Kamugo says that only one out of the four donors of its 2016-2021 strategic plan is still funding the association, which money is earmarked for paying the five staff at the secretariat. Plan International, Democratic Governance Facility, European Union and UNDP are expected to support the implementation of the plan.
In 2016, Uganda
Women’s Parliamentary Association-UWOPA and donors launched a five-year
strategic plan covering mainly four women issues. These
included economic empowerment and equal opportunities for women, gender parity
in leadership and decision making at all levels, the rights, health and
education of women and girls.
The association also pledged to push for the
implementation of the four key issues on the Women’s Agenda (2016-2021). Civil
society organizations led by Uganda Women’s Network made the agenda and
presented it to the speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga and UWOPA leaders in
The key areas on the agenda are women’s land and property
rights, women politics and decision making, health and economic empowerment. It
is three years since the Women’s Agenda and the Strategic Plan was unveiled. Enacting
the Marriage and Divorce Bill, Sexual Offences Bill and Succession Amendment
Bill are the major policies for legislation in the plan and the Women’s
However, three months to the end of the third year of the
tenth parliament, none of the three Bills have been enacted. Pamela Kamugo, the
newly elected UWOPA chairperson, explains that the Sexual Offences Bill was
withdrawn due to the introduction of several amendments while the Marriage and
Divorce Bill still requires wide consultation.
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Kadaga, who is also UWOPA Patron, has however praised women
and their allies at parliament by legislating on 8 issues that affect women.
These included moving motions to bring private members’ Bills such as the
Anti-slavery Bill that was moved by the Soroti municipality MP,
to end modern day slavery, Sexual Offences Bill, 2015 that was later withdrawn
to make some changes and the Succession Amendment Bill, 2018 that is before the
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.
Kadaga also commends legislators for demanding state action
on the issue of former female abductees of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA),
the need for an annual audit on maternal deaths, the push for national roll out
of the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) Scheme and the inquiry
into sexual harassment in institutions.
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Rubaga South MP, Kato Lubwama and Padyere Padyere County MP,
Joshua Anywarach fault UWOPA leadership and members for not doing enough
to advance programs that could improve the lives of women. In the ninth
parliament, UWOPA lobbied government to implement the Uganda Women’s
Entrepreneurship Programme to empower women.
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Kamugo says that due to financial constraints, the
association is failing to implement the women’s agenda and the strategic plan
that are largely funded by donors. The situation has worsened because
traditional donors stopped funding UWOPA activities last year because of
Kamugo says that only one out of the four donors of its
2016-2021 strategic plan is still funding the association, which money is
earmarked for paying the five staff at the secretariat. Plan International,
Democratic Governance Facility, European Union and UNDP are expected to support
the implementation of the plan.
Kamugo says the association is depending mainly on the
monthly contributions of its 157 members comprising of 115 female and 42 male
members. There are 160 female members of parliament.
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Since each member contributes Shillings 30,000 monthly, the
association is operating on a monthly budget of Shillings 4.7 million.
Programs such as following up on the presidential pledge on emergency
sanitary towels in schools and capacity building for girls to make their own
sanitary towels for sustainability will require Shillings 35 million for two
years (2018/ 2019).
Some of the leaders and members of the association say most
donors have withdrawn funding due to disagreements on the agenda for the
pressure group while MPs want UWOPA to extend activities to their constituencies.
Pader Woman MP, Lowila Oketayot has praised parliament for donating 10,000
sanitary towels to school girls. Parliament's ‘Keep A Girl” in School drive
benefited six primary schools in Lamwo, Kitgum and Pader districts.
Oketayot represents Northern Uganda in the UWOPA leadership.
She has commended UWOPA for also spearheading the campaign against child
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UWOPA Executive committee member in charge of Western Region,
Elizabeth Karungi is concerned that the early 2021 election campaigns
could also stall implementation of UWOPA activities. But the Kumi
municipality MP, Silas Aogon who is also a member of UWOPA, calls on the
executive to implement the plan and scheduled activities.
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UWOPA has yet to achieve 40% gender parity in the leadership
of parliamentary committees which currently stands at 33.3%. Only 9 of
the 51 committees are chaired by women such as Syda Bbumba (National Economy),
Grace Akech (Agriculture), Florence Nambozo (HIV/AIDS) while 8 women serve as
These include Baguma Espallanza (Health), Karungi Elizabeth
(public service and local government). Also, there is unfinished
business in lobbying ministries of health and education to amend the Student
Loan Policy to provide 50-50 percent admission at the university, the
fulfillment of the presidential pledge on emergency sanitary towels among
women’s key issues.
Kadaga has however reassured the women that the tenth
parliament will continue to address their issues including teenage pregnancies
and challenges like fistula among young mothers.
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UWOPA was created in 1989-1994 as a parliamentary caucus
to unite all Women Members of Parliament, former women members of parliament
and Male Members of Parliament as associates to enhance effective
representation of women in parliament.