U.S. Ambassador Natalie E. Brown inaugurated the U.S.-funded “No Means No” program to prevent violence against children in Uganda. The program will equip 7,000 young men and boys in three districts with skills to prevent and counter gender-based violence using the globally recognized “No Means No” education curriculum.
This curriculum promotes healthy relationships among children while also addressing social norms that contribute to violence.
The educational program for children aged 9-17 years old is delivered through two 3-hour modules that teach girls verbal and physical skills to prevent sexual assault and boys to challenge rape culture, practice consent, and learn about bystander intervention. Through the engagement of both boys and girls, this violence prevention program creates a culture of mutual respect that drives generational change.
The Uganda Violence Against Children Survey (UVAC 2018) found that 75 percent of Ugandan children experience some form of violence during childhood and that 50 percent of males and females believe it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife.
“It is important to engage boys in conversations that support breaking the cycle of violence against women and girls,” said U.S. Ambassador Natalie E. Brown during the “No Means No” Boys’ Dialogue held in Wakiso District May 3, 2021. Boys who witness their fathers beating their mothers are more likely to perpetuate the cycle of physical violence when they grow up, she said adding: “Interpersonal violence is a tragic cycle that impacts future generations, as well as the current generation. But we can change that by helping boys and men become advocates for equitable relationships.”
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will implement the curriculum through its Integrated Child and Youth Development (ICYD) project, which is funded partly under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The project supports the Government of Uganda to deliver basic education in 50 districts and provide support for orphans and vulnerable children who have been impacted by HIV in 73 districts.
The USAID/ICYD project has a multifaceted, holistic approach to strengthen young people’s ability to address their health and safety needs and improve the likelihood of reaching their full potential through improved education and health services. The project will also strengthen child protection systems to ensure children are protected, safe, and healthy in their homes, school, and communities. Implementing the “No Means No” curriculum strengthens the overall system by working with children to equip them with self-protection and prevention tools.
USAID’s development approach is to work hand-in-hand with Ugandan partners, be it the private sector, faith-based organizations, or community groups, to address the needs of ordinary Ugandans. The United States has a strong, decades-old partnership with Uganda and its people. Annually, the United States government invests approximately $1 billion in Uganda to promote economic growth and employability, uphold democratic values, and improve health and education.