Today Tranz Network Uganda (TNU) joins the rest of the World to commemorate the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), as we celebrate this day ironically in Uganda, transgender persons have been made more invisible when on March 21, 2023, the Parliament of Uganda Passed the Anti- Homosexuality Bill 2023 into law.
and gender diverse persons in Uganda experience significant health and health
care inequality perpetuated by a social political and legal environment that
instigates a lot of stigma and discrimination against them. The barriers that impede optimal access to
health care for transgender and gender diverse parsons include: fear of discrimination, inconvenient
operating hours of public health facilities, issues of name and gender
identification of trans persons among others.
of the respondents, from
the TNU 2018 Trans Needs Assessment, expressed needs for health
The key expressed health needs were:
HIV care and treatment
(28.1%), treatment for
sexually transmitted infections/diseases (21.0%), gender affirming
need for hormones expressed (17.0%) and 11% for mental health services. The assessment found major barriers to
accessing health care to be; lack of money to buy medicine
(22%) and for transportation to a health facility (43%) of the respondents.
While the public health system in Uganda
could and should meet these expressed health needs for transgender persons,
transgender persons encounter serous barriers to effectively demand, access and
utilize existing public health services to meet their health care needs. Key
the barriers that transgender persons face is stigma and discrimination in
health care settings which curtails the participation in the planning,
organization and monitoring of health service delivery.
The priority service components under this
program include; the trans health care center, regional drop in centers of
excellence and trans health outreach. Services provided to the community
include general medical services, wellness services, HIV prevention, Sexual
reproductive health rights and Mental health services.
TRANSGENDER JUSTICE PROGRAM
Although the 1995
constitution of the republic of Uganda, provides for equality and
non-discrimination of persons regardless of their race, tribe, gender,
religion, extra. The prevailing social norms and legal system in Uganda remains
very hostile towards trans and gender non-confirming persons. A transgender
needs assessment study conducted by TNU in 2018 found that a significant
proportion of transgender persons face a range of discrimination, stigma and
violence in all places. Over 41% of the transgender persons who participated in
the study have experienced violence in public places including health
facilities, restaurants and even schools.
Over the years, trans and
gender diverse people have been the face of the LGBTIQ+ community in Uganda
majorly because of their gender expressions. Uganda as a society is littered
with biases that continue to perpetuate stigma, discrimination, and violence
against the trans community. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Uganda, particularly LGBTIQ+ rights
organizations, continuously face challenges that include intimidation from
government, media restrictions and interference of work by government agencies.
As a network, we continue
to implement initiatives with the aim of changing the status quo and to build a
Uganda where trans and gender diverse persons are recognized and can freely
express themselves without any prejudices. The organization has worked in partnership with
different stakeholders to advocate for the promotion and protection of the
rights of trans persons in Uganda and has developed
strong relations with a number of CSOs and projects.
The priority service components under this
program include; trans health rights advocacy, access to justice, strategic
litigation and emergency response.
TRANS RESILIENCE & ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
prevailing social norms and legal system in Uganda remains very hostile towards
transgender persons. A transgender needs assessment study conducted by TNU in
2018 found that a significant proportion of transgender persons face a range of
discrimination, stigma and violence in all places. Over
41% of the transgender persons who participated in the study have experienced
violence in public places including health facilities, restaurants and even
schools. The above has also been a stumbling block in access to employment and
education among trans persons in Uganda. The
assessment found that although a significant number of the respondents had
attained secondary and tertiary education, the need for improved education
access was expressed by 56% and with employment highlighted as the greatest
need, reported by 67% of respondents. The needs assessment also revealed that
over 59% of respondents (trans persons) live in households in the lower income
quintile that is under two hundred thousand shillings (200,000ugx) monthly. There are a host of
barriers to employment among the trans population in Uganda from self-stigma,
unfriendly work environments to the general lack of jobs. It is important for
these barriers to be broken as it is widely acknowledged that conditions of
poverty and ill-health exacerbate each other in that poor health increases
expenditure on medical care and reduces productivity and hence income. The
constraints of low income in turn affect health negatively, through financial
barriers to accessing good quality medical care, dietary deprivation and
exposure to environmental risk factors such as poor sanitation and
is taking steps towards tackling some of the underlying issues giving rise to
the above problems which include wide spread self-stigma, low skill set, low
awareness levels on government youth funding programs and the lack of organised
groupings among the trans population that would ease access to said government
funding are non-existent. Creating an alternative channel of income through
economic empowerment support and capacity building will protect trans persons
in Uganda from a life of desperation and improve their general mental welfare.
priority service components under this program include building social capital
networks through formation of groups, increasing financial literacy of the
development and linkage to seed capital and financial services.
NETWORK STRENGTHENING AND COORDINATION PROGRAM
We hope to build a sustainable network of trans
organizations in Uganda by continuously strengthening governance and management
structures, policies, and systems that align with our strategic plan.
We continuously make efforts to enhance the
sustainable capacity of our network’s member organizations by strengthening
their institutional capacity for the delivery of impactful programs. This is
done through the design and implementation of institutional strengthening plans
for TNU member organizations. Plus offering training opportunities to trans
leaders to enhance capacity to effectively advocate for the enhancement of
The priority service components under this program
include; establishing a trans innovations and a learning hub, regional focal
point organizations, systems strengthening for member organizations, and
regional coordination fora.
The project entitled “Increasing accessibility to socio-economic development prospects for Transgender persons in Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area in Uganda” is a six (6) month project implemented by Tranz Network Uganda funded by Uganda Key Populations Consortium (UKPC) with support from Hivos.
As part of the project, Tranz Network Uganda (TNU) would like to support the entrepreneurship skills development of transgender persons within the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Region. A total of ten (10) trans persons selected from TNU’s membership will be trained in business skills development, financial literacy, marketing etc.
It’s on this basis that TNU would like to contract an independent consultant to facilitate a training in this regard.
Details of the tasks of the assignment are consolidated in the Terms of Reference below:
TNU’s Breaking of Barriers on
SRHR for Transgender Persons in Uganda Project, funded by Amplify Change, is
coming to an end. We are calling for interested, qualified and experienced
project monitoring, evaluation and learning individuals/companies to submit technical
and financial proposals as well as detailed resume/company profile to conduct a
project end-line evaluation.
For more details on the scope of work and
application process please click the link below to download the TOR.
On the 15th June 2021, Tranz Network Uganda hosted a project kick-off meeting on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for transgender and gender diverse Ugandans. Breaking barriers to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights for transgender persons is a one year project aimed at reducing stigma, discrimination and rejection of the trans and gender diverse people seeking SRHR services in Uganda.
The goal of this project is to raise SRHR awareness and knowledge in the community, as well as the trans and gender diverse people. In addition to advocating for inclusive service provision and providing SRHR services to trans and gender diverse people.
We would like to express our gratitude to all of the various stakeholders and Amplify Change, the sponsor of the project.
Tranz Network Uganda along other Non-Governmental Organisations on 21st May 2021 as a team presented a policy brief on the justification to declassify Non Profit Organizations in Uganda from the list of accountable persons under the 2nd schedule to the AML-Act 2013 as amended and this was compelled by Defenders Protective Initiative-DPI to the Financial Intelligence Authority.
According to the brief, promoting well regulated non-profit organizations is critical to any effective and comprehensive anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime. It also states it is critical to use a risk-based approach to money laundering and terrorism financing in order to avoid interfering with the operations of the legitimate non-profit organizations.
Tranz Network Uganda (TNU) with funding from Infectious Disease Institute (IDI) is implementing a one-year project entitled “HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support for transgender persons in central region of Uganda” the project focuses more specifically on two districts of Wakiso and Kampala. The project targets to reach out to 510 transgender persons with HIV counseling and testing as well as sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening. The services are provided using two models; mobile (community outreaches) and static (Drop-In Center). The project began in October 2019 and continues to this day.
Overall aim of the project:
To increase access to equitable HIV/AIDS services and opportunities for Transgender persons in Uganda.
Objectives of the Project: The HIV prevention, care and support for transgender person project in central region was proposed to achieve the following objectives;
- To increase HIV awareness among the transgender persons in Wakiso and Kampala districts
- To advocate and promote equitable HIV services for transgender persons in Wakiso and Kampala districts
- To provide HIV testing and STI screening to 510 transgender persons in Wakiso and Kampala districts
Activities being implemented:
- Community outreaches on HIV counselling and testing.
- ART client follow ups to ensure drug adherence and viral suppression,
- Conducting referrals for HIV/AIDS positive transgender persons
- Static HIV testing and STI screening for transgender persons at the TNU Drop In Center.
- Social networking, information and experience sharing sessions.
- Partnering with healthcare providers for referral and support:
- Trainings on; “HIV/AIDS, Human Rights & The Law”, “SRHR”, “Gender & Sexual Diversity”, “Health Literacy”, “PEP & PrEP usage by Peer Educators” among others.
Trans Responsive Health Systems Strengthening Project, is a two-year project implemented by Tranz Network Uganda. The project will run from January 1st, 2021 to December 31st, 2021. The Trans Responsive Health System-Strengthening Project supported by OSIEA and will be implemented in three (3) regions of Uganda (Eastern, Western, and Central). This project will be addressing the challenges of limited access to health care services, stigma and discrimination of trans gender and gender diverse persons in Uganda. The project also aims to drive health systems in the fore mentioned regions towards a rights-based service delivery approach.
Overall Goal of TREHSS Project: To improve access to and utilization of integrated health services that effectively respond to the specific needs of trans and gender diverse persons in Uganda.
Objective 1: To increase demand, access and utilization of integrated health services in a safe, friendly and transgender led environment
Objective 2: To strengthen the responsiveness of the public health facilities to trans health needs
Objective 3: To strengthen capacity of TNU to support effective demand and utilization of existing health services by trans persons in Uganda.
- Establishing three (3) Regional Drop in Centers of Excellence (DICE) in Central, Eastern and Western Uganda
- Project baseline assessment (Demand, access and utilization of mental health, HIV/AIDS, SRHR by transgender and gender diverse persons)
- Capacity building and support of community support persons (mental health counsellors, Peer educators etc.)
- Mental health awareness boot camp
- Mental health first aid outreaches and group therapy activities
- Building capacity of 9 model transgender friendly public health facilities (3 HCFs in Central region, 3 in Eastern region and 3 in Western region).
- Training of sixty (60) health workers on rights-based approach to health care delivery and transgender health care
- Training of thirty (30) trans community members/health service monitors on community score card approach
- Quarterly health service score cards at nine (9) health facilities
- Biannual regional reflection and health services advocacy meetings based on score card data with key stakeholders
- Development of trans health mobile application to increase uptake of health services.
On the Friday 20th November, 2020, Tranz Network Uganda held an event to launch a new initiative entitled the Transgender Resilience and Economic Empowerment (TREE) project. The launch was attended by heads of the network member organizations, representatives from the Board and various stakeholders both physically and virtually.
What is the Tree Project?
The TREE project is an eighteen (18) month livelihood and economic intervention program funded by American Jewish World Service (AJWS).
The transgender people in Uganda over the years have been one of the most marginalized populations. An environment rich in Trans phobia fueled by social cultural biases have seen a large number of transgender persons drop out of school and left with no formal sources of income.
The TREE project aims to build social capital and resilience of Trans community members in Uganda through the formation of saving groups (VSLA model), promotion of financial inclusion, entrepreneurship and vocational skills development and linkage to other social economic empowerment activities.
- To contribute to the economic transformation of Trans gender persons in Uganda.
- To enhance VSLA skills among 90 transgender persons in Uganda by March 2022.
- To increase employment opportunities among 90 transgender persons through vocational skills development by March 2022.
Key activities to be conducted include;
- A baseline needs assessment of the livelihood/economic empowerment needs and available opportunities for the targeted transgender persons/beneficiaries to inform the project design.
- To organize beneficiaries into groups based on Village Saving Loan Associations model where beneficiaries will be grouped with 15 members and trained on VSLA principles and methodologies.
- Training of group members on leadership, financial, literacy, income generation activities and roles of good leadership.
- Equipping of group members with saving tool kits which include lockable metallic box, pass books, stamps, record books, writing materials etc. Each group is expected to run a saving cycle of up to 12 months after which they can share their savings and begin a new cycle.
- Training of group members on entrepreneurship skills including enterprise selection once they have begun saving.
- Support vocational skilling for eligible members identified through the groups to provide Trans persons with employment skills, competencies relevant to the labor market.
This project is informed by the Trans specific needs assessment conducted as part of the Cross-Border collaboration Health project where over 56% of members expressed interest in adopting the VSLA skills.
Uganda has no exception to trans
visibility, this is largely due to Uganda legal and policy frame work which
does not formally recognize trans people and which criminalizes same sex sexual
conduct. This place transgender persons in a position where they are apprehended
criminals hence increasing stigma and discrimination within and without.
Reference to the HRAPF publication on the Quick scan of the laws and policies affecting
transgender persons in Uganda, it clearly states that the Registration of
Persons Act 2015 doesn’t recognize the third gender; The general framework of
the act only recognizes the male and female genders as the gender markers
available there is thus no provision for a third gender for those who do not
align to the male or female sexes. Also, there is no mention of transgender
persons in the law at all. This makes transgender persons invisible within the
framework of the law that recognizes persons. Invisibility in the law leads to
invisibility in practice thus need to commemorate TDOV to increase demand and
visibility for trans human rights in Uganda.
Looking at the current situation
in Uganda, trans persons are still suffering from police brutally, inhuman and
degrading treatment, murdered, rejected by their families, cannot access
employment and are still discriminated and stigmatized at service provisions
simply because of being true to who they are resulting in multiple occurrences
of problems like substance abuse, depression, mental instability among many
other lived realities and experiences we feel should be shared and celebrated.
Without access to similar
freedoms and recognition as the cisgender community, the battle against
HIV/AIDS among other human rights issues within the transgender and gender
non-conforming persons will always have shackles restricting progress.
Statistics show that there has been no real improvement in the HIV prevalence
rate among many other human rights violations to the Trans community globally.
This event aimed to:
- To shine a light on some of the challenges
facing Trans persons in the country and devise collective response strategies.
- To provide an opportunity for our allies,
partners and stakeholders to engage with members of the Trans community from
all walks of life, get a close look at the actual state of affairs, gain
knowledge and understanding on the unique challenges Trans persons face in
- To celebrate resilient Trans activists who are
positively impacting on lives of transgender persons across the country