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When Erumbi became District Female Workers Representative Namayingo in 2016, the excitement about her new status did not last long enough because of the leadership challenges she faced being a firstcomer in a political position. Still stressed about the expenses incurred and insults she had eluded through campaigns, Erumbi soon started grappling with conducting council business which was worsened by the fact that she was shy and lacked the confidence to speak on the floor during council proceedings. ” I was Ignorant of the law and had no knowledge concerning the rules of procedure, Local Government Act and the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, I had no idea about government policies” Erumbi recalls.
This was exacerbated by the numerous workers’ demands and her inability to balance public and family roles. However, this was before Erumbi received training from the FOWODE. In 2019, Erumbi automatically joined the women’s caucus in Namayingo because she was an elected representative for women in the district. Initially, she did not understand the relevance of such groups however, following numerous trainings, she appreciated the relevance of these caucuses.
“Caucusing harmonized our political differences, we understood that as women we have to work as a team to win the support of the men in council so that our concerns could be heard and addressed”.
She further asserts that these caucuses were a game changer for her. Through them, she was able to actively be part of a movement of women leaders advocating for women’s rights in the district. According to her, caucusing made it easy to mobilize and coordinate the women leaders on shared issues for the promotion of social justice and women’s rights at the district. Towards the 2021 general elections, Erumbi recalls how they worked together as a caucus to ensure that they all won the elections; to enable them to continue the policy advocacy they had already started. At this point, the skills gained through training on campaign management, resource mobilization, balancing public and family responsibilities, rules of procedure etc were essential to guarantee them a massive win.
Erumbi attests that with support from the caucus, she was able to assume the position of District Chairperson of the Social Services Committee.
“We were 5 contestants for the role; 2 women and 3 men. I’m happy to note that I was overwhelmingly voted in as Chairperson of Social Services where I lead 6 departments ie. health, natural resources, Community-Based Services, education, industry and trade.”
She is now a role model for women and girls in the community. She uses her position to encourage more women to actively participate in leadership at the Sub-county, district and national level.
“As women, we have great potential to lead. When strategically placed women can bring positive change to their homes and communities. As a woman in leadership, I have put women’s rights issues at the Centre stage in Namayingo district because I control key departments” Says Erumbi. She looks forward to contesting as Namayingo District woman Member of Parliament. Her appeal to FOWODE to continue is training grassroots women in leadership so that they can equally tap their leadership potential to amplify the needs of their communities.