Bewildered looks and blank stares by rugby fans and revelers greeted Nile Special’s launch of the No Excuse campaign against sexual harassment. The campaign unveiled a couple of minutes before Victoria Cup encounter between the Rugby Cranes and Zambia at Kyadondo over the weekend ( August 17th) caught all that had turned up by surprise. At a time when everyone expected the teams to walk in queue out of the dressing rooms onto pitch for battle, a number of ladies sprung from all directions onto the play field and started a chant, which to many rhymed similar to the renowned scouts chant “Everywhere we go…”.But midway, the lyrics took a sudden turn addressing the scourge of sexual harassment and the plight of women. In couple of minutes the women matched off the pitch via the same routes they had used to walk on, leaving quite laud whispers in the stands. At half time the ladies redid the chant but by that time everyone had caught on what the stunt was all about.

Nile Breweries under it's flagship brand Nile Special launched a behavioral change campaign dubbed “No Excuse” with the aim of addressing the predicament of sexual harassment in the country. The brand will address the subject by calling for smart drinking measures among it's consumers, since alcohol abuse has been identified as one of the primary catalysts for sexual harassment.

The aim of the ‘No Excuse’ campaign is to:

  • Shine a spotlight on the sexual harassment problem
  • To bring about a change in long established societal behaviors and attitudes
  • To activate bystanders with the aim of decreasing and preventing this act
  • Challenge the public to take appropriate action against perpetrators of sexual harassment
  • Encourage stakeholders to support the victims to access appropriate support services.

Attention is increasingly being paid to the prevalence of this vice in Uganda. Whether this is down to more cases being reported or the abuse is on the rise, is a matter worth investigating. What is certain is that the public space in which women can freely express themselves must be guarded. This calls for collective reflection by all stakeholders on the measures to be undertaken to ensure that every individuals rights and freedom are protected as enshrined in the constitution under Article 20. Utilizing the brand’s online platforms, the campaign will implore the public have it's say on what constitutes sexual harassment. The information will be curated and the data presented into a communication campaign to both raise awareness and also educate the public about sexual harassment while changing people’s attitudes and beliefs.

Francis Nyende, the Nile Special Brand Manager said, “It is a good thing that the plight of women regarding sexual harassment is edging to the fore of the national discourse. But it’s also rather disturbing that almost daily there is a story about a woman that has been sexually harassed. As one of the leading Ugandan brands we have decided to champion the cause.”Our ultimate goal is to reduce and prevent the incidences of sexual harassment, which affects the lives of too many women, both directly and indirectly, and thereby make a much safer society. “Some of the places where women are more susceptible to sexual harassment is during the nightlife (bars, discos etc). At certain hours of the night, after consuming a couple of bottles, some men throw caution to the wind at the expense of the women. So we are here to educate revelers that they should drink smart, there’s no excuse for sexual harassment,” says Nyende.

Ms. Gloria Nakafeero, the Commissioner Gender and Women Affairs, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development said, “We are using the ‘No Excuse’ campaign as a catalyst to get people to question themselves and their behaviour. We are aware that by identifying the problem we shall need to do more to try and create meaningful change. So by raising awareness about the issue, the existing laws and policies as well as the existing support services, we will contribute towards positive change in attitudes to make sexual harassment “inexcusable” and unacceptable and demand positive actions towards the elimination of sexual harassment.

“I am happy to be associated with the Nile Special ‘No Excuse’ campaign. It always starts with a simple insight. What rings true for me was the idea that in Uganda, whenever we observe or encounter of sexual harassment, we’re inclined to absent ourselves of any responsibility - or worse still, excuse behaviour that’s totally inexcusable.” Article 24 of the constitution protects the dignity of every one in Uganda. No person shall be subjected to any form of inhuman or degrading treatment. This includes respect of a person to their psychological or mental well-being. Enough is enough. Let’s stop excusing sexual harassment. Learn more at the Nile Special 'No Excuse' campaign www.noexcuse.ug

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