Women And Children’s Empowerment Network in Africa

Contact Information

Areas of Expertise

The Women And Children’s Empowerment Network in Africa has expertise in a range of areas, including:

Main Aims and Objectives

WACENA was established in 2008 by a number of concerned mothers, together with women students from Makerere University Kampala, with the purpose of addressing and alleviating the acute and long-term consequences of violence against the women and children of Uganda.

The empowerment of women means developing their ability to take collective and individual control over their lives, in order to identify their needs and determine their interests.

They observed and considered four consequences faced by the victims of violence:

  • Physical health consequences;
  • Sexual and reproductive consequences;
  • Psychological consequences;
  • Financial consequences;

Vision – to establish a violence-free Africa fit for all women and children.

Mission – to establish and maintain a reliable platform through which the voices of women and children would be heard and respected.

Goal – to enhance income, protection, equality and development for women and children.

Upholding the Principles of Conflict Transformation

In carrying out its mission, WACENA performs various functions that server to uphold the principles of conflict transformation:

  • Gives priority to advocating for the human rights of the women and children and their invisible movements, groups or activities in their respective communities.
  • Focuses attention on violence due to religion, culture or tradition, inequality, discrimination, poverty, violence against women and children in conflict situations, or as a result of natural disasters and those who are at risk and vulnerable on multiple fronts.
  • Offers legal intervention to the victims of sexual abuse and neglect in order to realize their civil, cultural, economic, and social rights, including the right to development.
  • Monitors and evaluates the impact of its work through the substantive benefit that is accrued through it to beneficiaries around the Continent in particular and the world in general.

Where and with Whom?

The Organization operates in the following Districts of Uganda – Gulu, Koboko, Wakiso, Kamuli and Jinja.

Its existing local network includes the Prime Minister’s Office (Disaster Preparedness), the UNHCR office and Uganda Red Cross

Main Activities in the Field of Conflict Transformation

Violence against Women and Children

Priorities of Action include:


  • To ensure a total improvement on the National Health Plan’s identification of and response to the needs of women and children affected by domestic violence.
  • To implement the universal systematic approach to information-gathering and decision-making that will place children’s needs and wishes at the heart of agencies’ responses to domestic violence.
  • To support interventions targeted at perpetrators of domestic abuse which are integrated with appropriate support services for women and children.
  •  To further promote specialist approaches to the handling of domestic abuse cases within the criminal justice system.
  • To ensure children and young people affected by domestic abuse do not experience additional physical, emotional or psychological harm as a consequence of contact arrangements (both court and privately arranged) with the abusive parent.


  •  To ensure all women and children affected by domestic abuse have access to specialist services that meet their needs.
  • To develop and pilot a community-based model of group-work/circles intervention on behalf of children and their mothers affected by domestic violence.
  • To reduce the risk to women and children of becoming homeless as a consequence of domestic abuse and ensure, whenever necessary, that they are supported to make the move into safe and suitable accommodation without facing additional emotional, economic or social disadvantages.
  • To ensure a consistent, holistic approach to children and young people affected by domestic abuse through the development of skilled workforces and a robust inter-agency involvement.

Prevention through Education

  • To improve the way that schools and school staff respond to domestic abuse and to the additional support needs of children and young people affected by domestic violence.
  • To support individuals, organizations and communities across Africa to engage in local action aimed at preventing and reducing the harm caused by domestic abuse to children, young people, their families and communities.
  • To ensure the general public understands the impact of violence against women and children, and ensure women and children themselves know what to do and where to get help if they are affected by domestic violence.


  •  To ensure the ongoing participation of women, children and youth affected by violence in developing policy and practice to address domestic abuse.

WACENA educates women, children and youth in our communities about their rights to safety and respect. We welcome all Organizations focused on women, children and youth as well as individuals, companies, clubs and agencies to partner with us.

Women Circles/Rights to Livelihoods

What is clear is that the need for various types of livelihoods for women is not a new issue. Women have been mobilizing around and working for decades in jobs involving land, water, forests, indigenous peoples’ rights, climate change and displacement. However, there is a pressing need to focus on livelihoods as a right in the context of the deepening crisis of capitalism and its impact on livelihood-related rights for women around the world. Viewing the different aspects as part of a greater issue and addressing them in a more holistic way has tremendous power. Indeed, the link between women’s economic empowerment and food security is women’s livelihoods.

Therefore, WACENA is engaged in the following key projects under the above program:

  • Right to Food: Agriculture, Food Security and Food Sovereignty
  • Natural Resources: Land, Water and Forests
  • Education, Skills, Work, Markets and Credit

Nonetheless, besides the larger critical concerns of feminization of poverty in which women experience poverty at rates that are disproportionately high in comparison to men, cross-cutting issues for all groups to consider were also noted: Migration due to loss of livelihoods and for livelihood, including both women migrating, and men migrating and leaving women behind.

Women’s Circles or Rights to Livelihood groups come together to empower themselves by saving money, food, environment and access credit when they need it. And WACENA partners with Organizations to provide micro-credit education to women in Uganda, and there is hope to increase the number of workshops/seminars in order to empower the 62 women Circles currently in Uganda.

Sports for Social Change

WACENA believes in advancing the lives of women and girls through sports and physical activity. Presently we train, educate, advocate and organize activities for the women and girls in Wakiso District, Central Uganda, East Africa. The Organization seeks partners who can provide some Scholarships to the well-talented women and girls who are part of this program. In-kind-donations like Sportswear and other protective gears are much welcome.

It is possible that through soccer and peace methodology, we replace tears for smiles, giving women and girls an opportunity to score goals that makes a difference in their lives as well as in their community. Through this program, both advocacy and gender equality are completely manifested. Walking, jogging, swimming, golf, tennis, cross-country skiing, biking, hiking, folk-dancing, and horseback riding are fitness activities that people of all ages can enjoy, with little risk of injury.

How it works:

  • Sports for health
  • Soccer for Peace and reconciliation
  • Sports for Talent Promotion
  • Academy and Community Sports Equipment Donations
  • Sports for human rights
  • Sports for re-union

Women Adopting Women

This program is based on the philosophy of women adopting women by endorsing the following global core values, such as:

  • The power of positive role models and mentors to enhance a woman or girl’s sense of self-worth and thus drive her towards excellence in all aspects of her life;
  • The ability to affect social change through women and young people;
  • Respect for the worth and dignity of individuals, particularly women and girls;
  • The inclusion and acceptance of the differences and perspectives of others;
  • Engagement through understanding and responding to our constituents’ needs;
  • Commitment to the public good;
  • Integrity through uncompromising commitment to transparency and ethical principles;
  • Excellence through expertise, efficiency and sound decision-making in all we do.

Women and Children in Conflict

In times of war, the disintegration of families and communities leaves women and girls especially vulnerable to violence. Rape is a continual threat, as are other forms of gender-based violence, including prostitution, sexual humiliation and mutilation, trafficking and domestic abuse. Death, upheaval and poverty also increase tensions within the family and the likelihood of domestic violence. Women and girls are at risk of violence in all settings, whether in the home, during flight or in camps to which they have fled for safety. Children affected by gender-based violence also include those who have witnessed the rape of a family member, and those who are ostracized because of an assault on the mother. Acts of gender-based violence, particularly rape committed during armed conflicts, constitute a violation of international humanitarian law.

The majority of child victims of violence and sexual abuse are girls, but boys are also affected. Rape is not incidental to conflict. It can occur on a random and uncontrolled basis due to the general disruption of social boundaries and the license granted to soldiers and militias. Most often, however, it functions like other forms of torture and is used as a tactical weapon of war to humiliate and weaken the morale of the perceived enemy, to terrorize populations or to force civilians to flee. Systematic rape is often practiced with the intent of ethnic cleansing through deliberate impregnation.

The harm inflicted on a girl or woman is an attack on her family and culture. Wartime rape often has a tragic ripple effect that extends far beyond the pain and degradation of the rape itself. Rape victims who become pregnant are often ostracized by their families and communities and abandon their babies. Some may even commit suicide.

In times of armed conflict, poverty, hunger and desperation may force women and girls into prostitution, obliging them to offer sex for food or shelter, for safe conduct through the war zone or to obtain papers for themselves and their families. The stationing of military troops concentrates large numbers of single men in some areas, including those serving in peace-keeping missions, and has been a factor in the growth of the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Sexual exploitation has a devastating impact on physical and emotional development. Unwanted and unsafe sex can lead to unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS. Adolescent girls may suffer in silence after the trauma of sexual exploitation, fearing reprisals from those who attacked them or rejection by their families. They may feel a sense of personal humiliation and anguish which causes many of them to withdraw into a shell of pain and denial.

Given the above scenario in mind, WACENA networks with both women-centered and child-centered agencies including the UNHCR in order to ensure that relief workers are equipped to respond to the special needs of victims of sexual violence by following:

  • UNHCR’s “Guidelines on Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence”,  and
  • “Guidelines on Evaluation and Care of Victims of Trauma and Violence”.

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