Capacity Enhancement Sessions for Women in Local Politics, Pallisa District - Foundation Office Uganda and South Sudan
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The Ugandan Affirmative Action Policy provides protected access to political structures for women and has had the effect of significantly raising their number in local councils and parliament. Even though this is the case women councillors at the local level face several challenges, among them the lack of knowledge concerning the laws on local governments as well as on the rules and regulations in local councils. Furthermore, official local government records including the minutes of councils are kept in the English language which most women councillors – given the law levels of education – do not fully comprehend. Female politicians on top of that often lack the confidence and skills to speak in public and clearly outline an argument – which has mostly to do with the societal upbringing of girls that does not prepare them for political roles but focuses on “traditional duties” in household and family.
The workshop implemented by the women's organisation Action for Development (ACFODE) in cooperation with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung had the objective to increase the skills-set and knowledge base of district female councillors and through this make it possible for them to ably engage in council and influence decision making processes. It was additionally intended to strengthen networking and knowledge sharing among district women councillors. Through lectures, role plays, group work, and experience sharing sessions the participants were prepared to go back to their sub-counties and champion the interests and needs of the local population. A special emphasis was placed on the establishment of cross-party women caucuses, which are supposed to focus on the purpose of strengthening the standing of women councillors and through this enable them to represent the interest of women and girls in council and to take steps towards the achievement of gender mainstreaming and equality in local governments.