Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ACFODE Monthly Newsletters] ACFODE Arise Magazine - ISSUE 52 (Women & Natural Resource Management)

Dear Friends,

I want to take this opportunity to introduce to you ISSUE 52 of the Arise Magazine themed “Women and Natural Resource Management.”
My guess is that many of you know that women clearly outdo men in terms of their involvement in use, management and conservation of natural resources, yet they face categorical exclusion and are denied equal sharing of access to, and benefits from natural resources.

This is caused by a number of factors like un-equal power relations, and the patriarchal nature of our society that demeans and belittles women.

Consequently, in order to promote a participatory culture in the use, management and conservation of natural resources like land, livestock, agriculture, oil, fisheries and forests, this Issue recommends that policy makers, planners and development workers have a better understanding of the relative and often shifting roles of men and women in natural resource management, including division of labor, access to resources, decision-making and traditional knowledge and practices.

The magazine also includes sector- specific recommendations that delineate women’s roles in natural resource management.

Below are some highlights of what’s contained in the issue:
• From Your Leaders’ Mouth!
• Undue Influence from a Rotten Institution: Corruption in Natural Resource Management
• Will Ugandan Women Benefit from Oil? Lessons from Ghana
• Women and Men in Agriculture: Closing the Gender Gap
• Nature’s Pharmacy
• How to Get Beautiful Naturally
• Women and Lang Rights: The time is reap to act differently
• Mainstreaming Gender in Natural Resource Management; among others.

It is hence my wish that you enjoy reading the Magazine; which can be accessed HERE

NOTE: Hard Copies are available at ACFODE Secretariat. Please feel free to share this version with in your networks, and to send back your opinions with reference to the quality, content and design of the magazine. In case you want some hard copies, you can send me an email.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Sandra Nassali

Thursday, May 24, 2012

ACFODE-KAS EU Supported Project takes Civic Education to the Grassroots

Throughout the months of April and May 2012, a significant milestone in the implementation phase of the ACFODE-KAS EU supported project, “Action for Strengthening Good Governance and Accountability in Uganda” was achieved by successfully completing 11 councilors’ training workshops in the 11 districts where the project is being implemented. A total of 275 LC V district councilors participated in these workshops, which aimed at enhancing their awareness and knowledge of their roles and responsibilities - with specific emphasis on deepening their understanding of principles of democratic governance.

Completed also were 11 Training of Trainers workshops for 198 motivated CSO actors in each district where the project is being implemented. These particular workshops aimed at enhancing the capacity of CSOs to promote democratic governance and accountability at the local level, and to conduct grassroots civic education with the guidance of the civic education toolkit which was developed by ACFODE and KAS earlier in the project.

The task now falls to these newly trained actors to carryout grassroots civic education in selected sub counties in the districts where the project is being implemented. So far, the trained trainers in Masaka, Kiboga, Mbarara, Lira and Pader have made use of their acquired skills to carryout exceptional trainings within some of the sub counties in their districts. Because of their ability to relate the importance of promoting principles of good governance and accountability to development and eliminating poverty in these communities as well as Uganda, some trainers have also been able to confidently answer to questions raised by the community members on how promoting the principles of good governance and accountability can improve their livelihoods.

Towards the conclusion of these trainings, the adjustment in the way the community members discussed these concepts illustrated the fact that they now possessed an understanding of what good governance and accountability are, and how they can be applied to achieve true democracy in Uganda. This was evident in the way they strongly recommended that democracy can not only be exercised at the higher levels of government but that it also at the grassroots level through organizing for reelection of LC1 chairpersons who have held these positions for several years.

One of the most outstanding trainings was one that was carried out among the Batwa in Muka - a sub county located in Kabale district. The Batwa, a small community of pygmies living in a dense forest in Bwindi Impenetrable are one of the significantly marginalized groups in Uganda. With basic rights such as access to adequate health care, sanitation and food sorely lacking in the area, this community has for a long time felt neglected and abandoned by their leaders. “We never see or leaders and they have done nothing to help us. They only come when they want votes,” lamented one of the community members during the training. “However, with the knowledge and guidance we have acquired from this event, we are going to start holding them accountable basing on their promises, mandate and on our rights. If they fail to deliver, we shall not vote them again,’ he continued.

In this community, a dilapidated state of the 2 mud constructed structures serve as the only primary school in the area and the surrounding makeshift grass huts that serve as homes clearly show that this man’s words were potently true.
This community, like so many others in rural Uganda wrongly believe that the leaders they vote into power do not have an obligation to ensure that basic services are brought closer to the people and that they are uplifted from their state of abject poverty.

However these grassroots trainings have added some value to this effect since community members are now aware of the roles and responsibilities of their leaders, and of the fact that they as the electorate have the power to hold these leaders accountable should they fail to meet their obligations.

Compiled by: Sheila Kinaheirwe
Project Officer-ACFODE
EU Supported Project “Action for Strengthening Good Governance and Accountability in Uganda’’
Email: acfode.kinaheirwe@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ACFODE Trains Apac CACs on Psycho-Social Counseling & Community Led Advocacy

With the objectives of facilitating the Community Agents of Change (CACs)'s understanding of the concept of counseling and equipping them with counseling skills so that they are able to support GBV survivors in their local communities; enhancing their capacity for improved response to GBV; equipping them knowledge and skills on Community- Led advocacy, lobbying and networking in order to bring about the desired change in the community, and developing action plans on key GBV issues to inform advocacy; ACFODE with funding from the Open Society Institute once again trained CACs on psycho-social support counseling and community led advocacy.

The trainings, which took place from the 7th –to the 12th of May 2012 in Apac districts (Akororo and Ibuje Sub Counties) centered on topics like psycho social counseling for GBV survivors, secondary stress management, as well as lobbying and advocacy as necessary tools in GBV prevention. 30 participants were trained in each of the sub counties.

ACFODE conducted this activity as a result of a needs assessment that was carried out at the beginning of the project (Building Citizens’ Resilience in Promoting Violence Free Families and Communities) in February where the selected CACs were engaged in a brainstorming exercise on GBV; out of which the need for skills building in counseling GBV survivors arouse.

During the training, it was realized that although several attempts have been made towards responding to, and preventing GBV in the local communities, no specific interventions have been made in Apac to help GBV survivors with services like counseling. As a result, the survivors have continued to suffer the psycho social effects of the abuse which in the long run have not allowed them to function normally in society.

Role plays was the approach used during the training, where participants were challenged to act about some of the incidences of violence in their communities. The presentations made were very touching and this got participants engrossed emotionally and angry at what women go through on a daily basis in their communities. It was after this that the CACs recommitted to fight against VAW.

Participants also overwhelmingly commended ACFODE for the training, most especially the appropriate selection of topics that apply to their day to day activities in the communities. Many of them revealed that by the nature of their work, they receive a number of GBV cases but had very little to offer. They however confessed that the training had equipped them with key skills to respond to GBV cases in the community.

In particular, the training brought to light the significance of counseling/psychosocial support to survivors of gender based violence with the community enthusiastically embracing it as one vital tool in helping survivors become functional members of the society. Below are some of the comments that were given after the training;

• Hellen Adok C/Person of a women group in Ibuje S/C, “As a woman leader I will be in position to help fellow women come out of the challenges of domestic violence. There are so many sad women in my group and we have never thought that talking to someone about our issues would provide some relief from the problem."

• Patrick Ebong- a catechist from the catholic church..”I have always received volumes of complaints from couples under my church, the most recent of a cheating spouse who also tested HIV positive and I could not adequately counsel, I have learnt about referrals and that will ease my work”

• LCIII Chairperson- Akokoro sub county Mr. Richmond Enguny, “this training was spot on; I found this a very significant training considering the level of violence in our sub county, personally am so busy that I usually don’t participate fully in these kinds of trainings, but today I found every bit captivating that I could not afford to miss a session.”

• Sub county Chief Mr. Adongo Hermnino “I appreciate the selection of the participants. All these are leaders in different capacities who we can use to front development issues in the sub county.”

Some of the issues that emerged during this training were; the growing concern by local leaders about the increasing cases of gender based violence in Apac, and the culture of silence normally exhibited by GBV survivors due to fear of rejection by their spouses, community members and relatives.

Margareta Ssebunya
Programs Assistant
Gender & Economic Policy Department
Action For Development
Email: smargaret@acfode.org

Gulu University Wins ACFODE Northern-Region Debate Competition

From the 11th – 13th of May 2012, ACFODE (Action for Development) with support from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung organized Inter Institution Debate Competitions in Northern Uganda. This was yet another opportunity to promote and inculcate a culture of gender equality and good governance among the youth. The tournament, which took place at Acholi Inn in Gulu town attracted 5 institutions of higher learning namely; Gulu University, Loro primary teachers college-Oyam, Florence Nightingale Nursing school-Apac, Unyama National teachers college-Gulu and Uganda Christian Institute for Professional Development-Lira.

The most interesting motion was “This house believes a woman’s place is at home.” This saw students giving coherent and persuasive arguments. Female participants in the tournaments were also more eloquent compared to the ones that have participated in other regional debates in the east, west and central Uganda.

This time round, the judges also held a mock debate session to give the debaters a hands-on experience about the British Parliamentary Debate format which is widely practiced at international debate tournaments.

Oguetta Andrew Otto – a student from Gulu University noted that he was so excited about the whole idea of competing with students from other institutions in a dynamic and safe environment. He further commented that the experience gave him ‘more exposure, and expounded his knowledge on issues to do with good governance, gender equality and women’s rights; and their implications on development.’

Some of the other resolutions that were at play during the tournament included; this house believes that the woman’s seat in parliament should be abolished, this house believes that sex education should be promoted in schools and this house believes that the women’s movement is no longer relevant.’

At the end of the tournament, all participants were awarded with Certificates of Participation. Special awarding went to the winning institution/ team, the best female and male speaker, and the most outstanding person.

During the Award Giving Ceremony, Mr. Charles Uma (representative of the Chief Administrative Officer – Gulu district) cautioned debaters to ‘put what they had learnt at the tournament into practice.’ He also challenged them to become ambassadors of gender equality in their respective communities and institutions.

Other participants included; ACFODE members, civil society representatives, the media and representatives from local government.

Since 2010, ACFODE with generous support from KAS has carried out inter institution debate competitions all over the country as a strategy for deepening and sustaining the gender equality and good governance campaign.

Participants are engaged and mentored into different gender and good governance dynamics as they are challenged to acquire information and to share their findings in a persuasive way (British Parliamentary Debate format). They are also mentored into eloquent, articulate and fast thinking individuals.

Sandra Nassali
Public Relations & Communications Officer
Action For Development
Email: snassali@acfode.org

Thursday, May 3, 2012

ACFODE Inter-Institutional Debate Competitions on again!

ACFODE inter-institutional debates are on again, this time round in the Northern part of the country.

Last week (22nd – 28th April 2012), ACFODE staff were in the north training students from Gulu University, Unyama National Teachers’ College (Gulu), Uganda Christian Institute for Professional Development (Lira), Loro Primary Teachers’College (Oyam), and Florence Nightingale Nursing School (Apac) about gender and development, and on the British Parliamentary debate format that will be used by the debaters during the tournament.

The trainings were characterised with a lot of enthusiasm and willingness to learn on the part of the students.

It was however apparent that the students had little knowledge about many gender concepts .For instance most of the students defined gender as the “biological difference between women and men.” In one of the Universities, the Gender Minister disclosed that despite holding the post, she was not well versed with the gender issue.

In order to fill this gap therefore, the first session of the training focused on common gender concepts for example; sex, gender roles, gender bias, gender discrimination, and gender needs among others. Also, participants were introduced to gender sensitive policies like Affirmative Action.

It’s was during the second session of the trainings that students were introduced to the British Parliamentary Format; which they found rather interesting. In some of the institutions for instance Gulu University, some of the students were already familiar with the format and this made work a little less hectic for the trainers.

This time round, turn up of female participants was generally promising.

After the training, students were cautioned to continue reading and doing research about gender and its relationship with development. In this regard, each institution was given a good number of ICE materials that would help inform the students.

The tournament is slated for the 12th and 13th of May 2012 at Acholi Inn in Gulu.

Daphine Agaba
Programs Assistant
Human Rights & Governance Department
Action For Development
Email: agabad@acfode.org

CACs Trained in Basic Counselling and Community Led Advocacy

In order to enhance Community Agents of Change (CACs)’s understanding of the concept of counseling so that they are in position to support GBV survivors in their local communities, ACFODE, with support from the Open Society Institute facilitated a training workshop in the sub counties of Loro and Kamdini in Oyam district.

The workshop, which also sought to equip participants with knowledge and skills on community led advocacy, lobbying and networking took place from the 16th – the 21st of April 2012 at the White House Hotel.

The training was informed by a Needs Assessment that was conducted at the beginning of the project in February this year. Some of the topics that were discussed include; definitions and importances of counseling, counseling general rules, appropriate areas for counseling, the needs of an abuse survivor, attitudes in counseling, and communication skills in counseling. Under advocacy and networking, their definitions and benefits were discussed with participants. Outcomes from the training.

Participants welcomed the appropriate selection of topics because of their application to their day to day activities in the communities. For instance, many of them revealed that by the nature of their work, they received a number of GBV cases but had very little to offer.
As such, ACFODE was commended for the training. Below is a highlight of what some of them had to say;

- According to the CFPU Loro police station Ms. Ketty Grace Okao, the training content is so relevant to her work as she states “In my office of CFPU, I feel the training has enhanced my skills that I will be able to handle and counsel on family issues effectively”

- Betty Ejang a F.A.L Supervisor and representative of a woman’s group acknowledged that she has gained new insights and skills in handling fellow women who suffer abuse in her community.

- Patrick Ebong an LC1 Chairperson- Agulurude remarked, “The training is going to make us more vigilant in our communities. Personally I have learnt how to handle domestic violence victims unlike before where I would make mistakes such as welcoming and treating visitors from my home. Now I have learnt that I can refer survivors after counseling other than offer them mere sympathy”.

- Lilly Niiye an LC2 Chairperson remarked “I am so pleased. I have been equipped with communication skills and have now become competent to handle issue in my community”

The training also unearthed the fact that in as much as several attempts have been made towards responding to, and preventing GBV in the local communities, the survivors continue to suffer the psycho social effects of the abuse which do not allow them to function normally in their respective communities.

Following the training, participants expect more robust approaches with positive results whiel counseling GBV survivors, and lobbying for zero tolerance of GBV.

Compiled by Sandra Nassali & Maggie Ssebunya

Action For Development