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FOWODE’s beginnings are rooted in the 1994-1995 constitution-making process in Uganda. It all started in 1994 when 8 women came together to lead the Women’s Caucus in the Constituent Assembly. With support from the Uganda women’s movement, feminist academics, funding partners and allies from the disability, workers and youth movements, the Women’s Caucus won landmark provisions guaranteeing women’s rights and gender equality, and opened opportunities for women’s political, economic and social empowerment through affirmative action. Uganda’s Constitution was acclaimed as one of the most gender sensitive in the world.
Riding on the momentum of the constitution making process, FOWODE was established as a Non-Governmental Organization to offer a platform for Ugandan women’s learning, networking, sharing experiences and advocating for gender equality and equity in decision-making process. Relentlessly pursuing a non-partisan path and grounded in the Ugandan and African women’s rights movements, FOWODE has focused its efforts on building transformative leadership for women’s rights and influencing public policy.
FOWODE has continued to be a pacesetter in promoting gender equality and women’s leadership in the country. Whereas it primarily focuses on women’s issues, FOWODE also seeks gender equality and thus involves men in all aspects of its work. FOWODE has strategically positioned itself as a champion for women’s rights protection, participation in political decision making and engaging in issues of macroeconomic governance such as Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB).
FOWODE has a functional governance structure comprised of the General Assembly and the Board of Directors through which strategic, policy and implementation decisions are made. The General Assembly, which is the apex decision-making body, is comprised of individual members who participate in making strategic decisions. Membership is open to women and men who share the values and goals of gender equality and equity, transparency and accountability, participation, tolerance, democracy and respect for human rights and peace. The Assembly delegates some of its powers to the 5-member Board to ensure smooth and timely implementation of the agreed decisions. The Board of Directors is elected every 3 years and provides strategic direction to the organization in line with the organizational vision, mission and goals.