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The Untimely Death Of a FOWODE Beneficiary

On Monday November 15, 2021, Ms Hope Tukamushaba was found dead in her house in Lyantonde at 11pm. The circumstances of her death have not been ascertained yet but she had cuts on her head.

Hope was a beneficiary of Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE). She was a member of Tusekimu Women’s group for our AWESOME project, ardently attending our trainings on Women and Leadership but particularly interested in the ones on Sexual Gender Based Violence. She had become a reliable and promising agent of change for FOWODE, going the extra mile to teach against SGBV in the town councils. An enrolled nurse, the 27-year-old leaves behind a 3-year-old girl and a little boy she had adopted.

FOWODE mourns Hope the mother, the nurse, the exceptional civic educator she was fast becoming and so much more that we shall never know. FOWODE condemns violence of any nature against anyone. We hope that justice will be served and the culprits will be brought to book.

Thank you for your efforts to eliminate SGBV from your community, Hope. It is a pity you had to go at the hands of violence.

Rest In Peace our dear Sister!!

Are We Glimpsing Gender Equality in Uganda’s Recent Permanent Secretary Appointments?

By Peace Namayanja.

In July, President Museveni’s government unveiled the new list of permanent secretaries for the Republic of Uganda. The released list revealed 40% women more top leadership positions as Permanent Secretaries. With the current Parliament consisting of 34% females, 38% female ministers, 42% female state ministers and 40% of the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries being women, this offers hope for women’s interests to be advanced in the current presidential term. H.

The 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, article 32 clearly stipulates that woman have the right to affirmative action for the purpose of redressing the imbalances created by history, tradition or custom. In article 33, the supreme law of the land highlights that the State shall ensure gender balance and fair representation of marginalized groups on all constitutional and other bodies. (National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, VI). By having a fair representation of women Permanent Secretaries, Uganda is making strides towards the fulfilment of the Maputo Protocol article 9 which is vocal on ensuring increased and effective representation and participation of women at all levels of decision-making. Additionally, this aligns well with Uganda’s commitment to the 30% minimum representation of women in top leadership as per the Beijing Platform of Action of having sustained laws on affirmative action for women in national politics, and deliberate efforts to promote women’s participation in Parliamentary business.

Over the years, the Uganda government has made positive strides in appointing women in top leadership and technical positions, although lack of sufficient data makes it hard to predict whether women’s overall situation has improved. Numerically, the proportion of women in top leadership positions has been improving over time. From the appointment of Joyce Mpanga in 1987 as the Minister for Women and Development to having two women ministers and three deputy cabinet ministers in 1989, women leaders continuously advocated for the government's intention to raise women's wages, increase women's credit, employment opportunities, and improve the lives of women.

Significantly, women’s appointments into Permanent Secretary roles over the last 2 regimes has consistently improved compared to the previous trends. With a 40% consistency in women appointments 2016-2020 and 2021-2026 this enhances women's voice, credibility, capacity to influence key decisions and also play an oversight role. To date, having 40% female permanent secretaries exhibits sensitivity to gender imbalance and a desire to address disparities in laws and policies; access to Health, and education. This is a golden opportunity for gender mainstreaming in government programs and policies including gender responsive public service delivery.

Whereas there is an increase in trend, women in leadership positions are still challenged by perceptions about their abilities to deliver as leaders. Also, the sexism attached to women in leadership obscures them from contributing to debatable policy making processes, hence diverting them from their agenda. These continuous negative perceptions targeted at women in leadership affects their capacity to access positions of influence.

According to a Country Analysis: Leadership in Advancing Women’s Rights in Public Decision-Making Processes in Uganda, these and more lead to women’s failure to conceptualize issues, leading to their inability to make linkages of women’s rights equality and equity with broader issues resulting into a failure to identify entry points and frameworks to work with. Significantly, limited efforts have also been paid to institutional machineries that can support gender mainstreaming in policies, programs and service delivery for the betterment of women. The Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development, which is a national gender machinery still has inadequate technical and financial resources to address the enormous tasks in its mandate. Amongst other limitations are patriarchy, which is rooted in all leadership structures despite progressive laws; the continuous monetization of politics, that is, presidential candidate shs.20, 000,000, MPs Shs.3,000,000, Local Council IV Shs.200,000 local councils Shs.50,000 which makes it difficult for women to vie for direct seats to pave way for their fate in leadership. Cultural norms and practices that continue to keep women in the domestic arenas coupled with the burden on unpaid care work still play a critical role in keeping women on the sidelines of political leadership.

Having more women as permanent secretaries presents a grand opportunity for enhancing gender responsive public service delivery. There is therefore need to refocus on; strengthening institutional mechanisms to deliver gender equality in public administration and services delivery; strengthening the capacity of capable passionate women leaders and sensitizing decision makers; as well as identifying existing role model women leaders to empower and mentor women who are new entrants in leadership and decision-making spaces. The Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) has contributed to this agenda by recognizing, identifying and positioning women as credible leaders in elective and higher positions of power hence promoting women’s leadership and accountability to their rights. We continuously ensure that women meaningfully participate in decision making processes in order to center women’s needs in debates, policies, laws and budgets.

Peace Namayanja is the Program Manager, Women and Leadership Program at FOWODE

Newly Elected Women MPs Tipped On How To Be Effective Legislators

“Power is never given on a silver platter, power is fought for and captured. As women leaders, be ready to fight for and claim your space in the corridors of power”. These remarks were made by Solome Nakawesi, an international consultant who was the lead facilitator for FOWODE’s Effective Legislative Engagement training of newly elected women Members of Parliament.

Uganda has seen an increase in the participation of women in national politics. For instance, currently, women hold  43% of the cabinet positions compared 28% in 2011. However, this increase has not been translated to an improvement in service delivery and gender responsive planning and budgeting. This has been attributed to a number of reasons such as the uneven field where women are more at a disadvantage financially, they are sexually harassed and often times bullied into ‘second-class’ seats.

As an organization invested in leadership building for women, FOWODE is contributing towards changing this narrative by ensuring that the women leaders sent to Parliament are equipped with skills to effectively legislate and utilize their position of power to influence gender responsive policy making and budgeting.

On Friday 15th October, FOWODE rolled out its first cohort of Effective Legislative Engagement. The 3-day training was organized in partnership with UNNGOFF and with support from USAID. It was held at Lake Victoria Hotel in Entebbe.

During the 3-day residential training the leaders were equipped with all round skills. Discussed topics included Journey of Finding Oneself, Gender and Disrupting Power, Transformative Feminist Leadership, Effective Legislation and Autonomy and Agency financial management.

Leonard Okello, the CEO Uhuru Institute, informed the Parliamentarians that “Parliament is a place with bullies, so as a woman leader you have to be very intentional.” He added, “When women lead effectively, we will see a change in the prioritization of issues of women”

Monica Amoding, a former Member of Parliament, cautioned the newly elected Parliamentarians to watch their finances. She stressed the need for them to start saving money for their next campaigns, while at the same time saving for their time post Parliament.

Other facilitators such as Joan Mugenzi, a life coach highlighted the importance of self-discovery. She urged them to understand their personalities to be effective legislators. Nakawesi added; “Any leader who is not aware of themselves can’t be an effective leader.”

Perry Aritua, the executive director for Women Democracy Network, urged the women Parliamentarians to take advantage of the women’s movement. She noted that it was important for them to align themselves with knowledgeable people, such that when they appear before the floor of Parliament or in the media they are armed with facts. Joyce Bagala, woman Member of Parliament Mityana, advised that women leaders stop shying away from media appearances.

The women Parliamentarians also shared about different strategies that they use to ensure that services are reaching their constituents without necessarily picking money from their pockets. For instance, Kasanda woman Member of Parliament- Flavia Nabagabe tipped her colleagues on the use of corporate companies to donate basic goods such as soap to constituencies. She shared about an experience where the constituents kept demanding for one of their oldest schools to be repainted. “I wrote a proposal to a painting company requesting them to paint the school. Luckily, the proposal was approved and the school was repainted,” she narrated, adding that acts such as these go along way in ensuring that constituents feel the MP’s presence.

Another Member noted that her strategy is to find out when National Medical Stores will be delivering drugs in her constituency. Once she finds this information out, she then goes on radio stations and starts announcing the availability of drugs. And this has worked wonders for her in her constituency.

 

Celebrating Young Women In Leadership.

FOWODE would like to recognise two young women in leadership this week.

Ruth Kitamirike - Makerere University Guild Representative Council (GRC).

Big congratulations to our 2020 camp alumna, Ms. Ruth Kitamirike who  was recently voted to the Makerere University Guild Representative Council (GRC) to represent the School of Law!

Ruth Kitamirike, was part of our transformative leadership training in 2020. FOWODE rejoices in every young woman who dares to take up the leadership mantle. In this case, we are proud and honored to have contributed to Kitamirike’s leadership journey and look forward to a term of transformative leadership.

 

 

 

  Shamim Nambassa – Mak Guild President Elect.

A big congratulations to Shamim Nambassa the Guild President Elect of Makerere University.

Forum for Women in Democracy congratulates you. Your win is a win for all women.