ALL Blogs

How the Proposed Digital Service Tax Threatens Women’s Right of Access to Information

For any economy and its people to thrive, a fair and just taxation system must be in existence. On November 14th, 2020, the Nile Post, a popular news tabloid reported that the government of the Republic of Uganda through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development intends to levy a new digital service tax on online audio and video content providers in the next financial year. This was announced by Moses Kaggwa, the director of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance on November 13th, 2020 while addressing attendants at the side-lines of the Forum aimed at putting the youth at the forefront of fiscal governance for a better Uganda. Kaggwa argued that the justification for the proposed digital service tax is one way to widen the country’s tax base so as to facilitate or fund its budget.

“We can amalgamate or match the transactions that have been done in the country or together with their value and we tax that base on the gross. We can have a tax linked to gross revenue from Uganda but we need corporation,” Moses Kaggwa said.

Key amongst the audio and visual content providers that will be affected by this policy if passed include; Netflix, iTunes, H.B.O., Amazon’s Prime Video, and Spotify. Unlike Over The Top (OTT) tax, the proposed digital service tax will be levied directly upon the service providers and not the end consumer of the services although, in the long run, it will be the final consumer to feel the pinch.

          

        PHOTO CAPTIONNetflix will be one of the audio and visual content providers upon which the digital service tax shall be levied. Source: Pexels

This move by the state has received criticism from a section of the public which refers to the proposed tax as unjust and unfair. Firstly, the proposed digital service tax expressly violates the “Equality” principle of a fair taxation system. This principle as explained by its proponent Professor Adam Smith who argued that a tax or tax system should be fair in its application to all tax payers. He adds that taxes should be based on an individual’s ability to pay and therefore, it is only fair that those with more income pay higher taxes than those with less. The “Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development” report by the UN Women indicates that 70% of the world’s poorest people are women with the 4.4 million women more than men earning less 1.90$ a day. WOUGNET reports that only about 37 percent of women surveyed in ten selected cities in the world, Kampala inclusive are found to be using the internet compared to 59 percent of males yet the newly adopted UN SDGS include an important pledge to harness information and ICTS to advance and empower women. This clearly shows that women are more likely to be burdened by the digital service tax as compared to men who statistically have more disposable income. Therefore, the Ministry of Finance and all stake holders ought to conduct a tax impact assessment on the proposed digital service tax because it affects women more. 

Additionally, the proposed digital service tax undermines women’s right of access to information as stipulated under Article 41 of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the S.5 of the Access to Information Act of 2005. These provisions state that every individual in Uganda has right of access to information which includes that found on the internet. Considering the fact that women account for majority of the population that is under the poverty line, the proposed digital service tax is most likely to hinder women’s access to information availed by most of these digital service providers hence increasing the Digital Gender Divide. This only serves to undermine the great efforts that most stakeholders like WOUGNET have invested in ensuring that they close the gender gap in terms of access to information through use and access to the Internet. Recently while showing how the restriction of social network through the social media tax is a violation of human rights, Katerie Lakpa from WOUGNET in her article argued that sharing and receiving information freely is fundamental to democratic systems. In fact, real decisions should not be taken without relevant and accurate information. Similarly, the proposed digital service tax will only stifle the enjoyment of women’s fundamental right of accessing information availed by the affected service providers.

For these reasons, it is WOUGNET’s stand that the proposed digital service tax should not be passed because it is unreasonable, unnecessary, unfair and therefore unconstitutional. Additionally, the state should carry out an impact assessment of the proposed service tax to determine its inconsistences with civil rights and liberties.

Cover photo: PHOTO CAPTION: A woman browsing the internet. Source: Pexels

Written By: Iribagiza David

Communications Intern        

Girls in ICT Day 2020 Celebration: What does it mean for Girls in Tech

The International Girls in ICT day was celebrated on April 23, 2020, with the theme “Inspiring the Next Generations.” One would ask, what is being done to inspire the next generations of young women and girls to embrace Tech?

Information and Communications Technology [ICT] is still a critical need for girls and women. As you may all be aware, technology plays a critical role in our daily lives. It helps in setting our career path, to access information, and express views on issues or things that concern us daily. However, most women and girls join the tech field at an old age. For more women to join the ICT sectors, learning ICTs for girls should start at a young age and this will be able to prepare them to strive for ICT related jobs and courses [subjects].

When Girls join the tech field at a young age, they will become creators and designers instead of being users of tech only and they will create an inclusive environment that will give birth to more digital children.

Albeit, the presence of women in the ICT arena does not guarantee attention to gender issues because ICTs are socially constructed and impact men and women differently. Most women and girls remain excluded from the benefits of the internet and they face increasing marginalization.

When unwomenNG [@unwomenNG] wrote on the twitter page--- “Women & girls remain underrepresented in #STEM fields despite global action calls for gender balance. On #GirlsinICTDay, we must continue to tackle gender biases & stereotypes linking science to masculinity & encourage young girls to pursue courses in #STEM,”---April 23, 2020.

Eleanor Sarpong  [@Ellasarpong] replied to the above tweet and said--- “We continue to have fewer girls in #STEM across the world. We need families to encourage their girls to pursue and stay in these fields. I’ve been there and I know the power of strong mentors. We need more of them. So let's join forces !!! Happy #GirlsinICTDay #GirlsInICT2020,”---on  April 23, 2020.

However, there are still few women and girls in ICT which has been caused by factors such as digital illiteracy, limited affordability of ICT based services, lack of tech know-how and not having a degree especially in low developed countries,  however, the reality still remains that in the future, Jobs will be driven by technology and innovations.

Yet girls still study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics [STEM] at a lower rate than boys, they often feel societal pressure and cultural norms work against them while seeking employment and advancement in tech careers, they still face lack of self-confidence and suffer from feelings of inferiority, girls still lack support and understanding, girls still face cultural biases regarding their place in the society and their roles as women at home.

Girls are actually willing to join ICT fields but they are driven off by what society says and think they are, what some teachers who should be encouraging them, and uplifting them to study ICT say. Tech being a male-dominated field, girls also lack female role models and mentors to encourage and let them know that Girls too can study ICT courses and pursue careers in ICT sectors. Unfortunately, sometimes it is the parents who nurture their children believing that tech fields are only for men or boys and in case of opportunities, priorities are given to the male child to study or work.

Due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus [COVID19] which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. On March 16, 2020, the Ugandan president [Yoweri Katugga Museveni] addressed the nation and ordered the closure of all public gatherings and events for 21 days. The closure of schools which brings a total of almost 15 million young Ugandans going home was among the public gatherings mentioned to be closed during the government’s address.

With this outbreak of COVID19, many parents had to resort to homeschooling for their children with no hope of the schools opening soon. However, most of the parents are hit hardest by this pandemic which caught many unaware and not prepared for homeschooling for their children. The internet and ICT may seem the only options for parents to access relevant subjects to teach their children.

In a bid to ensure that children continue learning during this period of lockdown caused by COVID19, the Ministry of Education and Sports with the guidance of the National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC), has recently developed harmonized and standardized self-study lesson packages for all core subjects for Primary and Secondary learners. This is only possible with access to the internet and ICT tools.

The majority of parents especially females may not have the required skills to use the ICT tools to access the internet and get required topics relevant for their children as many may not have the tech know-how. It is one thing to have basic ICT skills but also another thing to surf the web and get whatever information you want.

Additionally, based on the gender division of labor, many of the household chores are done by girls, and less is done by the male child which is affecting girls’ access to effective learning as most of their time is spent doing household chores.

Uganda Christian University recently announced that university students would do online examinations without considering how many of these university students actually have access to computers, whether they have digital skills and whether they live in an environment that allows ICT use in terms of infrastructures.

This pandemic has made the world realize how important ICT and the internet are for more Girls to join ICT Careers and jobs.

According to the International Telecommunication Union [ITU], in 2019, Girls in ICT Day events reached an estimated 20,000 girls but this might have not been possible this year. What does this mean for girls in ICT?

The International Girls in ICT day aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the growing fields of ICTs.

Even though many efforts have been done to achieve this, a lot are still seen as a struggle to overcome these barriers for more girls to study and even take up careers in tech.

During the World Wide Web Foundation celebration of its 31st birthday of the web this year [2020], the foundation released a report and cited that the web is not yet favorable for women and girls as nearly  “two billion women across the globe can’t access the web at all which deprive them of the opportunities to learn, earn and have their voices heard,” according to the 2020 Web Foundation report. With the COVID19 outbreak, the internet has been the only accessible platform to get information and learn, although the web is still not favorable for women and girls who have been hit hardest by COVID19 negative impact. The 2018 lugambo tax still continues to widen the gender digital divide and affects children’s learning while at home during this lockdown.

Experts say tech can be a lonely and sometimes an intimidating field for women. But this can be overcome by having role models, mentors, and parents encouraging their daughters to study tech subjects.

@GradeScore [@achom_lillian] wrote on her twitter explaining why the emphasis should be on girls--- ‘" Why the girls and not the boys in ICT mentorship" The world confirms that more boys are into ICTs than girls, hence the emphasis on girls. But I agree that boys need mentorship programs to respect women & girls #GirlsinICT  @maureenagena @ekisesta @UhuruTelecoms @jossiemiliza,”---April 23, 2020.

The government through the ministry of ICT and National Guidance in Uganda should be able to let everyone know what ICT companies and government agencies are doing for girls to better understand the opportunities the ICT sector holds for the future.

Girls need to be inspired and engaged for more young girls and women to take up STEM studies as a career opportunity, create awareness for a better tomorrow, bridge the gender gaps and reduce inequality.

This can only be done by:

  • Admitting the problem of gender inequality in the ICT workforce.
  • Convincing the media to develop storylines that include women characters that have ICT careers and
  • Creating communities of support for girls and young women in the ICT sector. 

The Web Foundation [@webfoundation] wrote on twitter--- “Until we close the digital gender gap, girls will not have equal opportunities to use technology, become engineers & shape the industry. On #GirlsInICT Day, join us to build a better online world for women & girls. #ForEveryone #WebWeWant,”---April 23, 2020.

For women and girls to do ICT related subjects and take up ICT careers, we should not focus on “who is” but rather “what is” to avoid saying male or female. Also, women should uplift fellow women and remember that action is asking for what you can do for others, and Multiplication is asking for what you can do with others.  

With these recommendations, I only imagine a world where more girls and young women will create and have a conducive environment for fellow women to join ICT sectors that will also have a huge impact on Uganda’s productivity.

Composed by:

Sandra Aceng - Program Officer Gender and ICT policy advocacy

What do you know about typosquatting?

What is typosquatting?

Typosquatting, also called URL hijacking, a sting site, or a fake URL, is a form of cybersquatting, and possibly brandjacking which relies on mistakes such as typos made by Internet users when inputting a website address into a web browser. Should a user accidentally enter an incorrect website address, they may be led to any URL (including an alternative website owned by a cybersquatter).[1]

The typosquatter's URL will usually be one of five kinds, all similar to the victim site address (e.g. example.com):

  • A common misspelling, or foreign language spelling, of the intended site: exemple.com
  • A misspelling based on typos: examlpe.com
  • A differently phrased domain name: examples.com
  • A different top-level domain: example.org
  • Abuse of the Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD): example.cm by using .cm, example.co by using .co, or example.om by using .om. A person leaving out a letter in .com in error could arrive at the fake URL's website.

Similar abuses:

  • Combosquatting - no misspelling, but appending an arbitrary word that appears legitimate, but that anyone could register. "Combosquatting is around one hundred times more common than typosquatting.": example-security.com
  • Doppelganger domain - omitting a period: financeexample.com (instead of finance.example.com)
  • Extra period: e.xample.com
  • Appending terms to name an intuitive name for a gripe site: example-sucks.com or examplesucks.com

Consider this scenario: 

You type the name of a website in your browser, but you accidentally misspell it. So instead of typing facebook.com, you type faceboo.com, or instead of typing twitter.com, you type twiter.com. In most cases, the mistake is harmless. You'll either get an error that the site can't be found, or the misspelled domain name will lead you to the correct one if the company has purchased and registered the incorrect name.

In other cases, however, that misspelled name could actually lead you to a site from a rival company or even to a malicious site. Now imagine that happening to your own organization's website. A report released Wednesday by Digital Shadows describes the sneaky process of typosquatting (purchasing and redirecting a misspelled domain name), how it's affecting websites for several presidential candidates, and how it can affect a company.

In its research into typosquatting, Digital Shadows discovered more than 550 fake election domains set up against the 19 Democrats and four Republicans running for president as well as Republican Party funding sites. Among these counterfeit but registered Internet domain names, 68% redirect to another domain, often from a rival candidate. For example, the address Tulsi2020.co redirects to marianne2020.com. The address elizibethwarren.com redirects to donaldjtrump.com. The address winrde.com, a misspelling of WinRed.com, a platform to raise funds for Republican candidates, redirects to ActBlue, a fundraising site for the Democratic Party.

However, typosquatting can also lead a user to a malicious site. In its research, Digital Shadows found that six domains affecting Democratic Party candidates Joe Biden, Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang, as well as party funding pages, redirect to Google Chrome extensions for "file converter" or "secure browsing." If downloaded and installed, these extensions can be used to infringe on voter privacy and potentially deploy malware, according to the report.

Out of the more than 550 typosquatted domains, 66 were hosted on the same IP address and possibly operated by the same person. As Digital Shadows points out, that shows how easy and fast it can be for someone to register multiple fake domains, a problem that's likely to get worse the closer we get to the November 2020 Presidential election.

"Setting up a fake domain is easy with virtually no checks from the organization selling the address," Harrison Van Riper, a research analyst at Digital Shadows, said in a press release. "It's easy for malicious actors to dupe voters and just as easy to impersonate brands and companies to commit fraud. It's a problem we see every day."

In its report, Digital Shadows provides words of advice both for voters and for organizations to protect themselves against typosquatting and fake domains.

For voters concerned about fraud:

  • Ask someone about a suspicious site. If you think a political website looks suspicious, ask your spouse, a friend, or a colleague to check the site before you make a donation or sign up for a newsletter.
  • Confirm the validity of a political website. Look at the candidate's social media page or network. Often, candidates will post or highlight their official domain names on their social media accounts.
  • Check out official donation information. If you want to donate to a certain campaign, seek out its official donation information first. Be wary of linked websites included in unsolicited emails as that's a tactic used by malicious actors to deploy phishing pages.

For organizations concerned about their own websites:

  • Buy domains that are similar to yours. Make sure to purchase them before others swoop in. Some obvious candidates are domains that are one or two letters off from your own domain.
  • Use DNSTwister. Use a tool such as DNSTwister to generate a list of currently active domains. This information can track down domains that might already be impersonating your brand and help you come up with ideas for domain names to purchase.
  • Monitor registration activity. Monitoring the registration activity of several domains can be challenging and time-consuming. But this is one of the best ways to detect possible squatting activities. "Digital Shadows' Practical Guide to Reducing Digital Risk contains several free tools and techniques which can be used to monitor for domain registration activity," Van Riper told TechRepublic. "DNS Twist (or the web-based DNSTwister) is an excellent tool for generating domain permutations, along with checking them for registration and hosting activity. Similarly, Phishing Catcher looks specifically for domains that are hosting content on similar types of domains. These can be used to keep an eye on suspicious domains to see when MX records are added, or content starts being hosted."

Ref: WIKIPEDIATechrepublicimage

Compiled by:

Letowon Saitoti Abdi

Senior Technical Support officer

My Experience Getting Started with Cherie Blair Foundation

Cherie Blair Foundation (CBF) is a mentorship programme for women in business where young women entrepreneurs in Uganda and other countries are matched with mentors from different parts of the world under CBF aimed at enabling women in business gain more knowledge and skills on how best they can improve on their businesses based on the mentees’ interest and request. In Uganda, CBF works with Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) to help identify potential women entrepreneurs who have access to the internet to be part of the online mentorship programme.

The mentorship programme starts with a few selected women being nominated and I was happy to be among the few nominees for the May 2017 cycle which run for a period of one year.

The foundation shortly gave the nominees a test for the mentees to be considered fully for the mentorship programme. This was not as simple as I had thought it would be because the CBF shared a number of handouts to be read before the test but fortunate enough I qualified for the one-year mentorship. The interesting part was that there was no deadline for the test through a specific period was set for it, so you have to apparently execute the test when ready.

CBF matched me with a mentor from the Czech Republic after filling in an application form on what I expected to learn from the mentorship programme. Based on the mentorship programme, it is the mentee to drive the conversation but my mentor was so gratis and emailed me first. This built our relationship so strong and made me so ecstatic since my mind was so puzzled with thoughts on how I could possibly communicate to my mentor since this was the very first time I was having a mentor who again resides in another country.

We (my mentor and I) got to know each other and I was delighted that we shared a little in common. This was followed by a suggested topic to be discussed for our next meeting.

The first day of our online meeting was on a WhatsApp video call and we started by getting to know each other more, why I got interested in the mentorship programme and I also shared with her the situation of women in Uganda.

I have gained a lot from the mentorship programme since I was able to set a goal, mission and vision for my business. I with the help of my mentor also designed an action plan, a business plan and we also came up with a development strategy in order to enable my business progress. We discussed the challenges I have faced for my business and this enabled me to come up with ways forward. I was able to lay down strategies, develop a SWOT analysis, approaches, set a timeline and answer the questions of why what, who, when and how about my business.

Besides what I learnt, I got so interested in how to design a business plan for the business because this enabled me to plan so well for the business and answer questions of who are my potential customers, how do I plan to bring the products on the market and how to recover my investment and among others.

CBF of mentoring women in business is a very impactful programme especially for the women entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses and for those women interested in starting up a business. I am so grateful to CBF because I have learnt a lot and I know many women entrepreneurs do not get the opportunity which only requires you to have access to the internet to learn.

However because of the limited access to the internet especially in Uganda due to the high cost of mobile phones, the introduction of social media taxes by Ugandan Government in June 2018 and high cost of internet bundles. Women as well earn 30-50% less than men according to the 2015 Web Foundation research report which Uganda was part. This shall affect women entrepreneurs especially SMEs from benefiting in this program due to limited access to the internet and affordability of the ICT tools to join the online mentorship programme.

I advise the mentorship programme to find a way to make the programme also benefit other entrepreneurs offline because there are a number of women who have the ideas of business or are already in business especially in the rural areas but they lack mentorship to grow their businesses.

By: 

Sandra Acheng

Gender and ICT Policy advocacy office

Cultural Norms, Beliefs and Values: The Reconstruction of Stereotypes on Women

The saying goes, “behind every successful man, there is a woman” however many men are still blind about women’s values.

Over the past decade, women have been restricted from a lot of opportunities. This has been constructed on cultural values, norms, beliefs plus the prevailing stereotypes on women. For instance, globally women are believed to be weak, submissive, emotional, inferior and that they do not think among other stereotypes. These are constructed within a couple of institutions such as households, schools, workplaces, culture, the media, and religion plus the community at large. Women are denied equal access to the decision making process at home and even at workplaces. They have limited opportunities to education, access to technology and control over the property which is of more emphasis because property inheritance is in favor of a boy child as usually being the heir in African culture.

Different strategies have been employed in the private and public spheres by the Ugandan government to advocate for women’s issues and the unsatisfactory treatment imposed on women. These among many include; the girl child education by the government of Uganda through Universal Primary Education (UPE) Universal Secondary Education (USE) and affirmative action in joining the university and parliamentary seats.

There is support from Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) for instance Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) which is innovatively empowering women to use ICTs for social change by conducting Digital literacy training to ensure more women access and use the internet for development purposes and deconstruct the stereotypes on technology usage by women. UWONET, FOWODE, ACFODE, AMWA, MEMPROW among other Women’s Rights Organizations have played a tremendous role.

A number of women have been great examples in implementing the role and importance of women in challenging stereotypes imposed on them. For example;

The Deputy Speaker of parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, a lawyer and politician. She made history when the 9th parliament overwhelmingly supported her bid for speaker and elected her to become the first Ugandan woman to occupy the position of a speaker. In this, a woman was able to compete for the same position as a man which has increased the visibility of women in politics in Uganda. In addition to the 30 percent of reserved seats for women in the Ugandan parliament to increase women’s participation in politics and public spheres. Her victory was viewed as an indicator of her capabilities, competence, determination, and confidence which is an inspiration to many young women. With Kadaga as the speaker, Uganda has achieved much desired enhanced integration of critical gender issues into laws, policies, budgets, and legislative debates. She has contributed to women’s empowerment through her involvement in the national campaigns on raising awareness on cervical and breast cancer, ending female genital mutilation and among others.

In media we have Ms. Maria Kiwanuka, who launched and headed radio one FM 90, opened Akaboozi Ku Bbiri 87.9 FM, and created a YouTube channel for Radio One making it the first radio station in Uganda to incorporate online programming. She also broke the stereotypes that men are the initiators and innovators in the field of technology. https://www.monitor.com.ug/national

There are other women and men who have worked tooth and nail to uplift the status of other women through sensitization, counseling, and guidance. This is evident in the current incident of the passing away of former Uganda’s prime minister prof Apollo Nsibambi. He held positions such as the first non-head of state chancellor of Makerere University, Minister of Education and Public service, Dean of the Faculty of Social Science (MAK) among others.

With all the positions he held to honor and integrity and discovered a lot of potential in a girl child thus he ended up choosing one of his daughters to be the heir.

This was not a secret, daddy used to talk about it openly that one of his daughters would be his heir and that the heir will be initiated in the church”, Juliet Kasujja Nsibambi youngest daughter of the deceased proved.

This was a shock to some individuals for example in Buganda and other cultures, it is not common for a girl to be an heir to her father’s property and unusual to the Fumbe clan to which he belonged. But this was not the case to his family and friends.

This was again supported by religious leaders as Namirembe cathedral Dean, Rev Benon Kityo proved the congregation that the Bible okays daughters to be heirs to their fathers and quoted the book of Numbers chapter 27:8 &9. https://www.independent.co.ug/ap...

This proved that men like women have the same ability to attend to different opportunities and responsibilities assigned to them so women should be given a chance to exercise their potential. It also places women in public spheres and at the forefront of the country’s development. Still, the late’s choice calls for equal observation of humanity that is in individual capabilities and potentially more than focusing and basing on the gender, culture and its related issues like norms, beliefs, values, behaviors, and customs. This has positively impacted on the work of women, women activists, feminists, Women’s Rights Organizations and other NGOs.

We should all stand up in reconstructing, challenging and breaking the cultural norms, beliefs, values and the prevailing stereotypes imposed on women as a sign of oppression through introduction of women into public spheres, inclusion of women in top positions and responsibilities while observing to discover their potential than being formal and objective in cultural related issues.

“What a man can do, a woman can do it better”

Compiled by:

Florence Nalukwata- Intern Gender & ICT

Youth Urged to Provide Evidence to Influence Public Policy

On the 21st march 2019, during the youth 4 polciy public dialogue and the launch of the second cohort fellowship that was held at Sheraton hotel in Kampala by KAS Uganda in partnership with Centre for Development Alternatives (CDA) and Public Policy Institute (IPP), offered a platform for 8 youth4policy fellows to present and discuss their policy research. It was noted that public policy was not realizing their outcomes  and it was seen that there was need  to apply political policy analysis in order to influence policy processes and identify entry points to influence the policy outcomes since non state actors do a lot of policy research.

Youth4policy programme which is aimed at empowering the next generation of policy influencers was advised to include women in politics and young people considering the fact that young people are more aware of the responsibilities that come with a privilege since they have something to offer because of  their education and experience in policy.

Mr. Henry Mbaguta, the Commission Financial Services- Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development  while giving a key note address at the public dialogue, gave an insight on the opportunities and constraints for youth in influencing public policy in Uganda,  cited that financial services need a lot of policy debate. As Uganda has one of the youngest population in the world, with youth experiencing high rate of youth unemployment leading to criminal activities, policies should be designed to respond to such challenges for the social and economic transformation of the country although youth are still facing challenges that constrain  them to participate in policy processes such as their mindset and failure to address challenges in the societies. He urged for youths’ perspective to be mainstreamed in policy, establish platforms such as youth platform and participate in the implementation of approved policies. He advised Youth4Policy programme to work together with the government in order to achieve youth’s participation in policy. He also  encouraged youth to take advantage of ICT, it being an enabler and engage at every level but with evidence because with (it) evidence they can influence policy.

During a panel discussion moderated by the director of CDA, Yusuf Kiranda, Malcom Mpamizo one of the Youth4Policy fellows said that young people can produce quality evidence because there is a lot more that the young  people can do than at their age. He further posed a question to the audience on “how are we going to build a critical mass on how youth can influence public policy?” Reacting to the posed question, a participant pointed out that there is lack of representation by young people with disabilities in public policy and unwillingness to give young people space to influence the policy. Responding to that too, Mr. Henry Mbaguta supplemented that young people must consider;

  1. The capacity to give evidence.
  2. The cost because getting evidence is not cheap.
  3. The presentation; Are there opportunities to present these evidence?
  4. The training
  5. The issues of resources because they are scarce.
  6. Having proactive interventions to marginalized, the excluded is very important.
  7. The education.

According to Oxfam Great Britain, that has for years become an experienced and effective advocate of evidence-informed policy change, offering lessons for building effective action. Insights which were combined from policy studies with specific case studies of Oxfam campaigns to describe four ways to promote the uptake of research evidence in policy: (1) learn how policy making works, (2) design evidence to maximize its influence on specific audiences, (3) design and use additional influencing strategies such as insider persuasion or outsider pressure, and adapt the presentation of evidence and influencing strategies to the changing context, and (4) embrace trial and error.

Duncan Green in his article of Using evidence to influence policy: Oxfam’s experience, cited that the use of evidence for policy influencing has many ingredients such as a robust evidence base, framing and persuasion, simple storytelling, building coalitions, learning the rules of the game in many different systems, the use of complementary influencing strategies, and a process of continuous reflection and change in light of experience and context.

Young people need to take advantages of the powers that they have to influence public policy with evidence considering the large numbers of youth in Uganda.

Compiled bySandra Aceng Program Officer Gender and ICT Policy Advocacy

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