In Her Own Words

Robinah Rubimbwa, Uganda

“I have been involved in training women for political participation since 2008. Some of them have joined the national Parliament, contributing to making laws and policies that govern our country. That is transformational.”

Robinah Rubimbwa is a women’s rights activist and a peace mediator in Uganda. She is the founder and executive director of the Coalition for Action on 1325 (CoACT), a WPHF partner and alliance of women-led organizations pioneering initiatives to advance the women, peace and security agenda.

“Uganda has experienced election related violence every five years since 2001. In 2020, CoACT implemented the first ever Youth Elections Observatory, a real time conflict early warning and early response mechanism.”

CoACT trains women, local councilors, religious leaders, and police officers in human rights, enabling cultural shifts in attitudes and perceptions.

“I am passionate about training to promote gender equality. Women who are trained in mediation do incredible work mediating conflicts between family members over property, between neighbors over land conflicts, and inter-ethnic rivalries.”

With the support of WPHF, CoACT is enhancing the capacity of women in community-based civil society organizations to implement women’s economic empowerment interventions. Robinah’s organizations also helps develop the capacities of local government actors to address gender-based violence and women’s economic exclusion.

“The project has supported implementation of community barazas “dialogues” that bring together women, men, and youth to talk about issues that deny peace and human security in homes and communities.”

As a young girl, Robinah walked three miles bare foot to school every morning and back in the evening. She almost dropped out due to a lack of school fees. At age 25, she was forced to flee Uganda with two small children. As a refugee herself, she understands personally the devastating impact of conflict on women and families.

“I am a self-driven individual, and I do not give up. I think having seen my mother struggle to raise all of us into adulthood was a great lesson in resilience. I have seen women walk for miles to get what they want. And I want to contribute to pushing them from behind.”

Robinah is calling for adequate funding to grassroots’ women’s organizations so they can sustain their efforts over time.

“Organizations like CoACT do the real work on the ground, yet we are hampered by lack of adequate and sustained funding. Local organizations work directly with women and communities affected by conflict and violence. The perpetrators of war and violence live in the communities where we work. We help build peace from the ground up. You cannot build peace from top down.”