Cheptegei starts fight against GBV using sports

Left to Right: Kapchorwa Resident District Commissioner Tom Chesol, Olympic champion Joshua Cheptegei, Vision Group chief executive officer Don Wanyama, and the Bishop of Sebei Diocese, Paul Kiptoo Masaba, launch the Joshua Cheptegei Development Foundation last Friday. PHOTO | MICHEAL WONIALA

What you need to know:

  • Sebei Sub-region is one of the communities that still grapples with FGM, GBV, early marriages, teenage pregnancies, and high levels of school dropouts. Last month, the State minister for Gender and Culture, Ms Peace Mutuuzo, ordered local authorities in Bukwo District to identify FGM cutters, commonly known as surgeons, and hand them over to the government.

The World and Olympic champion, Mr Joshua Cheptegei, has launched a campaign to curb the increasing cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) through sports in Sebei Sub-region.

Speaking During the launch of the Joshua Cheptegei Development Foundation last Friday in Kapchorwa Municipality,  Mr Cheptegei said he would use the Foundation as a vehicle to empower the community.

“My journey to stardom has been a difficult one, which required a lot of sacrifice, dedication, and investment. I want to create a longer table for all to dine with me and I will achieve this through my foundation,” he said.

Mr Cheptegei said his Foundation would ensure women and girls child rights are protected and enhanced.

“We will promote social justice and also encourage girls to stay in school, nurture their talent and also establish social amenities including health facilities,” he said.

The launch was graced by Ms Peruth Chemutai, another Olympic champion, Oylmpic medalist Jacob Kiplimo, religious and political leaders.

Mr Festo Majinjach, the Foundation secretary, told Daily Monitor that the organisation is supporting vulnerable children to access better education.

“We want to be at the forefront in promoting access to better education and also to eradicate poverty through income generating projects,” he said.

Mr Don Wanyama, the Chief Executive Officer of Vision Group, who was also the chief guest, applauded Mr Cheptegei for the initiative.

“When other people are successful, they tend to own it to themselves, but what we should know is that the candle loses nothing by lighting other candles,” he said.

Mr Dominic Otuchet, the President of Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF), urged the people of Sebei to vote Cheptegei for the world athlete of the year accolade.

“Joshua Cheptegei is the only athlete in our country who has been nominated and as the president of UAF, I am here to request us to vote him,” he said.

Ms Emma Rose Cherukut, the Woman MP for Kween District, said Mr Cheptegei has set a precedent in Sebei, which would inspire other leaders to support development programmes. 

Background

Sebei Sub-region is one of the communities that still grapples with FGM, GBV, early marriages, teenage pregnancies, and high levels of school dropouts. Last month, the State minister for Gender and Culture, Ms Peace Mutuuzo, ordered local authorities in Bukwo District to identify FGM cutters, commonly known as surgeons, and hand them over to the government. 

Ms Mutuuzo’s orders came on the backdrop of the increased cases of FGM, especially in Bukwo, which has risen from 3 percent in 2019 to around 20 percent in 2021, according to district officials.  

In other neighbouring districts such Kween and Kapchorwa, the vice has risen to 10 percent. The district leaders say Bukwo, for example, has registered about 301 GBV cases, which have been accelerated  by the Covid-19 lockdown.

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