ARUA CITY. When a few entertainers (read musicians, poets, actors etc.) perceived the idea of forming platform 503, little did they know the impact they would have a decade later on the local population of the West Nile region.

Indeed the overall objective of the youth led organization to date remains to positively transform the lives and mind-set of young people through meaningful engagements, mentorship and advocacy.

But from a handful of like minded young people, the organization has entrenched its name as a leading fighter and partner in the fight against gender based violence and all forms of sexual reproductive health awareness in the region.

A youth talent search program under the United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) in 2017, 18 and 19 as well as the same search under the Lutheran World federation (LWF) in Rwamanza in 2018 exposed the young organization to a world of abundant more opportunities.

In the same year, platform 503 emerged winner among a highly competitive innovation grant under the ‘up accelerate’ program by Outbox Uganda for the Northern and West Nile regions.

With the aim of building youth led groups into innovation and social enterprises, the group set out to prevent, reduce and end gender based violence, teenage pregnancy and promote sexual reproductive health and rights.

What began as a dream for McPeter Ma Opini aka Gbaraspoken Mcee, Jurua Joseph alias JJSuru, Consolate Olemaru, Arua district communications officer and a host of other colleagues had surpassed the initial dream of social cohesion.

Their latest film, Pamvu particularly speaks to the heart as writes Rimiliah Amandu, this during its media launch on Monday at hotel Roseville in Arua city.

Aka Gbaraspoken

About the Pamvu film

Under the United Nations population fund (UNFPA) sponsored program, the organization produced community inclusive, family friendly products and services to increase access to information on gender based violence including a short film titled Pamvu.

Pamvu in the local Lugbara dialect is loosely translated to mean footmarks.

In the 20-minute film, Mr Onzi (real name Jurua Joseph) a drunkard arrives late to awaken his wife Oyeru (Consolate Olemaru); she grudgingly opens the door and offers to remove her husband’s sandals on entering the house.

Onzi who is nearly unconscious at this point regains slightly only to force the wife into sex despite calls for him at least to take a bathe first, a fight ensues and he is finally forced out of the house and ends up spending the night at the veranda.

The next morning, word goes out in the locality about the incident and Onzi is mocked thoroughly by his peers some calling him weak and having lost control over his home.

A deeply hurt Onzi leaves the drinking joint with one mission to accomplish, and true to his desire, when the wife welcomes him with an offer of a meal of ‘Enyasa’ the local staple bread of cassava and sorghum with a sauce of green vegetables, he is quick to give an excuse and start a fight.

Pleas of mercy from his wife fell on deaf ears until she is strangled unconscious on the floor of their congested one roomed house.

The ensuring morning, their little daughter Letasi wakes up to find her mum on the floor, surprised, she quickly asks her father who had sobered up this time.

A fidgeting Onzi in vain tries to wake up Oyeru before the eyes of their young daughter who by this time was also asking for food; suspecting something might be wrong, a curious neighbour tries to peep but is stunned as Onzi sprinting at break-neck speed emerges from his house leaving both the wife and the daughter inside to end the first part of the 20-minute film.

As the cast list showed on the screen, a sombre mood filled the room as each of the different invited guests reflected on what they had just watched, unfortunately limited by resources and time, the group had not finished the remaining parts.

Others have their say

Dr Bernadette Sebaduka, program specialist UNFPA, West Nile

This is commendable work that you are doing for which the current and the future generations will thank you.

This work is interwoven with sexual and reproductive health, normally people are fighting because man and woman are trying to coexist and these are things we can’t do without because one generation has to replace another. So we should bring in messages of support to each other, child spacing, etc.

Lulua Mark, media officer Onduparaka FC

Each and every person deserves to live in an environment free of violence, so let’s stop gender based violence in the community today.

Candiru Leilla, Musician/mother

I can tell you through experience that gender based violence is a disaster; so stop it today.

A deafening applause and endorsement from Edrine Nanziri, the UNHCR representative and a host of religious and civil society participants during this film premiere concluded a satisfying afternoon at hotel Roseville in Arua city.

GBV Leaders