Leveraging Resources for Social Transformation: FRA Holds Reflections for Amuria and Ngora Local Level Leaders

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By Matilda Nakawungu

Ngora LLLOn Tuesday 14th and Thursday 16th, FRA in partnership with War on Want NI efficaciously held reflection sessions for local level leaders in Ngora and Amuria districts. The full day sessions brought together local government officials from both the district government(s) and the two sub-counties of Mukura in Ngora and Wera in Amuria where FRA is implementing a project on leveraging local resources to transform the livelihood of vulnerable communities. Also in the sessions were a number of religious and cultural leaders.

The sessions facilitated by the Deputy Chief Administration Officers (D CAO) of the respective districts, provided the participants with an opportunity to reflect on, and acquire a greater appreciation of their role in realising social transformation. The participants were guided through a reflection on the role of local government as stipulated in a number of legal instruments and policy frameworks, in addressing issues of women exclusion from access, control and ownership of productive resources, and also issues of hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Some of the legal instruments reflected on included the Constitution of Uganda, the Local Government Act, the National Agricultural Extension Policy draft, the National Land Policy and the Finance Management Act as amended.

The local government leaders together with the religious and cultural leaders discussed and shared initiatives that their offices/departments, the local government and other stakeholders had undertaken to address these issues in their district(s). They also shared challenges they have encountered in addressing these issues, and provided recommendations on how to go about these.  The participants also explored the role religious and cultural leaders can play particularly in creating awareness and in mobilizing at the grassroots.

Ngoralll2At the end of each of the two interactive and edifying sessions, the leaders drew up action plans for further interventions that they committed to undertake in effort to address these issues. A few of the commitments made included: the Ngora district chairman’s commitment to expedite the gazetting and enforcement of the Ngora Food and Nutrition Ordinance;  Ngora Community Development Officer’s commitment together with FRA partner organization Morukakise Integrated Development Association (MIDA) to develop a registration template for all NGOs. This template will enable the district government capture all planned interventions of NGOs in the district and thus enable harmonization of NGO work plans with the District workplan to leverage resources.

In Amuria, the leaders committed to ensure continuous capacity building of local government leaders and cultural leaders on their roles and responsibilities in development; and to developing and enforcing bye laws and ordinances to address women exclusion from resources, poverty, hunger and malnutrition. Among these is the development of the Amuria Food and Nutrition Ordinance. The Local level leaders in Amuria also committed to conducting civic education on duties of citizens; retooling elected and appointed leaders with key government laws, policies and program documents; and providing citizens with copies of the constitution translated in the local language and other provisions of the law.

Ngoralll1Since women’s exclusion in the two districts is greatly entrenched in the political, economic, cultural, social and institutional contexts, it was vital for leaders to address this issue from all fonts. As such, the cultural and religious leaders also committed to play their role in sensitizing the public on the importance of women inclusion in household development and community development programs.

Providing this platform for the district leadership to look back and plan for their next move might not be FRA’s ultimate contribution to social transformation in Amuria and Ngora districts, but it clearly was a right step in the right direction.