The Women’s Democracy Group is a coalition of five civil society organizations in Uganda comprising of Action for development, Center for Women in Governance, Forum for Women in Democracy, Women’s Democracy Network-Uganda Chapter and Uganda Women’s Network. The coalition was established in 2009 with the aim of strengthening women’s leadership and influencing gender responsiveness in democratic governance.
ACFODE in partnership with the Women’s Democracy Group has been working with 150 women leaders in the districts of Oyam, Amolator, Lira, Dokolo, Masaka, Sembabule, Rakai, Rukungiri, Kisoro and Kanungu to build their capacities to fulfil their mandate as elected councilors. As part of efforts to Strengthen the influence of women leaders in Local Council ACFODE carried out a mentoring and coaching of district women caucuses.
The aim of the mentoring and coaching was to among others, document progress of the caucuses in line with implementation of the women’s manifesto that is, progress successes since 2016 trainings, challenges encountered and strategies/ recommendations for future coaching and mentoring.
The women councilors were also taken through session on how the caucus can work with the district heads of department to realize results on the women’s manifesto, lobby, advocacy and proposal writing.
The caucuses have achieved a lot in Kanungu District, the councilors liaised with the Woman MP to get a cervical cancer team which has been moving around the whole district screening women and girls in health center IIIs. The caucus has also been in the different sub counties sensitizing people about the causes of cancer, hygiene and sanitation, the dangers of having multiple sexual partners and encouraging pregnant women to deliver from health centers.
In Rukungiri district, the caucus went on to form a community based organisation- Shaping The Future-Rukungiri which has allowed them to access more funding to implement their activities. The caucus is working to remove all barriers impeding Girl Child Education through its core programs; Menstrual Hygiene Management, Education support to most vulnerable girls, Advocacy and Vocational training.
In the central region, the Rakai district caucus also formed a community based organisation and SACCO-Women of Destiny from which they have been able to access funds from and work with civil society organisations like World Vision and DREAMS (a programme under USAID). The caucus has been into schools constructing changing rooms for girls and health centers have maternity wards. The caucus was also instrumental in ensuring that women groups and youth have access to the WEP and Youth Livelihood funds.
In spite of all these, the councillors acknowledged that there was a lot that needed to be done. The councillors were also reminded that gender equality cannot be achieved without men and so they should include them in all the caucus activities.
Speaking at the close of the workshop in the western region, the Deputy RDC Rukungiri, Ms. Justin Mutabazi expressed her gratitude to ACFODE for continuously investing in the women councillors, and building their skills. She said there was notable progress especially how the councillors deliberate in council and how they keep women’s issues at the top of the agenda.
Compiled by Kyomuhendo Belinda
Human Rights and governance department