated with uptake of family planning and directed towards women of reproductive age remains a silent evil in most parts of Uganda, often meted by male partners.
In Uganda, GBV prevalence rates are among the highest in the world. Uganda Demographic Health Survey – 2016 found that among women 15 to 49 years old, 51% experienced physical violence and 22% had experienced sexual violence in their lifetimes (UBOS & ICF, 2018). Sexual coercion is common in Uganda, 21% of women reporting that their partner had physically forced them into sex.
Negative consequences of GBV on women are many, including unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion and increased adolescent pregnancy (Maxwell et al., 2018; Pallitto et al., 2013; WHO, 2013; WHO and LSHTM, 2010). These effects are the direct result of physical and sexual trauma. In addition, indirect effects of violence limit sexual and reproductive control for women and girls, including reduced freedom of choice. (Miller et al., 2010a; Miller et al., 2010b; Pallitto et al., 2013; Tusiime et al., 2015).
Access to new methods of family planning remains low in Uganda with 30% unmet need (UDHS, 2016) and GBV associated with Family Planning (FP) has further limited many women from freely accessing the methods, causing debilitating effects to those who have tried to access Family Planning services without consent from their spouses or guardians.
With a grant for “Closing the Gap” through Kyetume Community Based Health Programme, FMP is implementing FP interventions aiming to increase access to contraceptives among women of reproductive age in slums, peri-urban and fishing communities in Wakiso district and nearly 67% (out of a total of 873) of clients served reported facing violence from a spouse, stigmatization, forceful and violent removal of implants and outright denial of consent to up-take of a given family planning method. Our projection was to deliver various family planning methods to 4,000 women of reproductive age (WRA) in one year (Feb 2018 – Jan 2019), however, GBV associated with FP has enormously affected the uptake of FP among targeted population.
This project seeks to generate support from key stakeholders to champion safe delivery of family planning services to women of reproductive age through implementing a systematic behaviour change communication campaign to transform attitudes of target community, eradicate gender based violence associated with family planning and empower affected women to know there is recourse to the violence.