KOBOKO. Partners in community Transformation (PICOT), a local nongovernmental organization and local leaders of Koboko district have called for joint efforts from men and other development partners in advocating against Gender-based violence (GBV).

This was during joint women’s day celebrations of Koboko district and Koboko municipality at St Charles Lwanga playground.

Director of PICOT, Ms Sauda Ropan said the health of women and girls is at stake as they are prone to rape and defilement in Koboko district a factor that results into the contraction of deadly sexually transmitted diseases that later compromises their health to perform in the development process.

"If women are healthy in the communities, they can engage in development projects that enhance the sustainability of the various developments of Uganda and the world at large", Ms Sauda said.

She said most cases of rape and defilement are not reported to police and other authorities because the majority of women and girls are ignorant about their rights.

She said the situation has led to alarming early marriages among adolescent girls who cannot sustain marriages hence leading to dependency syndrome among the young generation on their parents.

The chairperson of Koboko district Women Caucus, Ms Grace Goro who is also secretary for social services for Koboko district said GBV against women is ever on the increase in the district in which some leaders are also said to be involved.

"We get information about rape and defilement of women almost every day in which some of the unmentioned leaders are also involved in the saga", Goro said.

She said early marriage leading to increasing school dropout rates has also resulted in misunderstandings in many homes a reason why many women are in prisons due to fights or loans borrowing from financial institutions.

Area MP of Koboko Municipality and state minister for investment and privatization Ms Evelyn Anite directed LC1 chairpersons to gear up police efforts in arresting perpetrators of women's rights especially when they are raped, defiled, married at a tender age and beaten so that the law is left to take its course.

Ms Evelyn Anite 11 03 19Ms Evelyn Anite speaks during Women's Day.

"Anyone who defiles, rapes and marries an underaged girl must be reported immediately and should any LC1 chairman of a particular village sit on the issue, he or she will face it rougher himself or herself in turn", Anite said.

She said the issue of lack of water in some of the cells in Koboko municipality will be solved by national water and sewerage cooperation so that some of the cases of rape of women while going to fetch water in distant places is solved.