A Day to Celebrate: International Women’s Day at Luzira Women’s Prison - Uganda
15th March 2019 will always remain a day to remember for the inmates of Luzira Women’s Prison as they had time to sing, dance, take part in sports and drama, all commemorating International Women’s Day 2019. This was made possible by Uganda Prisons Service together with its partners; African Prisons Project (APP), the Democratic Governance Facility and the Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) of Makerere University School of Law.
The Guest of Honour on the day was Her Worship Kabugho Byakutaga Caroline, Magistrate at Luzira Court. Other distinguished guests at the event included Jacqueline Lule, a partner with the Bowman’s Law firm in Kampala, Dorah Caroline Mafabi from the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), Patricia Atim from PILAC, Senior Superintendent of Prisons (SSP) Centinary Mary of the Prisons Academy & Training School as well as religious leaders from the Muslim, Adventist and Anglican partners of the prison community. Also present was Anthony Owino, the Welfare and Rehabilitation Officer in charge of Gender at Prisons Headquarters and Peter R. Tibigambwa, Regional Director - African Prisons Project.
The theme this year was “Gender Equality as a Way of Reducing Crime”, in line with the International theme #BalanceForBetter.
Throughout the event, APP-trained paralegals - together with students from Makerere University School of Law (under PILAC) - offered free legal advice and assistance to inmates. This included drafting bail applications and preparing inmates for court sessions.
The highlight of the day was the drama competition that saw two drama groups present skits mirroring the day’s theme. The best team won a trophy. Through the skits, gender equality and reconciliation as a mechanism of reducing gender based and reactive crime in societies were explored. The skits also pointedly painted a picture of how an ideal society of equal rights would look like: peaceful and progressive in nature.
“Thank you for making Women’s day celebration in Luzira Women Prison more colorful this year. We enjoyed the drama performances and it’s all that we could talk about all night in our sleeping wards. The message was captivating and I believe many inmates learnt a lot.” An inmate in Luzira Women Prison.
Additional to the drama, there was a Netball match between 2 inmate teams. “Team Blue” squared off with “Team Yellow”; the former emerging victorious at 33 goals to 18.
The highlight of the day was a Panel Discussion moderated by Dr. Florence Banoba, African Prisons Project Country Director (Uganda). The panel discussed and debated about 40 questions and concerns raised by inmates which touched on issues of community service, child custody, appeals, Ministers’ Orders, care for children of inmates and general areas of law like the effect of the new Domestic Violence Act on inmates convicted of domestic violence crimes under the Penal Code Act.
Ambassadors of Change
The Guest of Honour formed her speech around legal and gender issues. Inmates were asked to play their part in raising their children well so that boys understand that women and girls should be respected and treated equally in society.
Inmates were further encouraged to become ambassadors of change and advocacy upon completion of their sentences. These events provide opportunities whilst still in prison to learn more about their legal rights so they can share their knowledge with the communities they return to.
“The play was more than a script, I learnt not to let bitter people drag me down to their level as It would definitely lead to me reacting in a negative way. I learnt that there are better ways to respond to bitter people so that I am nothing like them.” Auxiliary Paralegal Womens’ Prison
The day wound up with the cutting of a cake offered by Rev. Anena Pascal, Anglican chaplain, and a meal for Guests and Inmates alike.
Support our Work
Find out more about some of the extraordinary women we work with in our celebration of International Women’s Day and read more about our work at Luzira. In 2018 we opened a prison-based Legal Aid Clinic and completed the work on a Youth Centre, with our partners.
Our work in Uganda is growing. We increased the number of prisons that we work with from 16 to 29 last year but we need your support to do more. Help us to provide access to justice for those who need it most.