Despite the government of Uganda putting in place an array of impressive policies, strategies and institutions to ensure transparent and accountable use of public resources and delivery of public services, there still exist a number of challenges for citizens to realize full enjoyment of their rights. In this respect, between 2015 – 2018 JPIIJPC, will advocate for improved rights of women to maternal health services, secondly, work in partnership with other CSOs to influence policies in the areas of Universal Primary Education (UPE) for better performance of pupils and thirdly, build the capacity of youth to become self-reliant and productive to their communities where they live. JPIIJPC will also lobby and advocate on key emerging human rights issues affecting the human dignity including human trafficking, Karamoja street children and domestic violence in slums of Kampala.
Strategic objectives of the Advocacy department for 2015 – 2018
- To equip the youth with knowledge and skills of environmental protection, preservation and to use the environment profitably
- To contribute towards quality health and education services delivery in Uganda
- To promote Civil Liberty in the country
- To contribute in influencing free and fair elections in 2016
Advocating for transparency and improved service delivery
Advocacy in the area of health
As part of JPIIJPC’s commitment to advocate for improved health services for the most marginalized in society a project entitled: Advocacy for transparency and accountability to improve health service delivery in the North- and North-Eastern Uganda was started from August 2014 and will cover for a period of five years with support from Trocaire. The overall goal of the project is geared towards women and men in North and North Eastern Uganda access improved health services from more accountable local and national governments. Specifically, the project will be implemented in the 4 districts in the Catholic Dioceses of the North and North Eastern Uganda: Amuru District of Gulu Diocese; Otuke District of Lira Diocese; Ngora district of Soroti Diocese, and Moroto District of Moroto Diocese.
Health care service delivery, like other social services deteriorated considerably during the over 20 years of insurgency in the Northern region. The region continues to face serious challenges in health service delivery. The challenges are related to availability and accessibility of health services, especially by the rural population. World Health Organization Uganda country report 2012/2013 indicated that only 30% of the population in the Acholi sub region lives within 5km of a functional health facility. The dire situation is compounded by weak accountability mechanisms
The underlying causes to lack of transparency and accountability are: poor health policy implementation or adherence, culture of impunity, lack of community participation during planning, weak oversight institutions e.g. parliament, civic incompetence, personal greed, and weak accountability mechanism. The lack of community awareness on basic rights has been compounded by prolonged civil war and lawlessness in the region, limited access to relevant information and disinterest from duty bearers to create awareness among the community, and lack of political will. Again, limited community oversight is brought about by personal greed, ignorance, low literacy, lack of access to information, running away from responsibilities by duty bearers.
Against the above background that JPIIJPC would like to influence duty bearer’s responsiveness through lobbying and advocacy for improved health service delivery. Similarly, JPIIJPC would like to enhance the capacity of its partners and community members to demand for better health services. JPIIJPC intends to address these challenges through initiating the following advocacy activities:
- Comprehensive studies on status of health service delivery,
- Launch and dissemination of the findings on status of health services,
- Organize lobby meetings,
- Organize open forum discussions,
- Conduct radio talk shows and community debates with both duty bearers and right holders
- Conduct radio opinion polls with Track fm
- Build and enhance the capacity of Justice and Peace Committees (JPC) staff, diocesan media staff and the community monitors.
Youth Empowerment Project
Through support from the Italian Episcopal conference, JPIIJPC will be implementing a 3 years project of empowering young people in the dioceses of Moroto, Lira, Soroti and Gulu. The project has its background from its programs of UPE monitoring in the north and north eastern Uganda region, civic education program in secondary school and interactions with a number of both direct and indirect beneficiaries that include teachers, local leaders and the young people. The overall objective of the project is to strengthen the capacity of youth for sustainable social-economic development with greater attention to the environment. The project will address a number of challenges facing the young people today, which include: lack of marketable knowledge and skills for the current job market, unemployment, lack of mentors’ they can look up to in addressing individual and group conflicts in a nonviolent manner. More to that, the project will also use young people as agents of change to address the increasing destruction of the environment in the north and north eastern Uganda characterized by rampant cutting down of trees. The project will work in collaboration with the diocesan youth structures, the Justice and Peace Commissions and the diocesan media. A number of activities will be used to address this through a number of interventions that include:
Training of youths in various topics that include: entrepreneurship, environment, leadership, advocacy and conflict resolution etc
Formation of individual and group business plans
Mentoring and continuous follow up exercises to support formed groups
Assessment of group business plans and award of business grants
Use of media such as radio talk shows to increase awareness about key issues affecting youth and the communities they come from
Networking and collaboration strategy with the diocesan structures of youth Chaplains and Justice and Peace Coordinators
- Lobbying and Advocacy Initiatives to Improve Maternal Health
- Youth Empowerment Project
- Police Project
In a bid to influence duty bearers at the local government level to take action on the status of maternal health services, JPIIJPC together with its partners conducted a number of activities in Ngora and Nakapiripirit (10th-14th July 2016) and in Otuke and Amuru (25th-29th July 2016).
The activities conducted included: Lobby meetings, Community debates and Radio talk shows on Radio Pacis 101.4 fm in Gulu and Aisa 92.3 fm in Ngora respectively. Key participants in these activities included political leaders at the district level, technical staff working in the health -maternal health department, men and women at the community levels. One of the primary objectives of these lobbying and advocacy initiatives was to raise awareness about the current status of maternal health services, gaps, challenges, and available opportunities for women and men to exploit to demand for improvement of these services. Additionally, to identify efforts outlined by the districts in the financial year 2016/2017 regarding allocating funds for maternal health services. JPIIJPC also envisioned using this opportunity to lobby policy makers to prioritize maternal health issues in the various deliberations during council meetings/sessions.
Lobbying and Advocacy initiatives are key areas of our work carried out specifically to engage duty bearers and right holders to debate on key concerns affecting the people at the grassroots and there by agree on solutions to such challenges.
Consequently as a result of our lobbying and advocacy initiatives with technical and political leaders in the districts of Amuru, Ngora, Otuke and Nakapiripirit district a number of key achievements, challenges and areas of improvement were highlighted and these included:
During the radio talk show at Aisa 92.3 fm together with the staff of JPIIJPC and the District Director of Health Services Dr. Emmanuel Eilu as a guest speaker many issues of key importance to maternal health were raised from listeners. He started by appreciating the efforts undertaken by JPIIJPC and other CSOs to educate women and men about maternal health services and the role each individual can play to reduce on the number of maternal deaths. He stated that there are many challenges faced by the district in this area however, a lot has been done through partners like UNICEF, Baylor Uganda and the Ministry of Health. The most outstanding is the availability of an operating theatre at Ngora Health Centre IV, accommodation for midwives and regular supply of maternal health supplies from partners .That said there still exists many gaps and challenges. Therefore, he recommended the following to the community members:
Women and men should consider undertaking early ante-natal care services so as to detect any illnesses that may affect the health of the mother and child at an early stage
Families need to consider family planning and have children they can easily feed and effectively take care of
Families need to think of alternative sources of income to enhance their livelihoods e.g. he encouraged women to form SACCOs as networks to support each other
Men should take an active role to support their women to attend ante-natal visits
Pregnant mothers should eat a balanced diet characterized with fruits and other nutrients
Follow up monitoring visit
After successful empowerment of youths in the dioceses of Soroti, Lira, Gulu and Moroto, business ideas that started as a way to motivate them to be productive to their communities has resulted into tangible income generating projects. Piggery project was carefully selected by the three youth groups that include St. Joseph youth group, Jesus Followers and Bala youth group in Gulu, Soroti and Lira respectively. While conducting a follow up monitoring visit in Soroti, Toroma parish the group entitled Jesus Followers group engaging in piggery business has been able to manage their piggery project in a closed pig sty.
The project has attracted wider community participation of various stakeholders from the district, subcounty and other concerned village members. Youths from other parishes have visited the area and have been inspired to do something similar in the communities. The Subcounty chief of Toroma while visiting the project predicted the project becoming a model to other young people and pledged to continue supporting them.
In order to strengthen young people’s participation, JPIIJPC creates a platform to discuss, dialogue on key challenges, successes the youth are meeting along the way of implementation of the project. Together with the diocesan youth chaplain mentors are identified to continue supporting their development in different areas of their personality. Furthermore, radio talk shows together with the youth have also been undertaken to raise awareness about environmental conservation and the need to plant trees for the future.
The project is geared towards continuous engagement of different stakeholders including men and women from the dioceses.
JPIIJPC in collaboration with a number of partners have been contributing towards improving police – public relationship through implementation the project entitled “Strengthening a collaborative partnership between the police and civil society in ensuring security, law and order”. Following the various engagements in different regions including Kampala North and East, in 2015, JPIIJPC continued the implementation of the project in Kampala South.
In 2015, the Centre implemented the following activities:
Regional Police Trainings
Training of 60 police officers. The trainings took place from; 4th – 6th and 17th – 19th March 2015, 21st – 23rd April and 28th to 30th April 2015 at Eastern Route Hotel, Kireka – Kampala. The trainings aimed at contributing to police professionalism to ensure law and order by addressing the missing knowledge and skills gaps. The trained participants included: Division Police Commanders (DPCs), Community Liaison Officers (CLOs), Officers In charge of Operations (OCOs), Officers In-charge of Station (OCSs), and Officers in charge of Criminal Investigation Department (OCCID)).The line commanders were from 10 police posts/stations in Kampala South i.e. (Kajjansi, Nsangi, Entebbe, Kabalagala, Katwe, Mutundwe, Nabisaalu, CPS, Nabbingo, KMP South headquarters.
During the trainings, the topics were facilitated by resource persons from JPIIJPC, ACCU, NBS TV, Makerere University department of political science and the Uganda Police Force.
The topics trained on include; public order management and civil liberties, the Anti Torture act, the role of police in the electoral process: examining the principles and practice, the prospects of community policing, management of police operations, police and journalism, policing and human rights, controlling institutional corruption, criminal investigation, policing and the daily lives of people, police public accountability.
Key issues discussed in depth during the trainings equipped the police officers with knowledge about laws and their roles during elections, the role of police during public assemblies and demonstrations, how police officers should account to the members of the public from whom they derive their mandate. The trainings also helped the officers to clarify a number of issues regarding: how police officers should regulate public assemblies and demonstrations in a manner that does not interfere with civil liberties, how to reduce the allegations of rampant corruption in the Uganda police force and better approaches to fighting institutional corruption, better ways of handling investigations and handling suspects without torture.
After the training, the trained police officers’ committed themselves to the following action points: changing the way they deal with the community, Legality of their actions and working within the PLANN and senior officers sensitizing their junior personnel about the rule of law (Multiplier effect).
Recommendations: Equipping officers with alternative means of interrogation other than torture, extending the trainings to junior police officers, counselling of officers to address work related psychological trauma, Police should intensify its community policing initiatives in order to enhance the community’s appreciation of their role and that of the police, sensitizing the public also on respect for human rights and the laws.
Verbal Judo Training
30 line commanders from Kampala South who were part of the previously trained group of police officers were trained on another concept commonly known as Verbal Judo (tactical communication) by a trainer from Minimum Force Institute from South Africa from 6th to 8th July 2015. This was followed by training for 55 junior police officers from 9th to 11th July, from Kisugu and Kabalagala police stations on the same concept. During the trainings, the police officers were equipped with knowledge and skills on: The law of Enforcement, basic force options, conflict and peace phrases, the art of listening, representation, conflict resolution and mediation, how to apply appropriate force options, how to manage a confrontation and inappropriate actions of fellow officers, proper use of body language, how to take over or interrupt a heated conversation without causing resistance and how to handle verbal abuse, among others.
By the end of the trainings, the police officers confessed that it was a very educative, practical session based on real life experiences that helped them increase their confidence, morale and zeal during the execution of their duties. It equipped them with skills and a new approach to handle situations professionally, and the ability to defend themselves in case of an attack. The officers also anticipated that the knowledge obtained would help them reduce their stress and also to reduce the gap between the police and the public resulting from better communication.
Radio Talk Shows and Community Debate
John Paul II Justice and Peace Centre continues to use the media through radio talk shows as platform for social change in the communities. Through a project entitled: Strengthening Collaborative Partnership between the Police and Civil society, the centre builds the capacity of police officers through training in various topics that improve their professionalism. This is complimented with radio talk shows on various radio stations that include: Dembe radio, Akaboozi radio, Radio One, Metro FM etc. Through radio talk shows many marginalized communities in Kampala have realized a significant impact.
In Nsambya one of the outskirts surrounding the city; a group of more than 100 women has taken keen interest in following radio talk shows conducted between the staff of JPIIJPC and various police officers. Consequently, members in this group have been empowered to become advocates for women’s rights and other related health relates issues affecting women. Besides that, radio talk shows have also provided a platform for the public to air out their grievances to the police especially on key issues that have not been resolved well. The chairperson of the group emphasized that radio talk shows have helped in bringing community needs to the attention of the police and other stakeholders and this is a great milestone in her work with women in this group.
The group was also sensitized on the different types of crime including civil and criminal cases and where such crimes could be reported. Furthermore, related topics discussed included the Anti-Torture and circumstances a police bond can be given to a person. A representative from FIDA explained the gender stereotyping, gender analysis and gender division of labour and its implications, domestic violence, the types, handling domestic violence cases and provisions in the law to protect women against the vice.
During the debate women also highlighted a number of issues that hinder reporting their grievances to police. Among them included the poor police- community working relationship, fear to be detained for more than the constitutional hours in jail, mismanagement of files, impartiality, increasing demand for bribes etc.
Launch of the findings for the study entitled: Maternal mortality a human rights challenge
Capacity building training on lobbying, advocacy and gender for community monitors
Radio talk shows
Lobby meetings with policy makers at the local and national levels in the project areas of Ngora, Otuke, Amuru and Nakapiripirit
- Summary Report on conference held on the Pope Francis’s messages at JP2JPC, December 2015
- UPE Public Debate
A Monitoring Survey Report on the Police – Community Relationship, Clock tower Police post
The launch of anti-corruption campaign, celebrating 50 years of independence
Matany Hospital cut off from Uganda