Amplifying voices of vulnerable women and youths among the Basongora and Batuku pastoralist communities for delivery of quality health and education services in Uganda. A case of Ntoroko and Kasese Districts
This project aims at expanding spaces of influence for the vulnerable women and youths amongst the Basongora and Batuku pastoralists’ communities to advocate against exploitation, abuse, violence, discrimination in education and health sectors with specific focus on Ntoroko and Kasese Districts in the Rwenzori Region of Western Uganda. The critical issues being addressed by the project include
a) lack of a participatory process to identify and analyse cases of abuse, exploitation, discrimination and violence in relation to girl child school dropout, early marriage, limited access to reproductive services and limited access to education services;
b) Address the limited space and platforms for participation in decision making and advocacy by vulnerable women and youths and
c) Lack of documented advocacy cases where vulnerable youths and women in pastoral communities have influenced policy.
The main goal for this project is to expand spaces of influence for vulnerable youths and women among the Basongora and Batuku pastoral communities of the Rwenzori region to advocate against abuse, exploitation, violence and discrimination in the delivery of quality health and education services in Uganda
a) Lack of a participatory process to identify and analyse cases of abuse, exploitation and violence in relation to girl child school dropout, early marriage, and limited access to reproductive services and limited access to education: The women and youths in the Basongora and Batuku pastoralists communities of Ntoroko and Kasese District as well as those from Karamoja region are more exposed to violence, abuse and exploitation than any other community because of the cultural values and beliefs that deny women and youths opportunity to own property and productive assets, engage and productive work, access education and health services as well as participate in meetings where key decisions for resource allocation are taken. As a result, the women and youths have been subjected to early marriage which has also been associated with high girl child school dropouts thus denying women and youths a chance to access education. The presence and availability of health services are quite rare given the fact that the areas in the Basongora, Batuku and Karamojong pastoralists’ communities are sparsely populated with long distances of more than 10kms to the nearest health facility. The same women and youths have been exposed to domestic violence as they struggle to prepare food for their households amidst scarcity of food. These and many other cases of abuse of rights of women and youths, economic exploitation, denial of opportunities and violence are not identified and analysed by the groups of the affected people for joint action. This project will facilitate vulnerable youths and women in pastoral communities in Rwenzori region to identify and analyse their advocacy concerns through participatory processes.
b) Address the limited space for participation in decision making and advocacy by vulnerable women and youths: The exposed women and youths in the target communities have not had an opportunity to interact with decision makers to voice out their concerns because there is no space available for them to air out the concerns to the duty bearers. The existing budget conferences have not taken into account views of the vulnerable women and youths. Though, women and youths have councillors at sub-county and district levels, the issues of women and youths from pastoral communities have not been highlighted. The project will therefore create spaces for women and youths to voice their concerns but also influence existing spaces at school level, health facility level, sub-county, district and national level to enhance participation and voice of vulnerable women and youths to influence decisions and policies for better health and education services.
c) Address the lack of documented advocacy cases where vulnerable youths and women in pastoral communities to influence policy: The policy makers have not accessed voices of the vulnerable people telling the story on the extent to which they are affected. The voices of the youth have high chances of being listened but also to influence policy makers and yet there is no documented cases involving vulnerable youths and women on issues of abuse, violence and discrimination to influence decision. The project will support processes to track project successes and have them shared with wider audience to show case results but also influence policy.