On 6th March 2017, the Equal Opportunities Commission convened a meeting with the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda to pave way for enhancing the visibility of disability issues in the Sectoral and Ministerial Policy Statements during the respective planning and budgeting cycles. The meeting was held at the Commission’s offices in the presence of Ms. Zaminah Malole – Member of the Commission, Mr. Joel Cox Ojuko – Member of the Commission, Mr. Patrobas Sirabo Wafula – Member of the Commission, Mr. Mannesseh Kwihangana – Senior Compliance Officer and Mr. Juma Waira – Senior Education and Training Officer. As a result, this has continuously made disability issues invisible in their respective plans and budgets.
On behalf of NUDIPU, the meeting was attended by Ms. Esther Kyozira – Programmes manager, Mr. Hassan Waddimba – Programmes associate, Mr. S. Nkulinga and Ms. Angella Balabe.
The representatives from NUDIPU noted that the technical staff responsible for planning and budgeting in Ministries, Departments and Agencies are not conversant with disability issues and therefore lack comprehensive interventions on disability in their Gender and Equity compacts. As a result, this has continuously made disability issues invisible in their respective plans and budgets. The team also noted that there is a task force responsible for assessing sectoral plans, budgets and ministerial statements but lack comprehensive knowledge on the evolving concept of disability and its challenges. NUDIPU made a case too that there are types of disabilities and thus requested the Commission to create awareness on all these types.
Since the Equal Opportunities Commission is mandated to make recommendations to Ministry of Finance on which institutions should be awarded gender and equity compliance certificates, NUDIPU requested EOC to permit persons with disabilities to be part of the assessment team so that they can provide technical backstopping on disability matters during the assessments. They further requested the Commission to share the compacts to enable NUDIPU make its input. Moreso, NUDIPU made an inquiry as to when EOC will be sensitizing Local Governments on Gender and Equity, assessing their budgets and also requested the Commission to set a deadline for validation and dissemination of the health and education compacts. NUDIPU also proposed that a disability compact be developed to track disability issues.
Member Zaminah expressed gratitude to NUDIPU for its efforts in mainstreaming gender and equity issues and for its continued support towards the EOC since its inception. In response to NUDIPU’s concerns, she informed the team that the compacts of some sectors had never been concluded but that EOC will share with NUDIPU those which were concluded. She also pledged to share the Ministerial Development Plans to enable NUDIPU make its input. She noted that vulnerable persons are excluded from institutional plans but that the Commission is addressing this through the assessments of ministerial policy statements and budget framework papers. Ms. Malole further noted that the concept of gender and equity budgeting is still new to the public but through its sensitization workshops, the EOC will ensure all institutions acquire knowledge of the concept. She requested NUDIPU to prepare and participate in the National Development Plan 3 so as to make input on the issues which were not addressed in the second National Development Plan 2.
Member Ojuko informed NUDIPU that the assessment tools for institutional budgets were developed and that these address the interests of PWDs. He added that the Commission has unlimited powers to ensure inclusion of all marginalized persons in budgets including Persons With Disabilities because of its mandate and therefore reassure NUDIPU that the concerns raise will be addressed.
NUDIPI is an umbrella organization that brings together various categories of persons with disabilities including those with physical, mental and sensory impairments.