Friday, April 11, 2014


According to men and women of Kisoro district, there have been reduced cases of sexualized violence against girls and women. This advancement was realized during the extensive interaction/monitoring visit with project beneficiaries and stakeholders in the four rural sub counties of Busanza, Kirundo, Nyarusiza and Nyakabanda. This was part of activities under the ACFODE project titled; “Prevention and handling of cases of sexual violence against girls and women in the rural areas of Kisoro district and enforcement of women’s rights at national level in Uganda” that is being implemented in partnership with German NGO EIRENE with support from the German government.

CODERASH members pose for the camera after a follow-up meeting in Nyarusiza sub county.

The exercise involved the EIRENE project officer Great lakes region/Africa Mr. Hauke Steg, whose task was to meet the project team, monitor the progress and achievements and together identify new actions for successful implementation of the project. Among the activities conducted were; sharing of experiences, challenges and success stories, discussing way forward and drawing work plans, presentations of drama, poems and songs by pupils, and an exhibition event themed “know your role in the fight against gender based violence,” including pro-bono services such as counseling, reporting of cases, and HIV testing.

Kabindi P/S entertaining guests at the exhibition event 
The three year project is aimed at socially and culturally empowering women and girls in Kisoro district to enforce their rights and suffer less from sexual violence. The project is implemented through a community and school based approach local and national level advocacy work, monthly talk shows, and referral and psycho-social counselling services for GBV survivors. 

Exhibition inspection at the Mayor's garden in Kisoro District.

ACFODE trained social actors of the four rural sub counties on the topics regarding sexualized violence i.e. definition, detecting and handling of sexual violence cases, prevention and effective mobilization, documentation and reporting. The trained community facilitators formed committees at parish level titled CODERASH (Combating all forms of Rape, Defilement, and Sexual Harassment).

Stakeholders noted that there have been reduced cases of sexual violence in their areas. “Before the project’s inception, we had alarming SGBV cases in Nyarusiza Sub County and the situation has since improved as a result,” testified the Nyarusiza CDO Ms Annet Tumwebaze. “Unlike before, I rarely receive cases of sexual violence in my area.” she added. Mr. Twambaze Justus, a Parish Chief in the same sub county said that during his monitoring visits in the different parish gatherings e.g. Bataka kweterana, residents rarely report or raise sexual violence cases. Senior teachers and head teachers who have been involved in the project recognized a reduction in sexual violence cases and early pregnancies in their schools. Pupils, parents and teachers have been sensitized by their peers resulting in openness and willingness to report cases and to say no to early/unlawful sexual activities. Only the OC Kisoro Police Station still receives about the same number of sexual violence cases.

Despite the successes registered, the district is still grappling with land issues such as land ownership, inheritance and occupancy, and consent over buying and selling land which fuel sexualized gender based violence at house hold and community level. Community facilitators were therefore equipped with basic information on land rights in Uganda. In addition, stakeholders pledged to involve more men in the struggle and strategized on how to best address the project deterring issues to realize a sexual violence free society for gender equality.

Friday, April 4, 2014


In a bid to improve women leaders’ effectiveness in leadership and decision making processes, and address social-cultural and political factors which hinder participation of women in leadership, ACFODE in partnership with the Netherlands government and DIAKONIA launched women leadership advisory desks for women leaders and those aspiring for leadership in politics and public administration in the districts of Namutumba, Dokolo and Pader.

There has been an increase in the number of women participating in politics and public administration at both local and national level as a result of Uganda ratifying and implementing a number of international and national laws such as the 1995 constitution, the National gender policy and CEDAW amongst others. However, the number has not exceeded much the reserved seats for women allocated under the affirmative action slot. Additionally, the increase in numbers of women in these political spaces has equally not measured to effectiveness and influence in decision making processes and structures. In public administration the ratio of women to men in the public sphere does not reflect the population segment of 50.9% women (UBOS, 2012).

During the events held at the district head quarters, Ms. Yossa Daisy the project officer noted that women aspiring for leadership and those currently in leadership continue to face constraints such as literacy levels, social bias, low levels of education, lack of mentors, lack of reference materials limited access to information and exposure.discrimination based on sex, patriarchy within political parties and society, violence, inferiority complexes, challenges balancing public and domestic roles.

Against this back drop, the desks are aimed at improving the effectiveness of women leaders in leadership and decision making processes, increasing the numbers of women in direct elective positions in parliament, local councils, at district and sub county levels and addressing social-cultural and political factors which hinder participation of women in decision making and electoral processes. The desks are located at the project operational ACFODE field offices and will be a platform for mentoring and coaching women leaders and access to relevant information.

Ms Hilda Akabwai an ACFODE board member encouraged women to effectively utilise this opportunity to make an impact in their districts. “Most times women miss out on government resources because they are not aware of their rights but with this project, the situation is bound to change,” said the Namutumba CAO Mr. Magili Joseph. Participants were thrilled about the desks and the services to be rendered.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The State of Democratic Governance and Accountability at the Local Government Level in Uganda

The Country Director of KAS, Ms. Angelika Klein and ACFODE Director Ms. Regina Bafaki launch the report with representatives from civil society and government 

On 19th September 2013, Action For Development (ACFODE) and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) launched the final report on the state of democratic governance and accountability at local government level in Uganda. The report was the final product of the project: "Action for Strengthening Good Governance and Accountability" implemented with support from the European Union under the Democratic Governance and Accountability Programme. 

It is an outcome of an assessment conducted in 11 districts in Uganda namely: Kiboga and Masaka in the central region, Jinja, Palisa, and Soroti in the eastern region, Arua, Lira, and Pader in the northern region, and Kabale, Kisoro, and Mbarara in the western region. The assessment tool was designed to monitor and measure the state of governance in the selected districts and inform major stakeholders about key trends and needed interventions.

The assessment established a general improvement of democratic trends in the districts characterized by general elections that enlist high levels of citizen participation, the presence of frameworks for citizen engagement in the decision making including in the district planning processes, as well as increasing opportunities for participation of women and young adults in decision making. The assessment however highlighted a number of issues that require urgent improvement including;

• Limited awareness of local citizens about their power and the extent of this power in the democratic system. This restricts their ability to exercise their right to promote and demand for democratic practice and accountability. Citizens are not fully confident to demand accountability from their leaders. 

• The disconnection between elected leaders and citizens, which facilitates an atmosphere of limited consultation and feedback between the electorate and their democratic representatives. 

• Limited transparency in decision making, especially regarding the allocation of limited resources within the districts. 

• Failure to hold elections for lower local councils, which has promoted illegitimacy and ineffectiveness, thereby curtailing a key channel to grassroots democratic participation. 

• Unfair politics, which is especially disadvantageous to the political opposition as their activities at the grassroots are limited by local authorities. 

• Limited levels of identification with and ownership of public affairs and resources, among citizens. Also, a culture of tolerance for corruption among all stakeholders, including citizens. 

• Limited channels for citizens to access information 

ACFODE Executive Director, Ms. Regina Bafaki, making remarks after the launch of the report

The key recommendations from the assessment were:

• Civic education can no longer continue to be a sporadic endeavor usually targeted around election times. The several calls that have been made for continuous civic education should be heeded. This intervention needs to be targeted towards elected leaders in as much the same way as it will address local citizens. While civil society organizations can continue to play a strong role in this regard, it is important that the Uganda Human Rights Commission in fulfillment of its constitutional mandate takes lead as the front runner in carrying out civic education.

• The long-existing demand for elections at lower local councils needs to be met. Since their elections have not been conducted for the last two electoral cycles, the existing office bearers are generally illegitimate and less effective. However, the units avail the state with governance platforms close to regular citizens, thus providing a key avenue for democratic participation. 

• Local authorities in the districts, sub counties and villages need to demonstrate a better appreciation of the pluralistic political system, which currently governs Uganda. In particular they need to desist from unnecessary limitations on the free operation of political parties and other legal associations that express interest in engaging in public discourse on political topics. Public institutions cannot act partisan in a multiparty setting.

• The close interconnection between the state and politics needs to be addressed. Within the districts there remain several public officers who act as if they represent the ruling party. Their actions have been reported to curtail free political competition.

• Budget limitations withstanding, elected leaders in the districts need to come up with innovative ways to improve contacts with citizens. The idea of a public accountability day at district and other lower levels presents some of the initiatives that can be considered. This initiative has already been taken up in Kiboga district.

• There is need for strong public education to promote zero tolerance for corruption. Citizens also need to identify more with public affairs and hold ownership of public resources.

• There is also need to improve and sensitize citizens about existing channels for accessing information from local governance units.

Story credit:

Photo credit: Esther Namitala, KAS

Monday, September 9, 2013

ACFODE Strengthens Women Administrators Forums in Namutumba, Dokolo and Padere Districts

The newly elected Executive Committee for the Pader District Women Administrators Forum

From the 2nd to 7th of September 2013, ACFODE with support from Diakonia and the Netherlands government carried out workshops aimed at building the capacity of female public administrators in Pader, Dokolo and Namutumba districts to harness their individual and collective potential for greater influence in their districts of leadership. The workshops enabled ACFODE to follow up on the commitments made by the female administrators during dialogues held in September 2012 in the targeted districts. Specifically, commitments were made to form and enforce three forums for women in public administration, that is, the Pader District Women Administrators Forum, Dokolo District Women Administrator's Forum and the Namutumba District Women Administrators Forum.

In addition, the participants were trained on gender sensitive planning, coalition building and goal setting. A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis of the district forums exposed a number of common weaknesses such as; low attendance to forum meetings due to great distance between members sub counties of operation, poor coordination of the forums due to a shaky Executive Structure, and low self esteem among several members. 

As a result, the forums were facilitated in a session on goal, vision, mission and objective setting. This was followed by re- elections of the existing Executive Committees, in order to ensure the existence of leaders who are committed to the attainment of the forum vision.

Despite the apparent challenges however, the workshop participants were able to report significant achievements both as individuals and as district forums. Some of these include;


My name is Alice and I am a beneficiary of the first training for female public administrators organized by ACFODE in 2012. Before the training, I had submitted to the District Service Commission (DSC) a request for the promotion of two female staff, that is, Lamaci Christine an Accounts Assistant and Amony Christine Ruth a Health Inspector. The person working as the Secretary, DSC at the time refused to work on the two files simply because he had a negative attitude towards female employees. All my efforts to follow up the matter were fruitless.

When ACFODE brought a workshop for women administrators in 2012, they trained us on the importance of our voices in the society and the power of a good legacy as a woman administrator. I regained confidence and determination to return to the DSC. I was relieved to find a new Secretary in place, and I resubmitted my request after explaining the importance of promoting the two female employees.

As a result of my efforts, Lamaci Christine was promoted to senior accounts assistant. Although Ruth Christine Amony's promotion hasn't been realized yet, I am confident that it is currently being processed.


I attended the ACFODE training in September 2012 and I was able to learn a number of things. I learned that it is important to leave a good legacy behind as a leader and that an effective leader makes her voice heard on issues of importance. I realized that in my school, girls were afraid to take up leadership positions. Therefore, in October 2012 I instituted empowerment sessions for girls. As a result, the girls stood for leadership positions in 2013 and as I speak, the overall Head Prefect at Iguli Primary school is a girl, Annet Akello, while the Head of English is also a girl, Flavia Egol. I am determined to empower these girls; recently a few months ago I was called away from school for a day and I appointed Annet Akello as AGG Head Teacher, although she was afraid of the responsibility. When I returned, the school was in order and everyone including teachers were able to give her respect because of her maturity in leadership. I was impressed and glad that her leadership skills are being developed.

I also encourage my female teaching staff regularly to develop their potential, and even apply for positions of leadership whenever an opportunity arises. This is because most of them are shy and afraid of men. However, I am glad to report that the Dokolo district local government is set to advertise for head teacher positions in government schools in October, and my female teachers are eagerly looking forward to submitting their applications. I am glad that they are not shying away from great responsibility.

In addition, one of my female teachers, who was totally dependent on her husband for money, failed to take her children to school when he denied his responsibility. I encouraged her to take leadership of her home, and taught her how to budget her salary. She was soon able to open a simple lock-up next to her home where she sells bread that she bakes from home as well as some agricultural products including simsim, millet and maize from her garden. Her children are back in school and she is a stronger woman.


It was evening when my phone rang and I was informed that one of the members of the Dokolo District Women Administrators Forum, Ms Lydia Ogwal, had lost her husband. Thankfully, luck was on our side because the Forum committee meeting was scheduled for the next day. I used my office as the committee secretary to present to the meeting the need to offer emotional and financial support to the bereaved member. I further requested the committee to send representatives to the funeral.

To my satisfaction, the members gave financial assistance to the tune of 900,000/- and others ensured their physical presence at the burial. As a result of our concerted effort to attend the burial as a forum, we gained visibility from other districts that were represented. This experience taught us a great lesson; that the formation of a forum for women public administrators is a strong factor that unites us despite our diverse professions. Therefore, we are determined to maintain its existence.


After the ACFODE training in September 2012, I learned that as a leader, it is important to leave a good legacy. Therefore, in July 2013 I gathered all 6 female teachers from my school and formed a female teachers association. The association exists to promote the economic development of its members. Every month members contribute 30,000/- each to a construction fund and the lump sum is given to a chosen member to build her family home. So far, our group Treasurer has been able to Plaster the walls of her house, as a result of this fund.

Our association also collects an extra 3,000/-, from members on a weekly basis as part of a fund to purchase agricultural products. At the end of the month, we divide the products amongst ourselves and trade them for regular income. I am grateful to ACFODE for teaching me such relevant leadership skills, which are of benefit not only to me, but people around me.


The Namutumba District Technical Planning Committee had only one woman representative, before the ACFODE training in September 2012. After learning about the need for greater representation of women public administrators in decision making positions, we as the Namutumba District Women Administrators Forum encouraged more women to apply for positions, when vacancies became available. As a result, 3 more members of the forum applied and were accepted into the district planning committee.

In addition, due to the increased representation of the forum on the committee, we have been able to advocate for women to be given special consideration for promotions. Some members of the forum have been promoted at the District due to this effort, they include;

Ms. Rose Kagere- Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (ACAO).

Ms. Esther Nandase- Senior Probation Officer.

Zainabu Kagoya- Senior Personnel Officer



Log on to our website to read more about ACFODE's work. Also like us on Facebook to view pictorials and get instant updates on ACFODE events regularly

Follow us on Twitter: @acfode.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

ACFODE Convenes Women Politicians in a National Experience Sharing Dialogue on Affirmative Action

ACFODE, under the project “Empowered to Act: Enhancing Women and Youth Effective Participation in Politics and Decision Making” partnered with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) to conduct a one-day national Experience Sharing Dialogue for female leaders under the theme: “Is the time up for affirmative action for Ugandan women in politics?” (Reflecting and Strategizing for 2016) on 25th July 2013. The dialogue brought together 70 female councilors from Apac, Pader, Oyam, Lira, Pallisa, Kampala, Rukungiri, Kisoro, Kiboga and Kole, representatives from the academia, civil society, ACFODE members and relevant government ministries to reflect on affirmative action in Uganda, share experiences and develop strategies for enhancing women’s effective participation in the 2016 elections. 

The Woman MP for Apac district Hon. Ajok Lucy contributing 
to a discussion during the dialogue

Through interactive sessions covering public perceptions of affirmative action and the effective utilization of affirmative action, the dialogue provided a platform for women politicians to celebrate the positive impact of affirmative action in Uganda's politics. In a session facilitated by Hon. Emma Boona, the woman MP for Mbarara, the officials recognized the key role of affirmative action in creating a conducive environment for the enactment of several gender sensitive laws such as the Domestic violence Act, Trafficking in Person’s Act and Female Genital Mutilation Act. They also credited the increased advocacy for funding to pertinent sectors such as the health sector to the increased number of female politicians in power as a result of affirmative action. 

However, a number of challenges were noted in the process of implementing affirmative action, which were cited as critical matters of engagement with relevant stakeholders in order to map a way forward. Of note was the fact that despite possessing the minimum requirements for entry into parliament, many women politicians lack essential skills in effective lobbying and advocacy and are therefore largely unable to yield positive results after debating on pertinent women’s issues. In addition, the existing patriarchal societal values exhibited in parliament, which position women beneath men have slowed down the effectiveness of the women leaders' mandate.

As a result of elaborate discussions on the subject, the women leaders were able to utilize the dialogue space as an avenue to strategize on the next step for women politicians in preparation for the elections in 2016. One of the key principles identified was unity of women in leadership behind a common goal, an ideal which was supported as a major factor in empowering women leaders at both local and national levels to develop a strong, uncontestable agenda to front for the women's movement in the coming years. The Leaders also agreed to prioritize capacity enhancement for women in leadership in crucial areas such as advocacy, lobby, public speaking and research skills, among other skills.

ACFODE therefore calls upon all Ugandan citizens to support women in political leadership. We call upon all male members of parliament to support the advancement of and the debate of critical issues affecting women. We also call upon religious and cultural leaders to institute better mechanisms for promoting the dignity of women. We also call on Civil Society Organizations to build the capacities of women MPs and young aspiring women leaders in areas of lobbying, and research in order to strengthen their effectiveness. We call on all Ugandan citizens to support women in leadership.

Compiled by

Nancy Nandudu

Public Relations and Communications Department

Action For Development