Local Voices: Strengthening ICT Advocacy Skills & Resilience of CSOs & Media Organisations

The “Local Voices” project, funded by Internews, aimed at strengthening the capacities of Civil Society Organisations( CSOs) and media organisations in Uganda to effectively engage with legal frameworks and employ advocacy strategies. Recognising the role these entities play in shaping public opinions and influencing policy decisions, the project aimed to empower participants with knowledge and skills to bring about meaningful change.

Women of Uganda Network, (WOUGNET) has long been dedicated to the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality. With a vision of harnessing Information and Communication Technologies(ICTs), for  sustainable development of women and girls, WOUGNET’s involvement was instrumental in ensuring a gender-inclusive approach throughout the workshops with  attendance from both males and females.

WOUGNET, under the “Local Voices” project, organised workshops in three prominent districts of Uganda-Gulu, Kampala, and Fort Portal. These locations were strategically chosen to engage with diverse communities and ensure that the knowledge shared could resonate with various regions of the country.

Gulu workshop

The Gulu workshop took place on 18th July,2023 at Kakanyero Hotel.The workshop brought together representatives from CSOs and media outlets operating in Northern Uganda. Participants delved into the legal frameworks concerning human rights and social justice such as the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2013, Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023,NGO Act 2016, among others. The workshop also emphasised advocacy strategies for amplifying the voices of the marginalized communities.

Twitter post: https://twitter.com/wougnet/status/1681222185770262529

                        A group picture of participants at the Gulu workshop

Participants were given the opportunity to share their experiences and future prospects from the workshop and this is what one of the participants had to say;

            “There is need for mobilization and following of laws so that we survive in this era where new legal frameworks are enacted everyday”, a participant from Wii Tuke suggested.

Kampala workshop

As the capital city of Uganda, Kampala, we hosted a dynamic workshop at Fairway Hotel on 21st July, 2023 that saw a number of CSOs and media professionals come together. This session was facilitated by Anthony Masake, a Civil Rights Advocate from Chapter Four Uganda. The discussions revolved around the complexity of advocacy within urban settings, addressing issues related to gender-based violence, economic, social and political representation.

Twitter post: https://twitter.com/wougnet/status/1682306886333333507

A group photos of participants at the training workshop in Kampala

Fort Portal workshop

In Fort Portal city, the workshop tackled issues specific to Western Uganda. Participants explored challenges related to land rights, access to education, and the unique cultural context influencing gender norms. The workshop had 54 physical participants (29 females and 25 males)  who were equipped with the tools needed to effect change while preserving the region’s cultural heritage.

Under the expert guidance of Anthony Masake and Gloria Laker from Chapter four, the workshops were conducted with passion and expertise. Both Anthony and Gloria brought extensive experience in human rights, advocacy, and capacity building to the table. Their presentations ensured that the workshops were engaging, inclusive and tailored to the specific needs of each district.

The physical participants were joined by 38 online  participants in a zoom discussion with experts from the Machine learning for peace  (https://mlpeace.org/) on Machine learning uses and challenges for civil society organisations and the use of data to increase civic awareness.

Twitter post: https://twitter.com/wougnet/status/1683757864274350080

A group photo of participants at the Fort-Portal training workshop

Impact and future prospects

The “Local Voices” project in collaboration with WOUGNET had a profound impact on the participants and the communities they represented. By enhancing the knowledge and skills of CSOs and media, the project created a great impact that might foster positive change at the grassroot levels.

The empowered CSOs and media Organisations were equipped with knowledge to advocate for policy reforms, challenge social norms, and amplify marginalised voices. The project sparked discussions on the need for continued investment in capacity building initiatives, ensuring that the momentum for change remains steadfast.

The project’s emphasis on collaboration and knowledge-sharing during the workshops fostered long lasting networks and CSOs and media organisations as these connections will serve as a foundation for future resource sharing on advocacy.

With the workshops conducted in Gulu, Kampala, and Fort Portal districts, it is evident that there is need to nurture a society where all individuals can flourish regardless of their gender or background so as to create a more just and equitable future.

Written by Irene Marunga,

Communications Associate, WOUGNET


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