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The Kabale district had already founded a caucus to discuss women’s issues and had elected a female speaker who participated in the workshop and gave some valuable insights into the local politics. Most of the female members of the councils were nevertheless not capable to enforce equal treatment in local politics, which resulted especially in a lack of equality in the access to land, jobs and other issues.
In order to change this inequality, Action for Development (Acfode) and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung implemented a two-day workshop in Kabale to empower women district leaders and selected leaders. The first day of the workshop focused on briefings about the role of women in local politics, women’s rights as well as gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting. The second day was shaped by discussions about lobbying, advocacy and the use of media to reach both people of the region and politicians.
Although it was mostly aimed to serve women’s issues in order to empower women in local politics, some selected men were also invited to join the discussions to ensure that men and women understand the importance and the mechanisms of empowering women in local contexts.
While the participants not only discussed their duties and roles in advancing the women’s cause as elected and appointed leaders, they were also encouraged to take action to ensure an attitude change in the local communities. Reaching balanced expectations for both men and women should become an important goal in their work. Male councilors should convince other men to accept the changing society and to treat women equally, while women should stand up for their rights and build confidence to say what is needed for women in local politics and in everyday-life. The presenters of Action for Development asked the councilors to become role models for the communities in terms of treating women and men equally.
Learning about feasible ways to advocate and lobby for women’s issues was heavily discussed mainly on the second day of the workshop. The biggest challenges for the local councils are to collect all necessary information about their target-group and to define precise objectives to get clear findings in the end. This will lead to reasonable presentations of the issues and the initiatives. Again, the participants noticed the need of knowledge about the abilities and needs of the target-group and the communities they want to work with to formulate strong demands to require needed funds and assistance of district authorities. The benefits of defining a target-audience were presented in detail: Since advocacy is taking advantages of the strength of the communities, the relevant stakeholders of any specific activity will decide whether the outcome will be positive or negative. Additionally, the participants became aware of the advantages of good relationships and communication in the local councils, the standing committees and other county conferences. The moderators of Action for Development made clear that as soon as the people of the districts have good information and good communication, the advocacy and lobbying can be successful.
The workshop enabled the female and male leaders of Kabale district to create awareness on gender and women’s rights as well as it gave the local politicians the ability to advocate and lobby in favor of the women in their district.