“If you don’t actively engage in your council, then you are as good as an empty chair” - Foundation Office Uganda and South Sudan
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From June 12th to 13th, Action for Development (ACFODE) in partnership with KASconducted a followup on the women caucuses in Kabale District.The programme was designed toencourage female leaders to increase transformative representation of women in political and decision-making positions. Moreover, the workshop provided a platform to reflect on how women councillors have been able to utilise the knowledge and skills gained from past learning engagements to replicate best practices, thus improving the lives of women and girls in their constituencies.
The training workshop was conducted using a mix of delivery tools including interactive lectures, presentations, brainstorming, and experience sharing by the participants. Throughout the programme, the women councillors were able to deepen their understanding of the legal framework surrounding gender and human rights and of the importance of coalitions for gender-responsive service delivery.
Taking into account Uganda´s National Gender Policy (2007), which provides a framework and strategies for gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment, facilitator Faith Tushabe urged the participants to be consistent and to make use of the available legal framework: “The legal framework requires national representation to be effective. Let´s bring it down to a district council level. If it can be national, then we will bring it down to the district and sub-county and make it work here!” She further encouraged the women councillors to actively engage and, thus, contribute to decision-making processes in their councils. “Our obligation, with regard to gender and in relation to human rights, is to respect, to protect and to fulfil because we are representing many others. If you are a councillor and you go into council and you don’t talk, or during your time of office you have not been able to achieve anything, then you are as good as an empty chair in council.”
Through numerous practical examples, the workshop participants illustrated how their constituencies have so far benefitted from the work resulting of the women’s caucusand identified gaps that required further joint efforts, which led to a vital concluding discussion.
Written by Katrin Hartmann