Due in part of gender responsive legislation, there has been increased access by women to leadership positions both at the local government level through the women’s seat and at the national level through the district woman MP position. Statistics indicate that the number of female legislators in Uganda has risen; from 18% in 1989 to over 30% in 2011 and 2016.
Women’s presence in political decision-making is largely premised on the fact that women in such spaces will make a difference for women’s rights, development and gender equality; that is to say once in power, women should change the content of politics to cater for women’s interests.
It has however been noted that women leaders especially those in the local councils are still unable to effectively articulate the interests of women for various reasons including limited knowledge on relevant laws and policies, on their roles and responsibilities; lack essential skills like lobby, advocacy, communication and resource mobilization, limited exposure, and the dynamics of multiparty politics which emphasizes supporting party positions regardless of whether they do not promote the interests of the electorate.
Based on this premise, Action for Development with partners Konrad Adenauer Stiftung organized a mentoring and coaching workshop for the district caucus of Kabale. The caucus formed after the 2016 general elections is yet to perform to the expectations of their formation. It’s weak, disunited and have a lot of internal challenges, skill and knowledge gaps.
The workshop included sessions on documentation, resource mobilization, advocacy and influencing council decisions. Speaking at the workshop, the District Speaker, Hon. Loy Zikampulira expressed her gratitude at ACFODE for organizing the workshop, saying it was timely. “Kabale does not usually get such workshops that focus directly on the women legislators. This has reminded us of our debt to the women and the issues they voted us into office for”.
Hon. Bridget Tumwesigye the district Vice Chairperson also noted that the inclusion of the Women’s Manifesto was good; for most people manifesto end with the campaign period, but the session of the women’s manifesto was a reminder of how much work still needed to be done.
The workshop also included male councilors, this in recognition of the fact women councilors need the support of their male counterparts to push for women’s concerns in district budgets and work plans. Contributing towards the session on Gender, Mr. Pius Twinomugisha said he was very glad ACFODE had called the councilors, “there’s an assumption that we understand gender and women’s issues and yet we don’t. I have learnt a lot and I pledge to support women’s issues,” he said.
At the end of the training the District Caucus made Action Plans, based on the five issues of the Women’s Manifesto and pledged to go back to their fellow councilors with the knowledge gained and prioritize the issues of women and girls in their constituencies.
Compiled by Kyomuhendo Belinda
Human Rights and governance department