Friday, August 5, 2011


Over the past 25 years ACFODE has employed several strategies towards promoting gender equality and good governance in Uganda. Advocacy for policy formulation, research, capacity building, coalition building, mobilization and sensitization activities have been core in these strategies. In fulfilling these functions ACFODE has enjoyed the generous support of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS).

Despite several achievements registered, challenges still exist with regard to women’s full enjoyment of their rights as well as their effective participation in the governance processes. The notion of gender equality is not yet fully appreciated in Ugandan societies. In light of such challenges ACFODE considered drawing the attention of the young generation as a strategy for deepening and sustaining the gender equality and good governance campaign. The inter-institutions debate tournaments were born in this context, when a new theme ‘Promoting Gender Equality: Embracing the Youth and Looking ahead,’ was unveiled last year during ACFODE’s Silver Jubilee celebrations.

Consequently, ACFODE has carried out inter institutional debate competitions in Central, Eastern, and recently in Northern Uganda. Participants are engaged and mentored into different gender and good governance dynamics since they are challenged to acquire information and to share their findings in a persuasive way (British Parliamentary Debate format).

The debates, which bring together government and private institutions of higher learning, recognize the vital role youth can play in shaping the future of the nation, particularly as regards promoting gender equality and good governance. They are also an effective means of engaging youth into other development issues because of their ability to encourage critical thinking, personal expression, reading and research skills, and tolerance of others’ opinions.

ACFODE’s recent debate competitions held at Lira Hotel in Northern Uganda were referred to as ‘remarkably amazing and exceptionally successful’ by the Guest of Honor - Dr. Gerhard Wahlers, KAS’ Deputy Secretary. In his speech, Dr. Wahlers talked about being glad to having witnessed the well prepared and lively debates since students were surprisingly eloquent, displayed a great deal of critical thinking and sharpened analysis. He commended ACFODE’s approach as being proactive in involving the youth as key target group in the promotion of gender equality and good governance.

He therefore encouraged participants, especially the females to indulge

in politics and gender equality so that their involvement in development is recognized.

The event was also well attended by government officials, representatives from the district and the civil society. Also in attendance was Mr. Peter Girke – KAS’ Country Representative, ACFODE’s Executive Director Ms Regina Bafaki and the former Chairperson Ms. Jane Nakintu.

The competition was between five institutions of higher learning namely; Uganda College of Commerce – Aduku (UCC), All Saints University Lira, Lira School of Comprehensive Nursing, Uganda Technical College Lira (UTC), and Uganda Christian University Lira. During the competitions, students showed so much zeal right from the beginning. This was through the use of cohesive argumentation, preparation and use of supporting evidence.

UTC Lira won the final debate round against UCC Aduku which ranked second. Regardless of who won, the competition was great!

Categories awarded included:

  • The best institution, won by UTC
  • The most eloquent speakers, which was won by Tabu Stella and Masaboa Amili
  • Second runner ups, won by UCC team 3; as well as all the 6 students who debated in the last round

All students were awarded with a Certificate of Participation. They were also given a DVD entitled ‘The Great Debaters’ by Denzel Washington.

Submitted By Sandra Nassali

Public Relations & Communications Officer

Action For Development

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