The human rights-based approach to disability in Uganda highlights the importance of attaining the full potential of persons with disabilities in both physical and mental terms.
In addition to this, the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2006 makes provisions for eliminating all forms of discrimination against people with disabilities and for equal opportunities. The Local Government Act, 1997 also provides for the representation of disabled people at the various local council levels. However, implementation of these interventions has been slow or non-existent.
Under its Philanthropy for Development Programme (domain-one), Uganda National NGO Forum seeks to unlock the collective power of local communities represented by Civil Society Actors (CSAs) to express their opinions through community philanthropy, and this includes persons with disabilities.
In partnership with the First African Bicycle Information Organization (FABIO), a capacity enhancement session for councillors of Persons with Disabilities at lower local government was held in Jinja district. The training aimed to improve the ability of councillors to effectively represent citizens with disabilities at the sub-county level.
The councillors’ capacities were built on values-driven leadership as well as their roles and responsibilities; this enlightened them on the importance of critical thinking, balancing the interests of local government and the qualities of a good leader. More importantly, they acquired a deeper understanding of how to lobby.
The training was indeed an answered prayer to the councillors who had attributed their inefficiencies and inadequacies in service delivery to lack of induction besides discrimination, low self-esteem, and having limited access to information.
They appreciated the training, as evidenced by one of them saying, “This training has boosted my self-esteem and I now feel empowered enough to represent my people.”