ADJUMANI. Cultural and religious leaders within refugees and host communities in Adjumani district have pledged to end all forms of violence against women.

The leaders made the commitment during a stakeholders’ engagement that was organized by UNWOMEN under the project men at work for gender equality.

The gender equality project is aimed at eliminating all forms of gender inequality that girls and women face in the community.

During the meeting, cultural and religious leaders committed themselves to promote campaign against early child marriage, ensure women are empowered to understand their rights, sensitize the community to end abuse of women at work place and promised to see women participate in leadership.

In his closing remarks, His Royal Highness Stephen Drani, the paramount chief (Lopirigo) of Madi emphasized that there is need to continue the campaign against all forms of violation against women.

Drani indicated that often times, men resort to violence against women as a last resort which he said must be discouraged.

“The old way of thinking from the time of slave trade must be stopped, without a woman a man is nothing on earth,” Drani stated.

He appealed to all men in the community to become ambassadors so as to liberate girls and women from being violated.

Ms Elizabeth Mushabe, the program specialist gender and HIV at UNWOMEN said the program was launched in June this year and that they think there is a need to decentralize it in all regions.

She said the program is targeting men at work places, men at home as the custodians of the home, men in town and men in their individual capacity in trying to take the massage to end violence against women.

Mushabe appealed to the leaders to use their influence so as to be able to reach out to the community with the massage

Mushabe further revealed that from their findings, five out of ten women have confessed to being abused and five out of ten women acknowledged that it is good for their men to beat them.

The district Khadi Adjumani, Sheik Ramandan Baiga observed that the biggest challenge facing the girl child is the high level of poverty which affects the cycle of studies for many young girls who end up going into marriage at an early age.

He urged UNWOMEN to continue building the capacity of the cultural and religious leaders such that even after the end of the project period, the local leaders will be able to sustain the program.