In a bid to take the discussion on democracy, gender and good governance to lower local levels, ACFODE in conducted capacity building sessions for aspiring women leaders in Pallisa district. The purpose was to hold meaningful conversations on the participation of women in politics, including the opportunities available for them, the hindrances they face and how they can be overcome; and how citizens of voting age can be challenged to support women and female youths.
The sessions also focused on civic education on rights and duties of citizens prior to and during elections and the importance of making a choice on the ballot paper based on the issues a candidate stands for. The discussions also elaborated on how women can harness the growing power of media and improve their campaigning and communication skills to be effective leaders who use their positions to transform their communities.
As the General Elections draw closer, ACFODE brought the Electoral Commission on board to include sessions on the 2016 election road map, the qualifications needed to compete for the different elective positions and how they can be more active participants in their respective political parties.
Mr. Esupan Peter from Electoral Commission addresses the participants
Speaking during the workshop, Mr. Esupan Peter from the Electoral Commission encouraged the women to compete for all available positions right from LCI to the parliament and not just as district women representatives but as constituency MPs. He informed participants that the voters register would be displayed and urged all the participants to check and verify their information. He cautioned on separating party politics from the general elections. “To be nominated and vote in the upcoming elections you will need a national ID, not an NRM party card, not an FDC or UPC party card.”
During the discussions the women acknowledged that Pallisa district had many challenges including poverty, high rates of school dropout and child marriage, they understood that only through having more women in positions of influence, women who understand the plight of their fellow women and girls in the community that the situation would begin to change.
Participants from Butebo Sub County during a Group Work discussion
Hon. Mboli Maliza, a District Councilor wished political parties would support women more, “We get little or no support from our parties, maybe if one wins primaries they get some [financial] support. However I think we should more be involved in the planning and decision making processes. This will empower us more.”
At the close of the workshop the LC III chairman Butebo sub county expressed his gratitude to ACFODE especially for organizing the workshop at the sub county level where more women could be part. He said it was good to have representatives of the electoral commission to explain the whole process to the aspirants. The women were thankful for the newly knowledge and skills and were confident it would help fulfill their political ambitions and hopefully translate into better lives for women and girls in Pallisa district.
Group photo of the participants, facilitators and Interns from KAS
Human Rights & Governance Department