Draft Communiqué Women in Politics Conference – July 22-23, 2014

We, the participants gathered in Kampala, Uganda on the occasion of the National Women in Politics Conference held on the 22-23rd July 2014, organized by the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE);

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Having come together in the spirit of sisterhood and guided by our common agenda of promoting women in politics and leadership as a fundamental non- negotiable right;
Affirming that democracy without women’s equal participation is flawed and observing that multiple challenges continue to limit women’s equal participation in leadership including institutional bias; stereotyping; historical imbalances, poor political party internal democracy; weak electoral laws; gender based violence targeting women; high poverty levels; lack of sufficient resources to run successful political campaigns;

Recognising that politics and political campaigns in Uganda continue to be highly monetized, leading to high levels of corruption and unethical practices, and additionally serving as a barrier to women’s participation;10557704_508048622658534_8434097677516446441_o

Appreciating the trends set by the AU on Gender Parity a standard to which Uganda should aspire and acknowledging the commendable steps measures and actions at national and local level by the Government of Uganda; Civil Society Organizations; Development Partners; Political Parties and Citizens to promote women in politics and leadership;

Commending women leaders and politicians past and present for their courage, and tenacity and for daring to beat the path so that their daughters will see a better day;

Noting the important role that government, political parties, private sector and civil society can play in the realization of the goal of achieving gender equality in decision-making positions;

Further recognizing that women play a unique role in decision making and that their participation will make a qualitative difference to governance in our countries;

Aware that despite the progress made to date, major structural and systemic challenges still remain for women’s full effective participation in multiparty politics and public office in all spheres economic, social, legal and cultural.

Recognising that we each have a role to play within our respective roles and mandates, we as different actors within the Women’s movement, therefore commit to a core set of principles and operational actions that will strengthen our collective efforts to promote women’s equitable participation in decision making.

Women in Politics commit to:
1. Sensitizing women in leadership about the Women’s Agenda.

2. Undertaking various actions aimed at supporting and enhancing women’s leadership and effective participation.

3. Creating a women’s lobby group to advocate and push for women’s representation and particularly with regards to the institution of affirmative action for both political and public office.

4. Maintain and strengthen linkages with the broader Women’s Movement in order to collectively push for the Women’s agenda.

Women in Public Service commit to:

1. Creating mechanisms through which younger and upcoming female leaders can benefit from leadership training, capacity building and mentorship to increase their ability to access leadership positions and engage effectively.

2. Advocating for the institution of gender mainstreaming practices in all institutions.

3. Developing an issues paper on the effects of the GMO on women.

Women in the Media commit to:

1. Decampaign the negative portrayal and depiction of women leaders in the media

2. Contributing to the dismantling of negative social norms and practices that demean through sensitization of the public

3. Ensuring equal and fair coverage on gender issues and women in politics

4. Publicising the Women’s Agenda.

The Young Women commit to:

• Encouraging the formation of economic co-operatives to empower young women economically as a basis for sustainable political engagement as well as ensuring young women have enough resources to finance their participation
• Putting in place programmes that encourage a transition of women from the private space to the public sphere and eventually political leadership
• Creating fora for intergenerational learning and exchanges
• Strengthening publicity on the women’s agenda through social media so that society can learn and engage more with the different issues raised
• Enabling the participation of Young Women in election processes
Women in Civil Society commit to:

1. Maintaining advocacy efforts against laws and policies that disempower and disenfranchise women.

2. Review the Women’s agenda and building synergies around its implementation.

3. Conduct continuous non-partisan civic education targeting civic women groups from the village to national level on civic rights and responsibilities.

Women in Cultural Institutions commit to:
1. Identifying potential women leaders and lobbying for their inclusion in leadership positions in cultural institutions
2. Documenting and disseminating customary practices that advance and protect the rights of women.
3. Undertaking research and campaign around democratizing the family unit as the basic unit of society

Women in the Private Sector commit to:
1. Identifying institutions that support women in business/ private sector so that we can promote women’s economic empowerment through business skills training and enterprise development.
2. Create a forum for Women in the Private sector that brings together women in the private sector and advocates for their representation and leadership in private sector institutions.
3. Engage Parliamentarians and Institutions on policy issues that promote women’s economic empowerment.

We also call upon the Government of the Republic of Uganda to promote women’s leadership and political participation by:

1. Aligning legal/policy and institutional mechanisms with international and regional principles and standards of democracy, in particular those supporting gender parity (50:50) in all positions of leadership like: CEDAW: Beijing Platform for Action; AU Charter; African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (The Women’s Protocol / Maputo Protocol);
2. Ensuring that electoral processes are reformed with a view to levelling the playing field for women to effectively participate in all stages of the electoral cycle, including through affirmative action initiatives within the law and targeting both elective and appointive positions;
3. Creating and ensure a conducive political environment at national and local levels for both men and women’s participation in the democratic processes by promoting a culture of peace; tolerance, co-existence and democracy, and securing a level playing field that is free from any form of discrimination, threats, violence, fear and intimidation;
4. Apprehend, adjudicate and subject all perpetrators of politically related violence to appropriate punishment according to the law, including those engaged in violence instigated by state or private security agents against political opponents;
5. Taking corrective measures to discourage the practice of corruption and monetization of politics that discourage free competition and election of representatives on the basis of merit
6. Taking corrective measures and affirmative action to address the gaps and obstacles that hinder women’s equal and full participation in political leadership and other leadership positions in the public sector focusing attention to the need to overcome social norms, prejudices; stereotypes and practices that negatively portray women in political leadership;
7. Conducting continuous civic education that consolidates the knowledge and appreciation of democracy, good governance, multiparty politics and political awareness

Call for Applications: The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme 2014

Are you making a difference in your community?

10507854_617786311652618_1927160824_nApply for the Queen’s Young Leaders Pogramme. Over the next five years,this life changing Programme has been established by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and runs in partnership with Comic Relief and the Royal Commonwealth Society in honour of The Queen’s 60-year contribution to the Commonwealth.

The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme will support thousands of young people (18-29) to make their visions of a better society a reality. Comprising two parts, it will create a lasting legacy for the Queen through:

  • An Awards scheme to recognise the achievements of 240 inspirational young people and provide support enabling them to take up leadership roles and inspire future leaders
  • Grants to support organisations in selected countries across the Commonwealth that work with young people to transform their lives

Young people from all across the Commonwealth can apply or be nominated to win an award and become a Queen’s Young Leader.

 

Eligibility

Young people who have already achieved something extraordinary for themselves and others are also taking part in the event

Each application/nomination must meet the following criteria:

  1. Applicants/nominees need to have proven experience of working to improve their communities locally, regionally or at a national level and be able to show evidence of their achievements.
  2. Applicants/nominees must be aged between 18 and 29 for the year of the award and be citizens of a Commonwealth country.
  3. Applicants/nominees need to demonstrate evidence of their leadership qualities.
  4. Priority will be given to individuals who have overcome challenges to achieve their goals.
  5. All applicants/nominees need to be supported by a suitable referee. All applications/nominations will be considered based on the young person’s achievements to date as well as their potential and their future ambition

Award details

Each year from 2014 to 2018, 60 inspirational young people will be selected to receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award and become ‘Queen’s Young Leaders’ – one for every year that The Queen had served as Head of the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee. At least one young person from every Commonwealth country will receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award.

Visit Queen Young Leaders for more information. #TheSearchIsOn http://www.queensyoungleaders.com/

REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR WOMEN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATORS HELD IN MBALE

10519448_698425140193262_5543020869835006036_oOn Tuesday 8th July, 2014 business at Mbale resort Hotel almost came to a hold as ACFODE a Women’s Rights organization, organized the Regional conference for women’s administrators. Held under the theme: “Women Breaking through and soaring the heights”, the convention attracted a total of over 200 women leaders in public administration positions including directors, heads of departments, head teachers, Women Members of Parliament and Gender focal persons from key line ministries and district leaders among others who all converged at Mbale Resort Hotel to discuss pertinent issues that impede women’s meaningful participation in public administration spaces. The conference also aimed at offering a dais to build synergies among women leaders and get inspired to play an active and visible role in advocacy, community transformation and programme implementation within their localities.

10517659_698040836898359_3859933999684768408_oAt the conference women public administrators from the Eastern Uganda districts of Dokoro, Pader, Namutumba and Mbale among other neighboring districts shared experiences they go through in their execution of work in a predominantly male sector. Women leaders noted the luck of leadership, legislative and advocacy skills as some of the inadequacies they have which impede their active involvement and meaningful contribution in public administration spaces. Some confessed to have been marginalized in all community driven development processes, oppressed and discriminated against compared to their male counterparts whilst Sexual exploitation of women during recruitment is glaring in most of the communities, one participant noted. Continue reading

ACFODE TO HOLD A REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR WOMEN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATORS

Although the number of women in leadership positions continues to burgeon as a result of gender responsive laws and policies the country has enacted, women in Uganda continue to be marginalized in both domestic and public level decision-making processes. Current statistics on female employment rates in the public sectors for instance do clearly indicate how women are concentrated at the lowest labor hierarchy as secretaries, nurses and class room teachers particularly for lower classes. Whist the legal, policy and administrative frameworks for women’s public participation exist in the country today, the ratio of women to men in senior and top level managerial positions is glaring and does not reflect the population vein of 51% women. This is largely influenced by existing governance structures with quasi leaders in concrete embodiments of political influence; a highly patriarchal social setting which makes it difficult to influence public policy especially from a gender perspective by women legislators today. The patriarchal settings of most institutions in the country do not view women as capable leaders but rather as “kitchen” attendants.

10299968_669860493049727_6088699586053249635_nAs a result of this, many women especially those in public administration sectors have continued to face enormous challenges but not limited to gender stereotyping, women’s own low self esteem, lack of mentors from whom to learn and get inspired, limited negotiation, lobbying and advocacy skills and public speaking as well as insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of the women’s agenda. All these challenges and constraints greatly impede the effective performance of women in administration leaving many to lag behind in comparison to their male counterparts and while as many join politics and other leadership circles, they luck the necessary skills and training resulting in their low efficiency in leadership spheres. Continue reading

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS for 2014 Leadership Academy

 UYONET is a regional focused leading umbrella Youth CSO Network with over 40 member organizations that collectively works to mainstream young peoples’ engagement in development and governance processes in East Africa and beyond. Since inception, UYONET has been positioning the youth to play a leading role in nation building by enhancing their visibility in policy and governance processes across East Africa and providing the necessary infrastructure for information sharing and networking through youth empowerment on critical issues, capacity building, lobby and advocacy, publicity and media.

UYONET with support from partners have now established the Leadership Academy and invites applications from young Ugandans who are interested in leadership. The leadership academy is an initiative for a multi-faceted and generational change leadership training and mentoring programme intended to promote more pluralistic, representative and accountable Imagegovernance in Uganda. The leadership Academy is a non academic but certified programme with a wide range of leadership/political training programmes to young people in their diversities.

The Academy begins in 2014 and will annually target 120 current and prospective young leaders over the next three years for non academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring and field based engagements to enable put new skills to practical use in both public and private institutions including local governments, parliament, political parties, and civil society among others.

For details about the academy and application guidelines find enclosed the academy concept note, flyer and application form to inform your action: Download application from here: Academy Brochure Application form

 Best of luck

Feminists Call for Action on the Suspension of Pregnant University Students

A statement from the Uganda Feminist Forum (UFF)

We, the feminists in Uganda strongly protest and condemn in the strongest possible terms the suspension of 26 female students from Uganda Christian University’s Kabale affiliate college for conceiving before marriage. It is retrogressive and discriminatory in an institution of higher learning that is supposed to be nurturing, mentoring and imparting knowledge and information on equal access and rights observation. Punishing females only for being pregnant without putting punitive mechanisms on male students/partners involved is discriminatory and unworthy of a University.

Photo Credit Edward Echalu for UNFPA

Photo Credit Edward Echalu for UNFPA

We need our universities to propel us forward and not to perpetuate attitudes and practices that violate women’s rights and undermine efforts aimed at achieving gender equality and social justice for all in Uganda. This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with patriarchal control of women! It is astonishing that this kind of moral surveillance on adult women is happening in the year 2014 after the milestones we celebrate of achieving equality of education opportunities for all Ugandans, men and women, boys and girls.  Never before has the statement that women’s rights are being rolled back been clearer than it has in the last 12 months in Uganda!! Continue reading

Kaviri Ali uses mobile technologies to profile program impact

Kaviri Ali uses a mobile phone to produce a documentary highlighting how Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) signature economic program Reach Up impacted his community of deployment in Mukono. The ReachUp! Program integrates technology, business, life skills, and micro-enterprise development. Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) is a leading international social enterprise headquartered in Canada with local operations in seven countries around the globe, including Uganda.

Harnessing the power of youth, DOT Uganda transforms young people (DOT Interns) into leaders of change as they facilitate technology, business, and entrepreneurial learning experiences to people in their own communities.

DOT’s unique youth-led programs empower people living in communities that are developing, in transition, or under stress with the confidence to use technology for entrepreneurial, community, educational, and personal development. Details at:http://uganda.dotrust.org/about