On June 11th, Forum for Women in Democracy organized a training for sub-county women councilors in Busia district. The training, led by Jovet Obbo and Margaret Namgembe covered the topics of effective legislative engagement and budgeting. Obbo is a lecturer at Bugema University while Namagembe is a former councilor in Wakiso district.
During the training, Obbo encouraged the women leaders to use caucuses to fight for women’s rights because “women issues need a collective and strong voice”. Women caucuses, Obbo said, enable women to come up with harmonized positions on issues which advance fellow women by jointly demanding for what they want to achieve. “Women’s problems equally affect the educated, illiterate, rich and poor women,” Obbo said. She added that when women are caught up in a situation of using filthy pit latrines, they equally suffer in the same way regardless of the social status they hold in society. Obbo cautioned the women to bury their political differences, egos, undermining each other and also discussing minor and irrelevant issues in order to have impactful caucuses, whose success can be measured by the number of ordinances they have passed. She also advised women not to use caucuses to fight men but rather, to prove that women can come together and lift each other up. Obbo encouraged the women to form good working relationships with technical workers and to use the budgeting period to address issues such as access to safe water, good sanitation and girl child education.
Namagembe encouraged women to save their money and contribute to paying school fees and buying food in order to reduce the stigma attached to women working. She further urged women to avoid being left behind in their homes or in council meetings by becoming daring and having a hunger for success.
During the training, acting Busia District Speaker Betty Ajambo and acting District Chairperson Paul Oguttu were present. Ajambo spoke on the empowerment that has enabled women to better articulate women’s issues and bring about positive change. “When these councils started, the best women could do was to second motions, but now, women are fully participating in committee and council business”. She encouraged women to contribute to the council debates in order to exercise their right to speak up and reduce on male dominance during the meetings.
Oguttu appealed to the women councilors to believe in themselves and to stop thinking that they cannot make their own decisions. He encouraged the women leaders to fight traditional attitudes that demean women and empower each other in order to become successful leaders.
Written by Annet Namwaya
Field Officer, Busia