GIVING WOMEN VOICE.......
Women the world over is undeniably disadvantaged in one way of the other. In Uganda and specifically in the Northern and North Eastern part of the country where there have been insurgencies, the socio-economic status of women are extremely poor compared to that of the men counterparts. Despite the numerous interventions of NGOs and those of the government, changes come in slowly, with just some rays of hope flickering for the women. This means that the women mostly find it challenging to advance their issues and improve on their position in the society they live in. The grass root women stay largely uninformed about on development agenda even at that lowest level in the decentralization governance in Uganda. They thus play little or no roles at all in development process and as such development takes little care of their most crucial needs. Unfortunately again, the majority citizens that are mostly illiterate (mostly women) lack civic education that could potentially prepare them to be active players in determining the trend of development discourse and therefore significantly contribute to making the world a better place for all.
Again in Uganda, the affirmative actions for women that give women a special consideration in leadership responsibilities as well as according them some special treatments to enable them favorably compete with men counterparts have not been adequately put to use by women, reason being that majority of them lack important information and adequate representation in different forums at different levels. As such, the women voice then remain quite low, exerting negligible influence on development to suit their needs and yet they are the most productive section of the population carrying heavy loads of responsibilities unrecognized.
The strength of collective Voice
Giving women voice has been a common phrase in the cycle of NGOs in Uganda, advocating for rights of women. My own experiences have been centered on women who are displaced internally due to the over 2 decade’s war that devastated the Northern part of the country where I hail from. I have been in several grass root women structures, mostly community based that have specific focus on socio economic rights of the targeted women in those communities. My experience so far reveals that empowering women through trainings and sensitization, increasing their access to information and linking them to various networks or opportunities have gone a long way to reduce on some of the most challenging conditions they faced during the peak of the insurgency. In Kampala where I am currently based, I am supporting women who fled the insecurity Networking and coordinating with structures, be it NGOs or the local government structures that have specific focus on women’s issues at the grass root. I have mentioned at the initial of this paper the presence of several structures that deal with women at various levels. These bodies regularly interface with the women and as such, they have all the basic information regarding problems and needs of these women. I would gather and harness this information and submit them to the Pulse International Host Community on regular basis.
I would have regular dialogues with leaders at various levels, starting from the grass roots to ministry level to pick on relevant issues that would attract global attention for the women
from Northern Uganda but live in a condition that can best be described as below “human decency”. Among the many, one key learning from my involvements with these women groups is that speaking loudly or “making the noises” call duty bearers to attention and actions on women issues and thus a bit by bit improvement in the status of women.
How would I contribute to the effectively of world pulse mission
Given my experience in advocacy for women, I feel very competent to make significant contributions to the Pulse mission. I am expressing here below what strategies I would deploy to accomplish this task.