Friday, May 24, 2013

ACFODE Conducts Regional Training Workshops for District Women Councilors

With the existing need to progress away from increased numbers of women in political leadership to their enhanced participation, Action For Development (ACFODE) in partnership with the Women’s Democracy Group (WDG) conducted two regional trainings in Lira and Rukungiri districts for district women councilors from the 13th-15th of May 2013. WDG is a consortium of five women organizations which include Uganda Women's Network (UWONET), ACFODE, Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) - Uganda Chapter, Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), and Center for Women in Governance (CEWIGO).

 An interactive session during the training workshop in Lira District

The trainings, which were conducted in Lira and Rukungiri districts brought together 74 district women councilors from Amolatar, Dokolo, Lira, Oyam, Rukungiri, Kisoro and Kanungu. The aim of the exercises were to increase the skill sets and knowledge base of the female leaders to effectively engage in council and influence decision making processes. They also sought to empower the officials to form caucuses for the advancement of women issues in local councils to enhance gender responsiveness.

Accordingly, during the trainings, participants were taken through topics on gender and gender responsive budgeting, lobbying, advocacy and networking, monitoring and evaluation of government programmes, e-communication with an emphasis on usage of bulk SMS to communicate with the electorate, Legal frameworks for affirmative action, caucusing and the rules of procedure in council.

The topics of engagements were based on a rapid assessment carried out by WDG in December 2012 which indicated that many local women leaders were challenged with inferiority complexes, which were rated at 100%; lack of advocacy and lobbying skills, which scored 94%; poor planning and budgeting skills and lack of knowledge on government policies, which claimed a score of 79% and ignorance of their roles and responsibilities which came in at 74%. Other skills gap established included: poor public speaking ability, limited skills in gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting, unawareness of the correct way of making ordinances, as well as inaccessibility of modern research and new tools of information to enhance their contribution to decision making.

A cross section of Women councilors during the workshop in Rukungiri district

The training resulted in the formation of seven district women caucuses, which were representative of the participating districts. The caucuses were formed uniquely on the basis of advocacy issues that affect majority of the communities they represent, rather than on the basis of political party affiliations. The groups were able to make immediate progress in their varied capacities by developing advocacy strategies on urgent issues that need redress, thus drawing closer to achieving remarkable milestones in their respective communities.

The women councilors appreciated the three-day engagement as a timely intervention which equipped them with tools for better leadership and replication of knowledge and skills gained. One of such councilors remarked “We cannot take this training for granted;  We appreciate the quality training and indeed it has helped a lot and we expect to perform better in undertaking our roles as women councillors.’’

Compiled by:

Nancy Nandudu
Public Relations and Communications Officer
Action For Development