A mother makes her submission during the consultative meeting in Hoima.
Influencing local government policies and areas of focus requires a proper advocacy strategy. All lobbyists should be on the same page, and they should consult those at the grassroots in order to represent the real issues affecting them. In order to sharpen their advocacy at Hoima District Local Government, NAWOU member organizations met to discuss and review gender priorities that could be tabled to the district leadership with the goal of having them included in the planning for the 2017-2018 financial year.
The representatives from the 25 member organizations who participated in the consultative meetings hope to influence district plans, budgets and processes to take into account issues that affect women and girls. This meeting was also designed to help women get supporting information to follow up and demand for better service delivery and accountability from their leaders.
Key emerging gender issues in Hoima
The key emerging issues varied for each sub-county. However, child marriage, defilement, dropping out of school and domestic violence were common challenges cutting across. Parents seemed to participate actively in the abuse of their children, either arranging marriages so that there was one less mouth to feed; sending their daughters to the refugee camps to have sexual relations with men in order to get money for food, or simply not being invested in resources to keep their children in school. In other places, the prospect of making money lured children out of school with some opting to go and fish or others engaging in betting on sports teams instead of going to school. Furthermore, Hoima is now a hotbed of economic activity because of the oil boom raising the cost of living, and luring children out of school because of the prospect of quick money.
Cases of domestic violence appeared on the rise with some communities reporting as many 60 cases a month.
The issues identified will now be tabled before the Hoima District Local Government.