We also learned how to provide leadership on council decisions thereby ensuring that council resolutions do not remain on paper but are followed through to implementation, and to make motions that favored issues affecting women. For example, we resolved that at least twenty women’s groups would receive agricultural support from the district budget every financial year. This is still implemented to date. We also successfully passed a motion which closed gambling shops in the district because of their impact on household incomes and children.
We learned that it was not enough to get into the council; it was also important to win leadership within the council, such as committee chairperson or council speaker, because this enhanced our influence. We learned to work across party lines for this to happen. My district is a stronghold for the Uganda People’s Congress Party; however, other women councilors voted for me to chair the Finance, Administration and Planning Committee, despite coming from the National Resistance Movement Party.
This experience has been extremely empowering for me. I was exposed to and challenged by many strong women leaders like Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, and I, in turn, have become a trainer for other women in local councils using the experiences from my now ten years in the district council and the lessons learned from these groups.
The training exposed me to the world and made me acutely aware of the need to increase my education. I had stopped school at the end of my ordinary level certificate (high school). After being in council, I realized that if I was to grow in my leadership, I needed to go back to school, finish my advanced level certificate and go to University.
I am now in my second year at Makerere University, and I am on schedule to graduate in January 2023.
I would have never walked this journey or been effective without, first, community encouragement and then the training, exposure and mentoring support of the organizations mentioned above. This is true for me and many other youth and women in political offices.