Story by: Mukungu Abel( safety champion)-Makindye,Kampala.
This is a youth-led safety initiative in Kampala’s Kibuye I ward Makindye division. Following a safety walk they did that indicated the severity of the issue in this neighborhood, the safety champions and other young women and men in the community painted this wall with slogans warning the public against violence, crime, and sexual harassment. The findings of the safety walk further revealed that the presence of unlit places in the community was facilitating such perverse actions to prevail.
“On her way to work at this very spot three years ago, a young woman was nearly killed by a gang of young lads who viciously attacked her, beat her up, stole her personal goods, and left her for dead.” Kawuma Edirisa( chairperson Kanakulya zone).
The prevalence of similar instances motivated young people to take action by painting the walls in this dangerous area as part of the safe and inclusive cities project, which was supported by the Danish International Development Agency DANIDA.
With vivid colors, images, and statements that condoned the commonplace acts of violence, crime, and sexual harassment along this corridor. They did so in collaboration with important players such as the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), community leaders, tenants, land lords, and the police.
Despite their attempts, the corridor remained dark at night, allowing several criminals to continue their pursuit. The success we had achieved, on the other hand, fueled our desire to mobilize and formulate strategies in response to the persistent incidents documented. Our commitment manifested itself in the form of outdoor solar lighting, which was once again sponsored by the safe and inclusive cities initiative.
The program, which was expanded to other similar corridors in the neighborhood, benefited greatly from the efforts of local leaders and community members.
“As a young person who took part in this initiative, the experience has taught me an invaluable lesson that you can also lead the changes in your community” Abel Mukungu
Since then, cases of violence, crime, and sexual harassment have decreased dramatically, particularly in the targeted hotspots, and the presence of lights has facilitated economic activity at night.