by Kevin

Equal Opportunities Commission launched its 4th Annual Report on the state of equal opportunities in Uganda for Financial Year 2016/17 on Tuesday 19th September 2017.  The report was launched at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala by the Rt. Hon. Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Jacob Oulanyah.

This year’s theme was “Enhancing National Development through Equity and inclusion”.

Section 24, Subsection (2) and (3) of the EOC Act, 2007, mandates the Commission to annually publish, disseminate and submit a report to Parliament on the state of equal opportunities in the country.

The event was opened by the Ag. Secretary to the Commission, Prof Sunday Olwor who expressed his gratitude for all participants present. He noted that, “This year’s Report comes at a time when the world is concerned about inclusive and sustainable development as reflected in the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and the National Development Plan II (2015/16 – 2019/20), with a theme focusing on “Strengthening Uganda’s Competitiveness for Sustainable Wealth Creation, Employment and Inclusive Growth”.

While giving her opening remarks, the Chairperson Mrs. Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi explained that, “This year’s report covers the status of EOC’s performance, the extent to which Ministries, Departments and Agencies have implemented recommendations of last year’s annual report, compliance to gender and equity planning and budgeting, the state of equal opportunities in the health and social development sectors, as well as physical accessibility to the built-up environment.”

In her address she called for Parliament intervention in taking action and making decisions based on the report recommendations. She further highlighted the Commission’s achievements, the different recommendations to improve the SAGE programme and recommendations to review the public service salary structures.

Similarly, in an effort to create awareness on equal opportunities and affirmative action for promotion of inclusiveness, the Commission developed and disseminated various Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials – including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), brochures; and conducted sensitization and training workshops, and held public dialogues to create awareness.

Adding his voice to the call for Parliament to make a stand on the recommendations Uchenna Emelonye, Country Representative at United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights observed that this report is timely and will go a long way in amplifying the voices of the marginalized people in Uganda. He noted that the report  could not have been disseminated at a better time. He commended EOC for the job well done.

Hon. Jacob Oulanyah observed that EOC has published a number of reports some of which need compliance checks with what National Planning Authority has proposed. He added, “The future of our nation depends on the issues we attach. When people feel marginalized, they begin doubting and feel excluded.”

He agreed with them and urged everyone to embrace equal opportunities and inclusion. “My frontline is where I am as Deputy Speaker, when one soldier goes down, my frontline weakens.”

He tasked Parliament Chairpersons and members of Equal Opportunities and Gender, Labour and Social Development committee to table the reports and act on the various recommendations that have been laid out by EOC.

He also used the same platform to launch the Commission’s maiden newsletter, ‘Equity Voice’ and corporate wear.

Dr. Donald Rukare the key discussant applauded EOC for the well written report and recommended that they undertake a perception survey. He added that tribunal decisions should be compiled and published in the report, and urged them to give readers insights on the methodologies used and recommended that they provide interpretation of certain clauses in the country’s Constitution.

He further applauded the EOC staff for the uphill task undertaken and the good work done in writing the report.

In his closing remarks, Mr Dennis Nduhura the Vice Chairperson EOC thanked UN Human Rights for the support given towards the success of this launch and pledged to continuously work in partnership to ensure imbalances are redressed and equal opportunities are promoted for all.

Hon. Jacob Oulanyah endorsing the report.

Left to right: Dr. Kisamba Mugerwa (NPA), Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi (EOC) and Uchenna Emelonye (UN Human Rights)

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