Following the National Launch of women’s manifesto on 9th July, ACFODE under Women’s Democracy Group (WDG) launched the Women’s Manifesto 2016-2021 in the Northern, Central and Western regions. The Women’s Manifesto is a compilation of the five major needs of women throughout the country that they would like the elected leaders to address for the advancement and wellbeing of women in society. The key issues are women’s health, land and property rights, education, economic empowerment, and participation in politics and decision-making.
Some of the women’s specific demands include; 5% allocation of the total health budget to maternal health services at all health center IIIs and IVs in the country, designing specific policies and programme measures to protect widows from property and land grabbing, and increase in numbers of women in political leadership at all levels to at least 50% representation.
Speaking at the Launch in Lira District, the Deputy RDC Mr. Mwaka Lutukumu said “In the past, women used to stay in the kitchen but thanks to civil society organizations like ACFODE for the measures put in place aiming at empowering women. Women can now participate in decision making processes and even influence policy formulation.”
In Masaka District, the chief Guest Ms. Olivia Muwanga applauded ACFODE for the initiatives aimed at empowering women, she encouraged women to support each other’s endeavors. As a teacher she also spoke out strongly against child marriage and importance of keeping girls in school. “You have the tool; you have the information, the demands, make use of them and challenge your leaders to place the concerns of women and girls at the top of their priorities”
In Rukungiri District, the Chief Guest Ms. Florence Katunguka a Health worker urged women to identify themselves with the manifesto since it spells out issues that affect mostly women. She emphasized ownership, and support of fellow women in advancing women’s concerns and issues. She ended by appealing to women to support each other in the upcoming 2016 general elections, “what a man can do a woman can as well do”
Going forward it is important for citizens to understand that the women’s manifesto is not just a political document but a powerful bargaining tool to hold political aspirants accountable for advancing women’s concerns and rights. It should be used to raise awareness about gender issues among the various political players and mobilizing the electorate to actively participate in all processes that promote people-centered democracy and the interests of women in the development process.
Human Rights & Governance Department