FOWODE rolled out mentoring trainings for elected women leaders to reflect the Women manifesto and enhance their capacities to demand for gender sensitive planning and budget processes at district level. The trainings took place concurrently in the districts of Manafwa, Butaleja, Kapchorwa, Sironko, Mbale, Busia, Kiboga, Wakiso, Kampala, Mukono, Buikwe and Tororo. The objective of these trainings is to influence national electoral and at least 4 selected political party legislations, guidelines and procedures for gender responsiveness by 2017.
On the overall, the trainings were very participatory, mainly because of the previous WDG/FOWODE trainings that were portrayed as highly effective by the participants. The women councilors had formed caucuses and enthusiastically shared their progress. Many of the councilors had been to council before and were fairly confident in their presentations. In Wakiso District for example, women councilors occupy very influential positions; Vice Chairperson of the District is a woman and 3 others head sectorial committees of education, health and works.
As a result of these trainings, women caucuses have been empowered to sensitize communities on issues gender based violence, which has helped the women leaders to achieve full recognition at both council and community level. In ensuring that women benefit from government interventions, the caucus in Busia for example sensitized and influenced 13 women groups to benefit from Women economic empowerment fund for 2016/17 FY and so far 22million have transferred to DFCU bank for women support in the district. In February 2017 the women caucus in Butaleja moved a motion proposing for the need to recruit more mid wives in 5 HCIIIs in the district as way of averting high rate of maternal death in these particular communities in the district. This is an indicator that the women leaders can now identify critical issues on.
“This training has helped me to conceptualize issues of action planning more effectively. The action plan I have developed out of this will focus on the major challenges within my community”, said a participant from Wakiso District. “I am very appreciative of FOWODE for making us what we are today. Some of us contested for positions without knowing what to expect but we have gone ahead to become seasoned politicians. I was voted best councilor in the whole country following a survey conducted by ACFODE”, she said. Chebet Catherine a counselor in Kapchorwa District said, “For us to get two slots from Kapchorwa district executive, it was because of the previous training FOWODE gave us and now we are empowered to deliberate in council and lobby effectively in planning and budgeting process in our district…” Chebet Catherine appreciates
The knowledge and skills that were acquired are a contributory tool towards building techniques for lobbying and advocacy for strategic promotion of good governance. It is a tool to provide guide for women caucuses and political actors towards prioritizing women concerns at local government level in the districts. It will also instill confidence to propel women to greater heights.