Let’s uplift the vulnerable

Author: Denise Tusiime. PHOTO/FILE/COURTESY 

What you need to know:

  • The elimination of all forms of discrimination and inequalities is critical to addressing Uganda’s development concerns.

Section 24 (2) and (3) of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act, 2007, mandates the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) to publish, disseminate and submit to Parliament annual reports on the state of equal opportunities in the country.

In this regard, the EOC last week launched the report under the theme “Unlocking socio-economic potential for inclusive development”. In the last financial year, the Commission conducted several activities to strengthen equal opportunities and affirmative action compliance. They included assessment of the National Budget Framework Paper (NBFP), Vote, Ministerial Policy Statements (MPS), and Local Government Budget Framework Papers (LGBFPs).

The Commission also developed tools, and guidelines and conducted training for Members of Parliament to support their oversight role. In addition, the Commission conducted research and audits to identify gaps and propose recommendations that redress discrimination and marginalisation.

Interaction with employers revealed that gender stereotypes about women’s employment for some jobs or industries still persist. For instance, women were perceived not to be eligible to work in “hard manufacturing factories” like steel and construction that require a lot of energy but rather in soft manufacturing industries. This attitude, if not transformed, is likely to affect the government’s gains in addressing gender inequality and women’s empowerment.

Much as there has been a significant change in employers’ attitudes toward the employment of persons with disabilities, very few have committed themselves to designing deliberate interventions or policies aimed at promoting inclusive employment policies. This has been exacerbated by challenges in ensuring reasonable accommodation at the workplace.

A number of women, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, and those from hard-to-reach areas that interacted with the Commission noted that they lacked inputs, technology and access to financial services to help them increase production. This would enable them to boost their incomes by improving and expanding their production. The Commission found out that the common markets available to vulnerable groups included daily markets, middlemen, and weekly markets, while some of the respondents said they sold their produce using cooperatives and online marketing arrangements.

Whereas there were strides made in availing relief to support the vulnerable groups and the communities, it was ascertained during the assessment that the support relief given was inadequate.

The elimination of all forms of discrimination and inequalities is critical to addressing Uganda’s development concerns, especially for the vulnerable groups.

The Commission, therefore, recommends that the government establishes user-friendly and appropriate storage and value-added facilities for farmers. Government should also revive and promote co-operatives that can easily carry out collective bargaining, as well as bulk marketing and sellingThe Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) should affirmatively plan and budget for relief interventions targeting the vulnerable.

The OPM should also support Local Governments develop district-specific disaster management plans. The government should plan, budget, promote and support biogas as the main source of energy to cause a shift from the use of wood and charcoal in order to increase environmental conservation. 

The critical role played by the EOC must be upheld and supported because the country cannot realise its transformation agenda without attending to the needs of vulnerable people, which are often ignored.

Ms Denise Tusiime is a social critic and member of the Equal Opportunities Commission.


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.