Anglican community launches Thursdays in Black at Makerere University in Uganda. 11 November 2018
World Council of Churches, Published 25 October 2018
On 11 October, students of Makerere University officially launched the World Council of Churches (WCC) Thursdays in Black campaign against sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in Uganda.
The students were led by the Anglican community of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB). The colorful occasion, attended by students from various colleges within this university and Kampala International University, was held at St Francis Chapel (Makerere University).
The university was represented by three staff members, as well as Rev. Kumakec Scovia Aleru. Rev. Pauline Wanjiru Njiru, WCC Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy (EHAIA) regional coordinator for eastern Africa, attended the function as the guest of honor.
The launch began with a presentation by a student on the causes of SGBV. The main facilitator, Josephine Kasaato, the Mother’s Union president of Namirembe Diocese, Church of Uganda, discussed the negative effects of such violence on Christian families. She later on involved all participants in an open discussion on the role of young people in ending SGBV and HIV.
“You have whatever it takes to end SGBV and the transmission of HIV”, said Kasaato as she urged the young men and women to join hands and put an end to rape and violence.
Four young women living with HIV made a presentation about the challenges of living with HIV and the need to end SGBV because it accounts for the biggest percentage of new HIV infections in Africa. They called upon men to stop giving excuses and blaming women for occurrence of violence but instead reform themselves.
Student Brian Muyunga, who is also the chair of COVAB, said SGBV is the major barrier in the elimination of HIV. He called upon his fellow youth to actively participate and help lead the various SGBV and HIV prevention campaigns.
“SGBV has made youths the most vulnerable age group to new HIV infections. This is a challenge which we must approach with all our youthful vigor”, said Muyunga.
During her keynote speech, Njiru began by asking participants who a real man or woman is.
“Christianity promotes love, dialogue and friendship”, said Njiru as she explained to participants their role as Christians in ending SGBV. She continued that Thursdays in Black was started to say that a different world without rape and violence is possible. “We must do everything possible to influence the young boys to grow not to become rapists and abusers,” she said. “Young people are the game changers to make the envisioned world a reality.”
She applauded the university students for the initiative to launch Thursdays in Black and promised them the support of the WCC-EHAIA eastern Africa regional office.