Bringing hope to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, people living with HIV, and grandmothers parenting AIDS orphans in Kisugu Namuwongo, one of the informal settlements in Kampala, about 150 people gathered to share stories and solidarity. They remembered those who have died from AIDS, and reminded each other of the urgency and commitment to end AIDS. Leaders from the Mothers Union and city council offered a presence and support.
Addressing the gathering, Agrrey Namwanza from the Kampala City Council applauded the Mothers Union for their work related to ending stigma and supporting people living with HIV.
Elizabeth Kikiyo, Mothers Union president, Kampala Diocese, urged people living with HIV to adhere to treatment and asked community members to show love and not stigma to the people living with HIV. She said that to significantly reduce sexual and gender-based violence and new HIV infections, men, women, boys, and girls must join hands to work together and promote peaceful coexistence.
On 1 December, the archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rev. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, and 50 church leaders and community members living with and affected by HIV, gathered at the Buganda Mothers Union offices in Kampala to commemorate Worlds AIDS Day. Addressing the gathering, the archbishop expressed gratitude for the impact that the WCC Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy and the Mothers Union have made in Uganda in fighting HIV and sexual and gender-based violence. He thanked the WCC for prioritizing HIV interventions and urged church leaders to remain on course until HIV and AIDS are no more a public health threat.
During this occasion the Eastern Africa regional coordinator for the WCC Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy programme, Rev. Dr Pauline Wanjiru Njiru, was given an appreciation award for her work towards fighting HIV and sexual and gender-based violence in communities and worldwide.
Njiru thanked the archbishop for creating a conducive environment for the Mothers Union to make a lasting impact in the people’s lives. She urged the Mothers Union to keep working hard and not rest until the battle against AIDS is won.
As this commemoration was taking place, the Mothers Union in the Namirembe Diocese drew around 1,000 participants at the Namirembe Cathedral to learn from each other what each archdeaconry is doing to end AIDS and fight sexual and gender-based violence. Songs, poems, public addresses, and drama productions provided a ripple of activities.
Activities related to the 16 Days will continue throughout the seven dioceses of the Church of Uganda (Buganda region) through 10 December.