Monday, May 9, 2011

Uganda Women's Civil Society Organisations stage a peaceful demostration

Today the 9th of May 2011, Women in Civil Society Uganda of which ACFODE is part of staged a march for justice and peace. This convened in cognizance of the unfolding and disturbing events resulting from the State and its law enforcement agencies’ response to citizen’s demands for government action to address the escalating food and fuel prices, high cost of living and growing poverty.

While the State has a duty of ensuring law and order, it’s also obliged to respect, promote, protect and fulfill the rights of its citizens as enshrined in the 1995 Constitution and other regional and international treaties to which Uganda is a signatory. In attempting to fulfill its obligations in the last few weeks, the state has instead used excessive force resulting in the infringement of some of the fundamental rights enshrined in Chapter 4 of the Constitution including the right to life, the freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, right to access prompt, fair and timely justice and freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment.

It’s against this background that the Women in Civil Society convened to register their deep concern and condemnation on the use of excessive force and subsequent escalating violence and to call upon the state to take critical measures to address the key issues/ concerns raised by the public.

They also added their voice to other sections of Uganda’s population in condemning the brutality and highhandedness exhibited by security agencies as the sought to quell demonstrations under the Walk to Work campaign. Placards with advocacy messages like ‘Respect Women’s bodies during arrest, For a country with out food, bullets can’t be bread, Women of Uganda want peace, Fuel prices must go’ down amongst others were held. Other women carried empty saucepans depicting the lack of food to cook/eat in their homes.

They called upon the State and its agencies to exercise restraint in fulfilling its duties and to desist from the use of live ammunition, indiscriminate physical assaults on civilians and the use of tear gas to quell demonstrations. This was during a press briefing that commenced after the March.

The government was also called upon to avert the national crisis by urgently addressing the social and economic issues raised by the public. Proactive policy measures to address the issues of food security, unemployment, health and education were demanded for.

A formal appeal to the Government and to the international community through the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders (UNSR) MS. Margaret Sekajja requesting for thorough, prompt and impartial investigations into human rights violation committed to different parties was submitted. Also present during this was the UN’s Country Representative Ms. Bridget. Both promised to take immediate actions raised and encouraged all present for continued affirmative actions like these until change was realized in the country.

Submitted By Sandra Nassali

Public Relations & Communications Officer

Action For Development

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Fundraising/ Resource Mobilization Course – ACFODE staff Sandra Nassali and Rachael Mpiriirwe attended a resource mobilization course organized by DIAKONIA at Kingfisher Resort in Jinja from 21st – 25th March. Participates were equipped with skills/ knowledge about how to leverage an effective resource mobilization strategy in their organization.

NGO Forum Write-Shop: ACFODE participated in a Write-Shop organized by NGO Forum on the 29th of March. The Write-Shop meant to introduce participants to a comprehensive National NGO Online Directory that NGO Forum is embarking on to increase the visibility of Uganda’s NGOs at both local and international level.

Training Workshop on Access to Information in Uganda: This was organized by Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) on April 19-20, 2011 at Fairway Hotel Kampala. Participating CSOs, of which ACFODE was part were introduced to the Access to Information Act 2005 and were equipped with skills and tools to make effective use of the law to purse development goals.

Evaluation of Candidates Training: Women in Democracy Group (WDG), a consortium of 4 CSOs of which ACFODE organized a meeting to evaluate prior activities that meant to enhance women’s participation in leadership and decision making. This meeting provided a platform for WDG to reflect on the election process, lessons learnt and to also devise new strategies for women to engage in post elections and governance of our country. It took place on 6th, April 2011 at Eureka Place Hotel Ntinda.

CCEDU Post Election Review: As a member of CCEDU, ACFODE participated in her post election review that took place on 6th, April 2011. Reflections on the coalition’s pre-election voter education project and possible post election engagements were discussed.

From the 28th – 29th of April 2011, WOUGNET carried out her Annual Members’ meeting at Kati Kati restaurant in Kampala. The meeting analyzed WOUGNET’s program implementation for the last 3 years. Also, an overall strategic direction for the period 2011 – 2013 was discussed. As a member organization, ACFODE participated.

Submitted By Sandra Nassali

Public Relations & Communications Officer

Action For Development

Data analysis for ‘Access to justice through the traditional mechanisms and formal justice system by women who experience violence in Uganda’ research

Access to justice through the traditional mechanisms and formal justice system by women who experience violence in Lira and Rukungiri districts is a research that has been carried out by ACFODE since 2010. This month, all collected data was submitted for analysis.

A three days meeting, from 18th to 20th April 2011 took place at ACFODE House in Bukoto to analyze the data, with Ms Lucy Mung’ala from Liverpool VCT Kenya helping out on the process.

A draft abstract of the research was developed and is yet to be submitted to the Sexual Violence Initiative Forum that will soon take place in Cape Town, South Africa.

Submitted By Sandra Nassali

Public Relations & Communications Officer

Action For Development

Reflection and sustainability meetings for CODERASH Committee members and teachers in Kisoro and Pallisa Districts

From the 6th – 7th and from 19th – 20th April 2011, ACFODE organized reflection and sustainability meetings for CODERASH committees and teachers in Kisoro and Pallisa districts. CODERASH, is combating defilement, rape and sexual harassment. The project aims at enabling women and girls to realize their potential by living a life free from sexualized violence.

Through it, women and girls are empowered to recognize that sexualized violence against them is a violation of their rights and are taught on how to demand for protection from the different duty bearers and to how to ensure that the perpetrators are dealt with as per the laws of Uganda.

The meetings drew participants from various civil society organizations, the government, CODERASH Community Facilitators and school teachers.

The core objectives of the meetings were to reflect on the activities implemented in the previous year 2010, assess progress of the project, highlighting gaps, challenges best practices and share planned activities for 2011. Strategies meant to ensure sustainability of the project gains after the conclusion of the project were also discussed.

Participants were also introduced to a new documentation (reporting format) by ACFODE.
They also appreciated the shared the outcomes of the CODERASH project as highlighted below:
 Children now report when they are sexually abused.
 Cases of school girl dropout have reduced.
 Girls are now aware of their rights because they can report cases of sexual harassment.
 Boys now fear to defile girls due to the massive sensitization done at schools.
 Positive behavior change has been achieved in children because they have gained self esteem; for instance girls don’t easily accept gifts from boys/men in exchange for sex.
 The gap between the school administration and pupils has reduced since pupils freely interact with their teachers.
 Anti-sexual violence clubs have been formed in schools
 The community awareness meetings conducted at sub-county, parish and village levels have improved the relationship between the police and the communities.
 Most people approach the police to report cases now than ever before. Children are also able to report any forms of sexual abuse inflicted on them now.

However, regardless of above achievements, participants noted that there is still need for more sensitization about CODERASH since sexualized violence in all its forms is affects both women and girls.

Among planned activities for 2011 are the Inter School Drama Competition which scheduled for July 2011 with “Enough is enough, stop sexualized violence against school girls and boys” as the main theme.

Submitted By Sandra Nassali

Public Relations & Communications Officer

Action For Development

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Training workshops for newly elected leaders and technical staff on mainstreaming gender in district and sub county plans, budgets and programs

ACFODE‘s experience over the previous years shows that majority of the local leaders have limited awareness about gendered needs in their communities. Last year, a series of activities were implemented geared towards supporting women in leadership. Community meetings to create awareness about the role of women’s participation in leadership and trainings for aspiring women leaders for the 2011 were conducted and these further highlighted lack of gender sensitivity.

Following the conclusion of the 2011 election cycle, ACFODE conducted training workshops for the newly elected leaders and their technical staff in mainstreaming gender in district and sub county plans, budgets and projects in Kisoro district from 12th – 15th April 2011. Participants included newly female and elected LCV councilors, NAADS coordinators, sub county chiefs and community development officers.

Participants were equipped with:

  • Skills so that they can incorporate gender into every aspect of the work they do.
  • Gender analytical skills
  • Action plans to mainstream gender in their plans and budgets
The workshop was very successful with a total of 13 females and 14 males attending. An agreed action plan to take the process forward was drawn.

Submitted By Sandra Nassali

Public Relations & Communications Officer

Action For Development

Civil Society Organizational Capacity Assessment (OCA)

In order to strengthen public and civil society sectors capacity for Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention and management, ACFODE in partnership with UWONET carried out an OCA of different local organizations (CBOs, FBOs NGOs) in districts of Mubende, Kanungu, Yumbe, Oyam, Katakwi, Moroto, Kotido and Kaboong. The assessment was done using the Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool (OCAT). The organizations were also assessed for GBV programming and implementation.
This activity was implemented as part of the 7th GOU/UNFPA country program under the Gender Component in the 8 selected districts of Uganda.
15 CSOs were targeted in each of the project districts and 2 participants preferably.

The objectives of the organizational capacity assessment included:
• Establishing organizational strengths and weaknesses for the CSO sub groups.
• Establishing training, technical and other appropriate interventions which will strengthen the overall functioning of the CSO subgroups in order to advance gender and rights.
• Establishing CSO knowledge levels on gender based violence and reproductive rights.
• And identifying gaps and recommendations for an improved performance of the GBV service delivery and GBV referral systems.

The organizational effectiveness was assessed based on the 7 elements of the OCA tool namely governance, management practices, human resources, financial resources, service delivery, external relations and sustainability of the organization.

Over 75% of the participating CSOs reported that they had been addressing GBV for over three years and the reasons that prompted them to undertake GBV interventions were varied and included high prevalence of GBV due to development of camps as a result of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency in war affected areas, family breakages, HIV discordant couples fighting over the right to sex, stigma and discrimination, increasing domestic violence, rape and defilement among others.

CSOs noted a number of challenges faced that included ignorance of the community about gender and rights, women’s reluctance to report cases of GBV, limited participation and lack of support from men, poor follow up on GBV by Local Councils and police because inadequate facilitation and reluctance of the police to handle BV related cases among others.

Some of the areas suggested for addressing the challenges faced included GBV prevention and advancement of reproductive rights plus referral system and process, GBV (forms, causes and effects), GBV Management, legal frameworks in handling GBV such as the Domestic Violence Act, Marriage and Divorce Bill and policy development like the financial policy, human resource policy, information systems policy.

They also called for more sensitization/ awareness about GBV and Reproductive Rights through community dialogues/ meetings and trainings, formation of women groups and supporting them financially. Formation of a strong GBV coalition in each of the project districts and provision of relevant literature and IEC materials on GBV and Reproductive Rights was also discussed as a possibility.

The facilitators noted that the OCA was a great opportunity for the participating CSOs to assess themselves and establish their capacity gaps in which they would be trained in order to build their capacities and also contribute to organizational development. The assessment revealed that there is still a lot that needs to be done with regard to the knowledge levels of CSOs on GBV so that they can together, with the district based alliances ensure GBV prevention and advancement of Reproductive Rights.

Submitted By Sandra Nassali

Public Relations & Communications Officer

Action For Development