On 8th March 2017, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) participated in the International Women’s Days celebrations which were held in Dokolo district at Dokolo Technical School. The celebrations were graced by H.E Yoweri Kagutta Museveni – President of the Republic of Uganda and the Chief guest, the first Lady – Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni, the Rt. Hon Speaker of Parliament – Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament – Hon. Jacob Oulanya, Central Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, other Government dignitaries, representatives of employers and workers, civil society and the general public.
The Commission was represented by Mr. Joel Cox Ojuko – Member of the Commission, Mr. Sunday Nicholas Olwor – Acting Secretary to the Commission, Mr. Julius Kamya – Commissioner Education Training Information and Communication, Ms. Petua Isabirye – Principal Education and Training Officer, Mr. Juma Waira – Senior Education and Training Officer and other technical staff.
In his speech, the President informed the congregation that top on the NRM government’s agenda is the welfare of women. He urged women to acquire entrepreneurial skills and called upon women activists to engage women in skills development for self-reliance since they can be game changers at all levels if organized well. The President said women’s rights have been integrated in government programmes like education, health and infrastructure to improve their livelihoods and noted that emphasis needs to be put on wealth creation to among women. This, he said, will be addressed through attracting investors to establish more factories which can employ women.
“Since the country has got enough electricity supply, more factories should be established since they can employ a good magnitude of people including women,’’ Museveni said.
The President also pledged to support exhibitors at the various events because they have good innovations.
In her remarks, Hon. Janat Mukwaya – Minister of Gender Labour and Social development said that a women’s fund had been established as had been promised during the 2015 International women’s day celebrations. She said the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme was established for economic empowerment and poverty alleviation among women and that 115 districts had so far benefited from it since its inception.
Ms. Rosa Malango – the UN Resident coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Uganda said the UN in Uganda is providing capacity building for enacting and implementing laws on gender and equality and supporting the empowerment of women and the girl child nationwide. She however noted that there are still serious hurdles which disadvantage women from accessing land, credit, education, and market opportunities despite the conducive policy and legal environment in the country. As thus, Ms. Malango made an appeal to government to promote women’s rights and advocate for an end to violence against women and early child marriage.
The celebrations were adorned with a series of activities which included hand over of dummy cheques of the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme to beneficiary groups. The cheques amounting to 70 million were handed over to different women groups in Dokolo district by the President. The President also awarded women who have demonstrated support for women empowerment with accolades and also handed over motorcycles to Dokolo district leadership to help in the monitoring and evaluation of government programmes in the region.
The celebrations also included a match – past which the Commission fully participated in. Other activities included exhibitions, music and poetry from children and women groups.