On November 10, 2017, Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), held a strategic breakfast meeting on gender and equity (G&E) responsiveness of the health and education sectors. The importance of G&E is increasingly becoming recognized by individuals, governments and civil society organizations. FOWODE hosted this meeting with the goal of presenting the findings from a G&E audit of the Education and Health Sector Ministerial Policy Statements (MPSs) and 10 District Budget Framework Papers (BFPs). The 10 districts, which had previously benefited from FOWODE’s hands-on-support in gender responsive budgeting, included Amuria, Amuru, Busia, Kabale, Lyantonde, Luwero, Mityana, Napak, Rukungiri and Wakiso.
After opening remarks from FOWODE’s Director of Programs Ms. Juliet Nakato Odoi, Dr. Aramanzan Madanda presented his findings from the audit. He started off his presentation by emphasizing that the budget-making process should involve citizens because “we are affected the most and our lives are shaped by the budget.” He reiterated that the budget is a key tool in achieving the Uganda Vision 2040. The key indicators that were considered during the audit included the identification of G&E issues, interventions to solve the identified issues and specific expenditures allocated to address gender and equity in the sector and district departments. During the audit, Dr. Madanda considered the categories of people that are most disadvantaged in the country and assessed whether the budget addressed the needs of these people.
As part of his methodology, Dr. Madanda used literature reviews to guide his work. He found that only one vote, from the Ministry of Education and Sports, made specific budget allocations towards gender and equity in the mainstream budget as compared to 75% of education sector votes that allocated funds to gender as a cross-cutting issue. Regarding the health sector, gender and equity compliance yielded mixed results. The audit revealed that 12 out of 23 votes scored below the 50% mark and only 17% of the sector votes made a provision for gender and equity in the mainstream budget.
Out of the 10 districts considered for the audit, Rukungiri District scored the highest (100%) in implementing gender and equity budgeting. Three other districts that scored above the 50% mark were Luwero (67%), Busia (58%) and Wakiso (50%). The remaining 6 districts that scored below the 50% mark indicated great need for improvement.
According to Dr. Madanda, the health sector needs to ensure that its strategic plan is sufficiently gender responsive and provides comprehensive guidance. Furthermore, the health sector should commission regular assessments to guarantee that there is readily available information that shows G&E progress, as well as indicators disaggregated by G&E variables in order to make monitoring and evaluating of the budget process easier.
Dr. Madanda explained that in order to improve, the health and education sectors need to identify G&E issues, explicitly allocate funds for these issues and ensure consistence and coherence on G&E issues across the planning and budgeting process.
Listed below are some of the recommendations from stakeholders present at the meeting:
The Director for the Gender and Economic Policy Program at FOWODE, Dr. Patricia Bamanyaki, closed the event by summarizing the areas for prioritization in the upcoming budget. She reminded those present how vital addressing gender and equity issues is and the importance of participating in the budget-making process. Dr. Bamanyaki also reiterated FOWODE’s commitment to building the capacities of national and local government actors in order to promote gender and equity budgeting.