During a training for leadership mentors by FOWODE, in collaboration with UN WOMEN, Anyango Angella Tadie, a participant, disclosed that she was a president of the Gender Leadership Club in Gulu University founded by FOWODE. When asked if that had anything to do with her current position as Youth Councilor, Angella smilingly replied, “Yes, very much!”
Angella went on to narrate that it was her love of seeing women stand up and occupy public spaces that pushed her to run as president for the Gender Leadership Club in 2015/16. “It doesn’t make sense being at the fore front, while other women are left behind. I don’t like leading alone that’s why I knew that once elected president, I would create more spots for women to shine.”
During her time as president, the club managed to hold public dialogues on issues that worry communities, such as sexual and gender based violence. In conjunction with the Human Rights and debate society of Gulu University, they held inter-faculty debates for women where sexual reproductive issues were debated upon. They held school outreaches which included Pope John 2 College, Gulu where girls were encouraged to take up leadership positions during school campaigns. They also successfully trained women judges at the university how to handle different gender issues. They hosted an inter-secondary school debate where 11 schools that included Layib College and Sacred Heart Secondary School. It was through these debates that more girls represented Northern Uganda and emerged winners at the ‘writing our world’ debate challenge held at national level. They later on represented Uganda in Kigali and were the 1st runners up.
Through the inter-faculty debates at the university, more women attempted and some were elected at guild level. For example, Laker Gender Fancy tried to stand for guild president but was discouraged by her cultural group. Asked if that was fair, Angella says,” It was very unfair which is why I encouraged her to stand as an independent candidate to no avail.”
Angella stood as Youth Councilor because many injustices were happening to the youth. There was unequal resource distribution and even the little that was available was diverted because no one was present to demand for accountability. As a Youth Councilor, she saw an opportunity to talk and encourage fellow women to participate in leadership.
Her journey as a Youth Councilor has not been smooth because she had just finished university when she decided to stand. Angella asserted that as a single woman, almost every man, including some top officials at Local Council made passes at her. She singled out one official who took it to another level when he sent her for condoms during a workshop and even when she wanted to become Secretary for Finance, he made it clear that it would only happen after she allowed having sex with him.
When asked if she does not fear revealing these facts, Angella says that she’s has to do it, especially for the girls who are not empowered as she is and have continuously fallen victim to such revolting acts. Even though she was able to stand up to the harassment, she got cut out of any useful information around office and would in most cases get caught off guard regarding several issues.
At the moment, happily married with a child, Angella is among the few women leaders who are lucky to have support from their husbands. As a final point, Angella says that she doesn’t consider leadership being a job or work but an opportunity to serve others. She appreciates FOWODE for continuously availing opportunities for women leaders to grow and flourish.