In Uganda, like in the rest of the world, women participate in politics, leadership and decision making processes is still faced with hindrances. However, unlike other countries where women's movements are restricted, or forbidden from appearing in public spaces, Uganda’s women movements are playing a remarkable role in improving the livelihood of women through championing women rights and needs at all levels.
Action for Development (ACFODE) with financial support from Democratic Governance Facility have adapted the women caucuses strategy to avail an opportunity and platform through which women leaders are exercising their right to political participation and also clearing a path for all women to speak and be heard.
Under this initiative, ACFODE recently conducted five (5) orientation workshops on formation of district and sub-county caucuses in each of the districts of Amolator, Kanungu, Rubanda, Kalangala and Rakai with 143 participants (27, 27, 27, 29 and 33 respectively).
District and Sub-county leaders in the orientation workshop that took place in Amolatar district
The workshops were held for two days in each district during the month of May 2019 and attended by among others, the district and sub-county female Councilors to majorly enhance their knowledge base, understanding and appreciation of caucusing and women’s movement building among women councilors for gender responsive service delivery.
During one of the sessions held in Amolator district, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Mr. Obong Thomson thanked ACFODE for supporting Amolatar among other districts, “ACFODE’s coming to Amolatar is of a good help to the district and Uganda at large. By working with Women Councilors to cause change, this project is not far from what our government is doing. Women leaders have increased and Uganda recognizes the contribution of women in the country”.
Participants had an opportunity to fully analyze and understand why caucuses are formed and features of a successful caucus. They entirely understood that caucuses increase women impact in politics, identify critical areas of concern for women, provide peer support, conduct research and provide data and create an opportunity to network. For this to be achieved, women leaders in attendance were advised to meet and communicate regularly, be committed and always advocate for gender sensitive budgeting.
Kalangala District councilors in group discussions developing action plans for the women leaders’ caucuses
It is after the powerful sessions on understanding women caucusing that women leaders in respective districts decided to form caucuses. A total number of 15 women leaders’ caucuses were formed (3 from each district) both at district and sub-county levels. Later, under their specific caucuses, participants committed to ensure that female wards are separated from the male wards in health centers, a female leaders is appointed on the District Executive Committee and Allocation of resources to construct four bathroom stances for maternity wards in health centers while working closely with district women and men Councilors.