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Creating safer spaces in a very homophobic Jinja Eastern Uganda
- Last updated: April 19, 2013, 11:16 AM
Creating safer spaces in a very homophobic Jinja Eastern Uganda
Greetings Gender, Equality and Health Organization (GEHO - Uganda). GEHO - Uganda was founded in 2008 with a Vision of "A just Society where LGBTi Community access Total Health and enjoy their Human Rights" while our Mission is "GEHO – Uganda exists to restore human dignity of LGBT communities/persons and address access to health services through Information, Outreach, Service Provision and Strategic Partnerships". Our mission and vision are being realized through the following objectives; - To provide key health and legal services to the LGBTi Community, To work towards improvement of SRHR and contribute to the fight against HIV/AIDS among the LGBTi, To create a sustainable partnerships and networks with same minded Organizations to address issues affecting the LGBTi AND To create strengthen GEHO – Uganda institutional capacity to be able to fulfill our mandate.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBT) in Uganda are among the most vulnerable of marginalized groups. They are often targeted for violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Uganda is one of the highly homophobic countries in the world; there is a lot of state sponsored homophobia. LGBTI in Uganda may be unable to rely on support from the social networks that are critical for the survival of many minorities because they are frequently marginalized by family members, school leaders, church leaders, workplaces etc.
GEHO - UGANDA was founded with a major aim of fending for fundamental Human Rights with a bias on LGBTi aspects and health in Eastern Uganda. Since 2008 GEHO - UGANDA has been involved in establishing her self and went head-on with SRHR issues among LGBTi Community in Eastern Uganda.
GEHO - UGANDA is grateful for the support received from its founders (Andrew Waiswa, Isaac Mulema and Hellen Nangobi, Eunice and others) Individual friends, well-wishers and above all Rudkin Family Foundation that have enabled the implementation of the above on-going project.
GEHO - UGANDA owns social capital among its target group (LGBTi) It enjoys acceptability as well as moral, technical support from organizations and individual who identify with her work. In addition, GEHO is building strong and reliable partnership with different civil society organizations in Uganda, like Coalition, SMUG, MARPS, Ifreedom, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) and the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum Uganda (HRAPF), Perfect Uganda, Rainbow Equality Uganda, UNAIDS, St. Francis Health & Care Services etc
As a result GEHO - UGANDA is growing into an organization recognized by many as a key actor contributing to human rights issues of LGBTi in Eastern Uganda.
During the period of its existence, GEHO - UGANDA's operations have continued despite the fundraising failures. For the first time therefore GEHO - UGANDA has brought together key stakeholders to define and agree on the strategic direction of the organization now presented in this strategic plan.
GEHO - UGANDA understanding of vulnerability among the LGBT
Vulnerability is a situation where individuals or groups are exposed to significant risks, which are more likely to lead to failure to live a health life, lead a normal or meaningful life, and in extreme cases lead to death. In our analysis, we believe that lack of respect for fundamental human rights for the LGBTi and vulnerability are a cause and effect to each other.
In the cases of GEHO - UGANDA target group, abuse and/or lack of human rights and vulnerability is perceived as a key and major factor in worsening the status of the LGBT whose livelihood we seek to improve. Vulnerability is manifested through lack of awareness, bad and/or poor cultural beliefs, ignorance, and lack of self-confidence, inability to defend or enjoy one's rights, risky behaviors and practices. Poverty is also a cause of the negative attitudes that target groups hold against themselves as well as those held against them by other members of society. It is also because of vulnerability that our target group lack access to basic services, which would put them in a state of dependency on nature, others individuals as well as institutions.
Vulnerability leads to luck of self-esteem and self-confidence, the two most down grading feelings held by our target groups. It also leads and compounds exposure of the poor to violence.
Against the above philosophy, GEHO - UGANDA seeks to pursue the following vision, mission, values and strategic objectives.
A just Society where LGBTi Community access Total Health and enjoy their Human Rights
GEHO – Uganda exists to restore human dignity of LGBTi communities/persons and address access to health services through Information, Outreach, Service Provision and Strategic Partnerships
1. To provide key health and legal services to the LGBT Community,
2. To work towards improvement of SRHR and contribute to the fight against HIV/AIDS among the LGBT.
3. To create a sustainable partnerships and networks with same minded Organizations to address issues affecting the LGBT
4. To create strengthen GEHO – Uganda institutional capacity to be able to fulfill our mandate.
There are five values or beliefs, which underpin our work and guide our behavior. The values act as benchmarks for guiding our partnership, actions and behavior. We believe that, if followed fully, the values shall enable the world to become a better world. Our beliefs include:
Equality: We believe that all human beings should have equal access to opportunities and participation. We believe that LGBTi have been marginalised and therefore, we will deliberately work for benefit of these categories of people in our society.
Integrity: We believe in transparency and have zero-tolerance for corruption in our organisation and in the process of doing our work
Participation: We believe in participation of our stakeholders in decisions that shape their lives. In this way we manage to harness the potential that the marginalised groups have for their own development.
Self Determination. We believe that we are local CBO, with a local but national development agenda. We believe in protecting our autonomy; and setting and driving our own agenda.
Learning: We believe that development is a process, with no blue prints but an exploratory process. We therefore seek to learn from what, why, and how we do it in our organisations and communities. We believe that learning should be the agenda of networking and partnership among development actors in the world.
"A Uganda with healthy and empowered Gays and Lesbians accessing quality, adequate and equitable sexual and reproductive health services at the same time seeing that our Fundamental Human Rights as Gays and Lesbians are respected by state of Uganda"