Women activists want parish developement model revised

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Women activists have asked the government to re-evaluate the implementation of the newly constituted Parish Development Model.  

The model is a strategy being fronted by the Government in the next financial year for organizing and delivering public and private sector interventions for wealth creation and employment generation at the parish level as the lowest economic planning unit.

The program will see each of the 10,594 parishes get 39 Million Shillings in a revolving fund. The program like many others before is intended to lift Ugandans out of subsistence economy to the money economy, but this time around, new Parish Chiefs will be hired to manage the Fund.

The government plans to disband the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program-UWEP, Operation Wealth Creation, Youth livelihood Fund, Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) and Luwero Rwenzori Development Program to create the parish model program.

However women under their umbrella Women Movement now want the source of funding for the program to be reviewed since it will be pulling funding from key instrumental programs.    

The Women Movement comprises of organizations that include Forum for Women in Democracy,  National Union of Women with disabilities,  Young women’s Alliance for Human rights, Platform for vendors in Uganda, Uganda Women’s Network,  Uganda Women Parliamentary Forum, Equality Uganda among others.

The Chief Executive Officer FIDA Lillian Byarugaba Adriko says a re-evaluation will increase gender responsiveness of the program to ensure that there is a transformative impact on the lives of intended beneficiaries.

She says the merger of the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program, will cripple all the activities that were successful under the program.

She says that 11,256 projects benefitting 139,825 vulnerable women were funded through UWEP according to data from the Ministry of Local Government.

Byarugaba adds that the program’s primary beneficiaries have been unemployed women single young mothers; widows; survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) survivors; Women With Disabilities; Women Living With HIV/AIDS who have not been reached out to as tremendous as the program has.

She says that UWEP has directly provided financial services and boost entrepreneurial economic growth.    

Ronah Babwetera from Uganda Network on Law Ethics and HIV/AIDS (UGANET) said the amalgamating funds under UWEP to finance the Parish Development Model further means that women of Uganda will return to the difficult position of having to compete for the limited resource basket as it was before the program was rolled out. 

She proposed that UWEP must be maintained as an independent, women-centric initiative under the supervision of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. This she says will increase the resource allocation and technical support under the program and also have a wider coverage that will benefit more women groups. 

Last week, Members of Parliament asked the Government to first undertake a study on the parish model program before implementation.

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