For over 20 years now, ACFODE has employed the women caucus approach as one of the key strategies to strengthen women participation in politics and decision making, cooperation among women politicians and creation of effective alliances for a common goal. Through establishment of Women Leaders’ Caucuses, regular trainings, exchange learning visits and mentoring of women leaders, they have been equipped with knowledge and skills in leadership, advocacy, lobby, to mention but a few.
The impact of the aforementioned engagements is tremendously reflected in the great advances made by the women leaders to achieve gender equality, inclusion of women in decision making, men and women support of women political participation, girl child education and women economic development in their specific constituencies. ACFODE has carried on with this barrier breaking and life-changing initiative. In April, May and June, ACFODE was in Pallisa, Apac and Kabale respectively. The women leaders in the aforementioned districts were converged together in reflection meetings which presented them with an opportunity to interact and learn from each other but to also gain more understanding of women’s movement, caucusing for gender responsive service delivery and documentation, and monitoring of women caucuses. The reflection meetings reached 107 people (36 in Pallisa, 35 in Apac and 36 in Kabale District).
Pallisa Women Councilors in a group discussion on achievements and challenges faced by Women in politics
From the comprehensive and well expounded sessions in each of the said districts, Women Councilors understood the contextual history of women movements in Uganda and appreciated the immense contribution of these movements to the country such as passing of gender responsive legislations including but not limited to the gender sensitive 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
It was highlighted during the meetings that the Women Councilors in Pallisa among others secured funding for 35 women groups under the Youth Livelihood and Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) whereas in Apac, 20 girls who had dropped out of school were taken back to vocational schools to learn tailoring and hair dressing
Women caucuses have not only equipped women leaders with skills and knowledge but also increased their ability to effectively front challenges faced by women and girls at the district as affirmed by Hon. Odele Emmanuel, the current Speaker for Pallisa District who stated, “Back in the days, most women leaders would spend more than one year without saying anything in a council sitting, today, there is a great improvement in their character that is observed. I am proud to say that the current health ordinance was out of a motion moved by a woman and we owe this to the trainings they have received from ACFODE”.
ACFODE will continue to work with, train and follow up the Women Leaders’ Caucus especially commitments made like mobilization of sanitary towels for girls in schools, scholastic materials for primary seven candidates and 10 year old girls to go for cervical cancer vaccination, and also carry out thorough sensitization on girl child education, elimination of Gender Based Violence, and women formation of saving and credit groups.
Hon. Acuma Florence-Female Youth Councilor of Apac District Local Council and Co-facilitator of the meeting leading participants through an exercise on challenges faced by women councilors in executing their roles.
Violah Nayebare, Programme Assistant Communications and Advocacy
Belinda Kyomuhendo, Programme Officer Governance and Women Leadership