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My TuWezeshe Journey: Sumaya Nalubega

By the time I applied to be part of TuWezeshe, I was working with the Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence as a counselor providing psychological support to victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence. TuWezeshe came as something I had long wanted to get involved in although I never knew how best I could explore my energies around it. Most of the cases I handled would leave me totally exhausted and at times without knowledge on how to best support the survivors. I wanted to acquire knowledge around feminist leadership and principles and understanding human rights as these would in turn help me in my day to day work. I was not disappointed – TuWezeshe gave me an opportunity to interact with feminists leaders from different countries who shared impactful experiences and knowledge.

TuWezeshe came as something I had long wanted to get involved in although I never knew how best I could explore my energies around it. Most of the cases I handled would leave me totally exhausted and at times without knowledge on how to best support the survivors. I wanted to acquire knowledge around feminist leadership and principles and understanding human rights as these would in turn help me in my day to day work. I was not disappointed

My social action project focused on documenting how women in Kampala respond to repeated experiences of repeated gender based violence. It involved contacting the partners I had to work with to carry out the research, in this case the Uganda Police Force specifically the Central Police Station, Wandegeya Police Station as well as Kawempe. I went ahead to meet superintendent of police for Kampala metropolitan police Carol Kushemererwa for a discussion on how the project will run, the number of women I intended to sample, issues of time and confidentiality and how the facilitation was going to be carried out. What I have learnt from the experience included the art of listening attentively and interestedly without judgement which has helped me create rapport. I came to the realisation that patriarchy is deeply entrenched in Ugandan society and if not dismantled, we will continue to lose women in the process and this can be done through strengthening advocacy and to be specific in the ghettos and rural areas. I also noticed the need to ensure privacy at the police’s Child and Family Protection Unit since women do not feel comfortable disclosing their dilemmas when everyone around is listening.

Whenever I think of the TuWezeshe leadership training, I think of the Statement that I Too Am Worthy of Care and Kindness which I first heard during the training.  It has become one of my daily mantras which I have continued to apply even when delivering psychological support to the survivors of SGBV

As a counsellor, my probing skills, listening skills and data collection skills were enhanced. Interestingly, I was labelled as a negative influence to women by their perpetrators but I did not let this deter me. Delivering my social action project and providing psychosocial support to women and standing with them in search for justice remains my goal.

Whenever I think of the TuWezeshe leadership training, I think of the Statement that I Too Am Worthy of Care and Kindness which I first heard during the training.  It has become one of my daily mantras which I have continued to apply even when delivering psychological support to the survivors of SGBV. I also appreciate the monitoring and evaluation knowledge I acquired during the training which has been so helpful effective in the research project I am carrying out. As a result of the fellowship, my confidence has improved as well as my knowledge around leadership has improved following the mentorship Thursdays discussions in which we discuss various themes on feminism such as sisterhood. Professionally and personally, I intend to continue empowering women to break the silence which I believe with collective efforts, we shall be able to dismantle patriarchy which is the main pillar of gender based violence.

To any young women interested in feminism and in search for knowledge in areas of leadership, personal self-care, understanding power and patriarchy, a place where sharing is no shame, where there is no judgement and you are free to be you, TuWezeshe is that space for you to explore. Young women, it’s high time we use our power, both individually and collectively to advocate for equal rights, to get rid of the patriarchal system.