Wednesday, November 28, 2012

ACFODE Trains Civil Society Actors in Lira on Good Governance and Gender Accountability

ACFODE in partnership with DIAKONIA conducted a Training of Trainers (TOT) for Civil Society Actors on Good Governance and Gender Accountability in Lira District from the 21st November to 22nd November, 2012. The TOT is one in a series of activities under the project: Contributing to the Enhancement of Democratic Governance and Gender Accountability at Local Level in Uganda.

The training brought together civil society actors from the districts of Apac, Oyam and Kole with the aim of enhancing capacity of civil society actors to promote good governance and gender accountability at local government level and to conduct grassroots civic education.
A cross section of the Civil Society Actors from Oyam District
during the training
As a result of the two day training, the CSO Actors were equipped with knowledge and skills on a number of topics including; the concepts of civic and adult education, understanding of governance, Gender and Accountability, Human rights and facilitation methods.
The participants found the training very relevant and helpful. Apio Theresa from Peace and Reconciliation Ministries Africa, a CBO in Apac said, “…this training is very good, people in the villages need to know about human rights, there is a lot of abuse going on down there and people do not know who to report to.”
The CSO Actors committed to returning to the communities in the sub counties to pass on the knowledge and skills they had gained in this training; in this way ACFODE hopes to realize a society where there is respect for women’s rights and citizens are empowered to demand accountability from their leaders.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

ACFODE Successfully Launches Violence Free Candle and Anti SGBV Publications

In light of this year's theme for 16 Days of Activism: From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women! ACFODE hosted founders, members, staff, and beneficiaries, the media, the donor community, government representatives and civil society organizations in a  colourful celebration to launch the 16 Days of Activism and celebrate 27 years of gender activism at the ACFODE Secretariat on Friday 23rd November 2012.

The event served as a platform for the launch of ACFODE's latest publications developed to boost the fight against SGBV. They include; a "Policy Brief on Building Citizen's Resilience in Promoting Violence Free Families and Communities", and "The Power of the Pen", which is a magazine documenting stories of survivors of SGBV in some areas of ACFODE's operation, specifically, Apac and Oyam districts. The abridged version of the organization's new strategic plan for 2012-2016 was also unveiled at the event.

ACFODE Executive Director holds up
"The Power of the Pen" during the launch ceremony

In a show of solidarity, ACFODE founders, members, staff, and beneficiaries, the media, the donor community, government representatives and civil society organizations joined hands to light the "Violence Free Candle", a symbol of commitment to ending violence against women.

The proceedings were presided over by guest of honor Dr. Maxine Ankrah, a leading woman activist and founder member of ACFODE. 
Guest of Honor Maxine Ankrah, Executive Director Regina Bafaki and Chair Person  Gertrude Ssekabira
preside over the lighting of the Violence Free Candle

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

ACFODE Prepares 11 Districts for Local Governance Assessment and District Peer Review Mechanism

As one of the components under the project, "Action for Strengthening Good Governance and Accountability", Action for Development (ACFODE) together with implementing partner Konrad Adeneuer Stiftung (KAS) will next year conduct a local governance assessment and District Peer Review Mechanism (DPRM) in the 11 districts of project implementation aimed at assessing the state of democratic governance at the local level with specific emphasis on democratic values and principles, good governance, accountability and human rights and rule of law.
The DPRM will actively involve stakeholders from the district and will consist of a self-assessment together with a peer review among the districts through exchange visits. 

In preparation for the above activities, 4 regional training workshops for selected participants from civil society and local councils from the districts of Jinja, Pallisa and Soroti in the East; Kabale, Kisoro, Mbarara in the West; Arua, Pader, Lira in the North and Kiboga as well as Masaka in the Central region were conducted in the month of November. 
Associate Professor Yasin Olum facilitates a session during the Northern Region training workshops for the Assessors who will conduct the local governance assessment and DPRM

Through these workshops, targeted civil society actors and local councilors who had been trained earlier in this project were prepared for the task of conducting a local governance assessment which will take place in January 2013.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

ACFODE Facilitates National Level Inter-Institutional Debate Tournament

As Uganda celebrated its Jubilee celebrations, ACFODE in partnership with Konrad Adenuer Stiftung (KAS) organized Inter Institutional Debate Competitions which ran from 12th-13th October 2012 at Nob View Hotel, Ntinda with the final round being held at Hotel Africana during the Award Giving Ceremony.  
Kyambogo University Students pose for a photo with the ACFODE executive director (Ms.Regina Bafaki), Hon. Gerald Karuhanga (Youth MP western region) and the ACFODE board member (MS.Florence Muhwezi)

The thrilling Debate Competition under the theme “Uganda at 50; Promoting Youth Activism towards Gender Equality and Good Governance” was conducted using the British Parliamentary Debate Format with the aim of building the capacity of youth in higher institutions of learning on Gender Equality, Functional Democracy, Human Rights and Good Governance. It tackled pertinent issues like Human Rights, Gender Equality and Youth Activism. 

The national level debates were a climax to all the debate tournaments that ACFODE has held since 2010 .These tournaments have been held in the 4 regions of Uganda and have brought together various tertiary institutions. The national level debates brought together outstanding debaters from some of the institutions that have participated in these tournaments, including; Makerere University, Makerere University Business School, Uganda Christian University Mukono, Kampala International University,  Nkumba University, Gulu University, Unyama National Teachers College Gulu, Mutolere Nursing School Kisoro, Bishop Stuart University Mbarara, Kabale National teachers college and Kyambogo University.

The finals, which were held at Hotel Africana and presided over by Mr. Fagil Mandy, saw one of the Kyambogo University teams emerging winners of the competition and Gulu University coming in second place.  

ACFODE Takes The Gospel Of Peace To Primary Schools

From September 21st to October 22nd, Action for Development (ACFODE), an indigenous, voluntary, non-governmental women’s organization with support from EIRENE conducted a number of activities in commemoration of the World Peace Day celebrated on the 21st of September annually. Facilitating Awareness Workshops on Peace in Primary Schools was one of the activities.
Art works drawn by pupils from Kawempe Mbogo Primary School
to represent their understanding of peace

The awareness workshops sought to “inculcate a culture of peace among the children.” Ten schools around Kampala namely; Nakivubo Primary School, Kisasa Primary School, Ggaba Model Primary School, Pic Hill Primary School, Kawempe Mbogo Primary School, Police Children Primary School, Cornerstone Primary School, Nakibuvo Settlement Primary School, Kyagwe Road Primary School and, Namirembe Infants Primary School partnered with ACFODE in this initiative.

The workshops particularly targeted pupils from classes 4, 5, and 6 who comprised of the prefect body, class monitors, and abused children who were identified by the teachers. Three hundred and eighty four children in total benefitted from this intervention, which engaged them in a number of creative activities including; Storytelling, creation of own artworks, music, dance and drama, and plenary discussions on peace.

The plenary sessions answered several questions regarding peace, including; the definition of peace, causes of conflict and the process of conflict resolution, among others. Pupils were also encouraged to draw creative art pieces representing peace, an exercise that resulted in explicit works of art that depicted a clear understanding on the pupils’ part, of the concept of peace that they were learning about.

At the end of the trainings, participants were awarded with a Certificates of Completion (Peace Ambassadors). In the near future, ACFODE will be making follow-up visits to find out how the Ambassadors are making use of the acquired knowledge in terms of preaching the gospel of peace in their schools, homes and communities.

ACFODE Reviews Good Governance And Gender Accountability In Lango Sub Region

Action for Development (ACFODE), with support from DIAKONIA, facilitated review meetings on good governance and gender accountability in Lango sub region from 15th to 18th October 2012 under the theme: Promoting Good Governance and Gender Accountability at local level.
A session during the review process

Dialogues with district councilors from Apac, Oyam and Kole districts in northern Uganda during the review process enabled ACFODE to identify several factors that have contributed to the increase in gender inequalities in the districts. They included; poor monitoring of local government development programs by the technical personnel and council executives, failure to integrate sub-county development priorities into the district development plans, low levels of education among women councilors who are supposed to contribute effectively in influencing gender related ordinances, early marriages, bureaucracy in passing ordinances, inadequate funding allocated to gender responsive programs, poor attitudes of some district leaders towards gender promotion, lack of political will, difficulty in accessing legal policy documents by councilors e.g. Local Government Act and difficulty in the interpretation of laws.

The dialogues served as a platform for reform in as much as they led to a number of positive outcomes including;
Commitments of the Councilors from Apac District

Commitment by elected Councilors to work with focal gender persons in the districts to ensure that gender issues are incorporated into district development programmes.

Vows by elected Councilors to develop gender responsive ordinances, for example, in Oyam the ordinance on safe deliveries for mothers was formulated, while Councilors in Apac proposed to allocate 10% of its FY 2013-3014 district budget towards economic empowerment of women and Girl Child Education.

Pledges by Councilors to push for the speedy approval of District Service Commission by the ministry of Public Service in order to facilitate the recruitment of more personell,  sensitize the electorate on the budget process and network with NGOs and CBOs to provide reference materials on gender.

ACFODE Engaging Women In Public Administration For Advocacy And Effective Representation

The continuous and persistent efforts to have women participate on the political scene have somewhat unintentionally left women in public administration on the periphery. Organizations rarely engage these influential women on numerous issues including identification of gender issues especially those that perpetuate gender inequalities despite the fact that they are strategically positioned to influence the change we want to see.

A cross section of the participants from Pader and Dokolo districts 
sharing thoughts and experiences

While conducting dialogues for women in public institutions including departments and sectors in the districts of Dokolo, Pader and Namutumba from the 12th -18th October 2012, ACFODE realized that through continuous mentorship of women administrators, the diverse challenges and constraints that impact on their effective representation could easily be addressed through drawing advocacy strategy plans. The dialogues brought together women in managerial positions from all the districts. They included Sub County Chiefs, Community Development Officers, NAADS officers, Gender officers, headmistresses and in-charges of health centers among other key participants.

Some of the challenges reiterated that impact on their level of participation and representation as women administrators included continuous discrimination and unfairness in employment and budgetary allocations, sabotage, sexual harassment, insubordination, consistent stereotyping arising out of social/cultural expectation among others. Coping mechanisms adopted such as assertiveness, continuous affirmation of their rights and freedoms and claiming for their space are yet to yield the intended results.

The dialogues provided a platform and an environment for experiential learning and building synergies which culminated in 3 forums created in the three districts for women in public administration.  The forums will be of significance for, among other causes, championing advocacy issues especially those that affect their effective representation.

Acfode Trains Schools On Gbv Prevention And Response In Northern Uganda

ACFODE with support from UWONET/UNFPA under the 7th GOU country programme carried out Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention and response trainings, targeted toward schools in selected areas of northern Uganda including Kotido, Moroto, Kaabong and Katakwi.
Participants during a GBV prevention and response training in
northern Uganda

PTAs, student leaders, BOG and students from 12 schools in the region were taken through sessions which aimed to sensitize the students on ways of identifying and reporting school-related GBV incidents, and also help school administrators to identify their roles and responsibilities in the fight against GBV in schools. The schools that participated in the training included; Kaabong S.S, Pope Paul Memorial High School, Jubilee 2000 S.S Karema, Kotido S.S, Kotido Parents Advanced School, Moroto High School, Nanduget S.S,  Moroto Parents Standard Academy, Katakwi S.S, Usuk S.S, Ogoneja S.S and St. Peters Comprehensive S.S.S.

As a result of the trainings, school administrators were empowered with better understanding of their responsibilities in regard to GBV. The participating schools also formed GBV clubs in a bid to cultivate a culture of raising awareness on GBV related issues in their local communities.