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DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (D&I) NEWSLETTER JUNE 2020

Dear Reader,

How are you experiencing the baby steps of normalcy? Are you adjusting to work both virtually and physically? Well at GLS its virtual versus Physical, we are slowly but surely adapting to both extremes. We are experiencing the weight, yet slowly accepting the challenges and embracing the opportunities to advocate for and create inclusive societies. We understand some members still can't rely on public transport yet participation means inclusion to us.

Yours,

Global Learning for Sustainability D&I team.

We commissioned the Development of DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (D&I), and Strategy review, a step that will make our Organization more gender sensitive and inclusive. The need for development of the D & I policy and strategy review came after undertaking a Diversity & Inclusion audit commissioned by our partner CIVICUS as a bench mark for identifying challenges of Diversity & Inclusion within CIVICUS Alliance.

We welcomed a volunteer consultant on Human Resource inclusion and diversity to our team: Martin Lubwama, a devout Inclusion activist and strategic Planning Director at Malengo Foundation. He comes with vast experience on advocating for inclusion of diverse groups. He is an HR professional, and one of the Global Goals Ambassadors.

Lubwama Martin - BIO

Martin Is an inclusion enthusiast, equal rights activist, currently serving as the Strategic Planning Directorwith Malengo Foundation, an organization that’s focused on ensuring social and economic inclusion best practices and a better life of the Differently abled.

Martin is an Alumni of the Young African Leaders Initiative YALI, East Africa RLC 2020 and is a global Goals ambassador, Passionate about pursuing in particular Goal 10 and Goal 8 (reduced inequalities and Decent work & Economic Growth respectively).

Professionally he Is a business developer and recruitment officer at SeaOwl Energy Services in Kampala, Uganda.

Martin is an actor for purpose of inclusion and uses the media and entertainment industry to represent people living with albinism in his community and nationally. He trains youth with different abilities and professional Challenges so as to enable them offer better to the work market, in fields such as Professional presentation, ICT, Business development (Sales and Marketing).

In the past one month, we organized a webinar on “Racism, Xenophobia and Tribalism. We were bothered by the racial upheavals in the U.S and other parts of the world. The events raised a lot of questions from the across the world. Because racial difference is a gift of diversity, we organized a webinar to understand why racial discrimination still happens and how we can advocate for racial tolerance among others.

Webinar on “ Racism, Xenphobia and Tribalism"

"Art is a powerful medium for activism across the world, especially the traditionally excluded groups, to express their experiences, deal with identity trauma and tell their stories''. We joined Artivism for Inclusion showcase hosted by Diversity and Inclusion Group for Networking and Action(DIGNA). We used a visual image to depict how discrimination unlike diversity can be stopped. Our differences are what make us who we are in all spaces. We wanted to show that hate is learnt not inborn, so is discrimination. Diversity is both inherent and a choice-a matter of Human Rights.

Girls have been adversely affected by COVID-19. The orphanages and shelters where these girls stay have become doubly vulnerable. We visited the Missionaries of the Poor – an Orphanage and a rehabilitation center for youth and children with diverse disabilities.

It was evident that the center has been struggling and still is struggling to meet the social, psycho-social and basic needs of girls, children and youth under their care . Besides presenting and sharing the “Global Girls Bill of Rights” developed by She’s the First and Akili Dada, we were able to donate a few sanitary items and foodstuffs to the center.

More empowerment sessions carried out on:

These are the abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.

They were summarized below;

i. Self awareness.

ii. Empathy.

iii. Critical thinking.

iv. Creative thinking.

v. Decision making.

vi. Problem solving.

vii. Effective communication.

viii. Interpersonal relationship.

ix. Coping with stress.

x. Coping with emotions.

The girls were empowered with creative skills that would promote their personal hygiene and economic growth.

Skills such as knicker stitching as the way to cut cost for the low income earners, Pads making (reusable) as the way for safe protection during our periods as girls. GLS hence committed to training the girls in the next coming days on acquiring income generating skills to boost their confidence and survivival skills for quality life- a pathway for gender equality.

We sensitized the girls about Menstruation and Health Management, uncovering its myths and taboos.

  1. By definition Menstruation is the shedding of the uterus walls after implantation has failed to take place.
  2. Myths and taboos. These are cultural norms which cultures have continuously believed toward menstruation. These include :

a)A woman when in her periods is not supposed to prepare food for the family.

b)A woman when in her periods, is supposed to sleep outside the house.

c)A woman in her periods, is not supposed to eat meat, fish, eggs.

3. Management.

In Menstrual management a person will require a clean knicker, pad, water and soap.

One is supposed to ensure perfect hygiene before putting on a pad. One is supposed to change the pad at least twice a day.

Avoid use of soap when cleaning the private parts. The soap contains perfumes and chemicals which react with the girls vagina normal flora which can easily destroy the flora hence causing bacteria infections.

For those using disposable pads, ensure proper disposal of the pads. Never dispose the used pads in the toilets.

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Adolescent Reproductive Health means empowering young people to know and exercise their rights including rights to delay marriage and refuse unwanted sexual advances.

Adolescence as a period of growth comes with challenges such as teenage pregnancy. In Uganda 3.9 million girls aged 15-19 years undergo unsafe abortions annually. Creating awareness on such issues can promote access to adolescent and youth friendly services within their communities.

We included Adolescent Reproductive Health session because its critical:

By definition Adolescent Reproductive Health Means empowering young people to know and exercise their rights including rights to delay marriage and refuse unwanted sexual advances.

Adolescence refers to the period of human growth that occurs between childhood and adulthood. Adolescents encounter problems like;

*Teenage pregnancy with 3.9 million girls aged between 15 to 19 years undergo unsafe abortions annually in Uganda.

*Infectious diseases.

*Use of drug substances that cause disorders.

Through creating youth awareness one can promote and provide adolescent and youth friendly reproductive services.

The questions by girls left us awed and challenged by the information gap that still exists in empowering Girl Child for a gender equal world.

See some of the questions captured;

The public transport sector that was opened came at price! Their capacity to carry passengers was limited to half capacity. This exponentially increased high cost of transport till now. The poor and the vulnerable cant still go back to work. To ensure participation of staff , it was important to work both virtually and physically to reduce risks associated with the strained public transport.

Its true quite many are still finding it hard to still adjust to the challenges presented by COVID-19. Our commitment to inclusion has been challenged too as more women in the workforce are affected due to their reproductive and domestic roles. We hope to document challenges and successes upon which we hope to build inclusive societies.

We responded by designing materials to speak up on issues that affect our communities, work, women and girls together.