Human Rights Program

SHED's take on human rights in Uganda


A group of women’s land rights monitors during the training that took place in Wakiso district

Gender-based violence (GBV) is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. Worldwide, an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.  Evidence shows that in Uganda 56% of women 15-49 years still experience physical violence and 22% experience sexual violence.  While men and boys also suffer from many of these forms of abuse, they disproportionately affect women.  SHED is employing a number of strategies to address the root causes of GBV as well as strengthening mechanisms for response; this includes implementing a legal empowerment program to ensure that citizens know, use, and shape the law to exercise their rights, prevent abuse and access justice.  The program aims to ensure that pathways promoting GBV are intercepted while also victims of human rights abuses are supported to access justice, protection and referral services.

Services Offered

Participants attending a citizen’s Barraza held in Kangulumira Town Council, Kayunga District.

Key accomplishments

Legal awareness; with the help of IEC materials and TV/ Radio programs, communities have been given knowledge on the laws and other emerging issues affecting women and girls rights; as a result, the community has appreciated the legal framework related to women participation in land matters especially on issues to do with administration of estates, spousal consent, formalising land ownership, land tenure systems and tenant-land lord rights; besides media programs, citizens Barrazas were held in targeted districts to educate the community on available services, women’s rights in land matters as well as addressing barriers in accessing justice.  Specifically, participants in the Barrazas were given knowledge about gender responsive services offered by the district land offices and mechanisms by the judiciary to address access to justice barriers.  In addition, women as rights holders had the opportunity to speak to authority something that increased prospects for promoting peace and accountability towards women participation in land matters.  A total of 548(359 females and 189 males) beneficiaries from the districts of Masaka, Kayunga and Kampala have so far been reached by citizens Barrazas. 

Human rights defenders displaying their certificates following the training in Kalangala District

SHED’s legal aid officer(Milly Nakamanya) facilitating during a training of women’s land rights monitors

Training and equipping grassroot Human Rights Defenders;

SHED has trained 32 grassroot women’s land rights monitors in land laws, GBV prevention, marriage Act, mediation and access to justice concepts; the land monitors are community based volunteers drawn from the districts of Masaka, Wakiso, Kampala and Kayunga. In addition, SHED collaborated with staff from Makerere University rotary peace center, local cultural leaders and Justice Centres Uganda to train 8 human rights defenders from Kalangala District.  All together, the Human Rights Defenders are applying knowledge acquired to address community-level drivers of GBV as well as providing expeditious services to survivors of GBV: they are doing this through awareness creation, challenging harmful social norms, conducting mediations as well as following up and referring GBV cases; as a result, justice defenders have helped to secure women’s interests in land matters as well as bridging the demand and supply sides of justice; to that extent, a total of 70 legal issues(44 mediation cases and 19 referrals) as well as 46 community awareness sessions have been concluded by Justice defenders leading to peaceful coexistence.
Building the capacity of grassroots vulnerable women;

SHED is aware that women play a very insignificant role in the process of settling land conflicts yet research shows that women face the greatest trouble when these conflicts occur; lack of active participation of women increases their vulnerability since their voices are not heard hence their best interests not addressed.   SHED community-based strategy to land conflict prevention and dispute resolution puts women at the forefront of land administration and Alternative Dispute Resolution processes. In this, women have been given skills and knowledge in land administration and Alternative dispute resolution; this has enabled them to effectively engage and work with men in all the decision-making processes concerning land matters.  In addition, women have been economically empowered hence increasing their prospects for asset ownership, participation in decision processes, access justice and preventing GBV

A group of women’s land rights monitors during the training that took place in Wakiso district

SHED intern orienting Women’s land rights monitors in Kayunga district on how to fill case referral forms

Legal aid services; 

SHED conducts regular mobile legal aid clinics to support vulnerable people especially women who cannot afford the services of a lawyer; through dedicated services of a legal aid volunteer, SHED has acted on referrals made by grassroot justice defenders to successfully conduct mediations, help clients navigate administrative/ legal processes, offer legal advice and counselling, draft statutory documents, file right to information claims, negotiate with private firms and provide legal representation.