Uganda is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 global goals with 169 targets, which endeavor to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that every single person enjoys peace and prosperity regardless of their gender, race or economic status. In addition to the SDGs, Uganda hopes to see through Vision 2040 whereby Ugandan society is transformed “from a peasant to modern and prosperous country within 30 years”. While the SDGs give hope that the lives of many, especially in the developing world, will be transformed for the better, not everyone is as optimistic.
In areas such as Rwot Obilo Village in Gulu, the SDGs seem far too ambitious. For instance, the only health center in the area, Rwot Obilo Health Center, does not have a maternity ward, running water, a latrine for patients and health workers rarely show up for work. With this is in mind, can SDG 3, which targets good health and well-being, be achieved?
Additionally, can SDG 6, clean water and sanitation, be achieved when several women such as Min Lakica are tasked with fetching water which requires walking many miles because there is no borehole in their village? The water that they do fetch is usually from contaminated sources thus putting whole households at risk. Water-borne diseases are not the women’s only concern. Sexual harassment and assault are the prominent dangers they face as they walk long distances to fetch water. This in turn makes achieving SDG 5, gender equality, ambitious.
Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) alongside her partners and key stakeholders is dedicated to advocating for the SDGs. This includes but not limited to raising awareness of the challenges women in Rwot Obilo face. If women living in rural areas still do not have access to clean water or proper health care, neither the SDGs nor Vision 2040 can become a reality. With the assistance of our Village Budget
Clubs (VBCs), we have advocated for increased funds for Rwot Obilo Health Center as well as increased gender sensitive legislation within the sub county. FOWODE has empowered people at the district level to be involved in the budget process and hold their leaders accountable such that funds are allocated to making sure that clean water is readily available in Rwot Obilo. Our VBC monitoring reports are found to be helpful and credible and they are recognized by both sub-county and district authorities.
Written by Jomeo Richard
FOWODE Field Officer Gulu