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After welcoming all participants, the facilitator, Ms. Helen Twongyeirwe, a trainer of ACFODE, started with a short introduction of the hurdles women face in running for political office and the importance of women in political leadership for their family and their community. On that basis Ms. Twongyeirwe led a lively plenary discussion with the participants about women in political leadership. Among the topics that had been discussed was discrimination of women on a personal, social and political level and stereotyping women, who want to run for political office. Participants agreed on supporting more women in their community to take political leadership, since women fail to fill the third of the seats reserved for them.
In the second part of the discussion Ms. Twongyeirwe presented the key topics of the Women's Manifesto 2016-2021 and highlighted the importance of women's rights on health, land and property rights, education, economic empowerment and political leadership and decision making. Especially the topic of women's land and property rights were discussed in more detail. Moreover the participants understood the positive impact of strong women's rights on the health and wealth of the family, the community and the nation.
In the end, a representative of the Electoral Commission in Lwamata Sub-County gave a presentation on the electoral process for the General Elections 2016, the tasks and responsibilities of the Electoral Commission and the role of citizens in the whole process. Because of the complicated electoral system in Uganda, participants had a lot of questions which needed to be answered. Mr. Erasmus cleared up all misunderstandings and explained the procedure of registration for the General Election in more detail.
All in all the Grass roots Citizen Conversation motivated the participants to strengthen women's rights in their community, to eliminate challenges women are facing when running for political office and to support more women in political leadership in their community. Moreover the participants are aware of their responsibilities and duties on the electoral process. The debates and discussion gave the community members the possibility to exchange ideas, to gain general information about women's rights and to benefit from the expertise of ACFODE and the EC.
In order to reach more people with the conversations about women in politics, their rights and interests, and the hurdles they have to overcome, the conversations were taken to Kibiga Sub-County the following day, where an equally high number of people participated in the discussions and were brought on board with the women’s cause.
author: Nele Krüger, KAS intern