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Role Model? Mityana district is set to lead Uganda on family planning advocacy



By Team

In an effort to mitigate a rapidly growing population rate at 3.3 per annum in Uganda, Mityana district launches the first ever Five Year Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan to address growing challenges of family planning and Sexual reproductive Health in the region. Through using Public Private Partnership to work for the wellbeing of indigenous people, the plan will jointly be implemented by local governments, not-for-profit agencies, development partners and private sector after pulling resources together.

The strategy has several thematic areas with a clear role to be undertaken by each stakeholder in the next five years. Areas include demand creation; Stewardship, Management and Accountability; Service Delivery and Access; Contraceptive Security, Financing and Policy and Enabling Environment among others.

This is a second broad step to be undertaken by Mityana district after being the first local government to provide a family planning budgetary allocation since 2014. The district allocates two million shillings annually towards family planning sensitization, which has also been replicated in other lower local governments.  One of the priorities for the plan is to increase age-appropriate information, access and use of family planning amongst young people aged between 10 – 24 years.

Uganda is ranked as one of countries in the world with the youngest population, with over 78% below 30 years and Mityana district for years has experienced teenage pregnancies and child headed families. According to 2015 Census, Mityana district fertility rate stood at 7.5, which remains amongst the highest in the country.

It is estimated that Mityana has over 66,916 women of child bearing age between 15 – 49 years out of the district total population of 331,266. Pregnancies are at 16,563 per year; expected births of 16,066 per year while district HIV prevalence rate is at 10.6%

Nakaweesi Florence, 22, a resident of Kubajja village in Maanyi sub county, Mityana district is a mother of three. She told that she got her first born at the age of 15 years after losing both her parents. Nakaweesi recounts that she lived with her grandmother and dropped out of school in primary three (3) before being hired as a house maid. “I worked for food and accommodation for months before getting married. I didn’t see any future until I got a man to marry”. Nakaweesi said. She confesses to lacking family planning information before she got married.

Like other children from large families, Nakaweesi said, she couldn’t not stay in school plus her many siblings due to poverty.

Visiting Maanyi Sub County, discovered that it has been used as a model to promote citizen empowerment, participation in decision making and people centered service delivery.

Tracing roots; Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) for the last for four years, introduced a concept of village clubs composed of members from the community. Community members, working as volunteers get trained and empowered to monitor how funds from the district are utilized but also, participate in budget planning processes from villages to sub county and ensure community needs are incorporated in sub county’s budgets each financial year.

FOWODE’s concept has not only promoted collaborations among key stakeholders but has also helped to bring people closer to their leaders, making Maanyi sub county a success story whose experience has been replicated at the district resulting in the development of a five year Costed Implementation Plan as well as in other sub counties.

FOWODE Executive Director, Patricia Munaabi, told that village club model have been piloted in Mityana and Busia districts thus making Mityana a success story. She said, village clubs have advocated for their own issues in local governments and in Maanyi Sub County, the locals secured first a family planning budget allocation in every financial year before the model was replicated at the district.

She said, other success stories include, through village participation in planning processes, locals secured an ambulance for their Health Centre III, authorities established a Youth Friendly Corner dedicated to provide family planning and sexual reproductive health related information, carrier development and leadership mentorship among others. The corner has also been equipped with facilities and games to make youths comfortable and provide space for peer to peer learning.

According to FOWODE officials, family planning uptake coverage in Mityana district increased in 2013/14 financial year to 82%. However, in 2014/15 uptake coverage declined to 54% due to reported contradictory arguments from political and religious leaders about the role of family planning in socio economic development.

Officers said, some political leaders encourage large families to spur economic growth making full implementation of family planning policies very challenging.

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Breaking: Witness Radio and Partners to Launch Human Rights Monitoring, Documentation, and Advocacy Project Tomorrow.



By Witness Radio Team.

Witness Radio, in collaboration with Dan Church Aid (DCA) and the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD), is set to launch the Monitoring, Documentation, and Advocacy for Human Rights in Uganda (MDA-HRU) project tomorrow, 22nd February 2024, at Kabalega Resort Hotel in Hoima District.

The project, funded by the European Union, aims to promote the protection and respect for human rights, and enable access to remedy where violations occur especially in the Mid-Western and Karamoja sub-regions where private sector actors are increasingly involved in land-based investments (LBIs) through improved documentation, and evidence-based advocacy.

The three-year project, which commenced in October 2023, focuses its activities in the Mid-Western sub-region, covering Bulisa, Hoima, Masindi, Kiryandongo, Kikuube, Kagadi, Kibale, and Mubende districts, and Karamoja sub-region, covering Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit, Amudat, Nabilatuk, Abim, Kaabong, Kotido, and Karenga districts.

The project targets individuals and groups at high risk of human rights violations, including Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and Land and Environmental Defenders (LEDs). It also engages government duty bearers such as policymakers and implementers in relevant ministries and local governments, recognizing their crucial role in securing land and environmental rights. Additionally, the project involves officials from institutional duty bearers including the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), Equal Opportunities Commission, and courts, among others.

Representatives from the international community, faith leaders, and business actors are also included in the project’s scope, particularly those involved in land-based investments (LBIs) impacting the environment.

The project was initially launched in Moroto for the Karamoja region on the 19th of this month with the leadership of the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD).

According to the project implementors,  the action is organized into four activity packages aimed at; enhancing the capacity and skills of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and Land and Environmental Defenders (LEDs) in monitoring, documentation, reporting (MDR), and protection, establishing and reinforcing reporting and documentation mechanisms for advocacy and demand for corporate and government accountability;  providing response and support to HRDs and marginalized communities; and lastly facilitating collaboration and multi-stakeholder engagements that link local and national issues to national and international frameworks and spaces.

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Kiryandongo leadership agree to partner with Witness Radio Uganda to end rampant forced land evictions in the district.



By Witness Radio team.

Kiryandongo district leaders have embraced Witness Radio’s collaboration with the Kiryandongo district aimed at ending the rampant violent and illegal land evictions that have significantly harmed the livelihoods of the local communities in the area.

The warm welcome was made at the dialogue organized by Witness Radio Uganda, Uganda’s leading land and environmental rights watchdog at the Kiryandongo district headquarters, intended to reflect on the plight of land and environmental rights defenders, local and indigenous communities and the role of responsible land-based investments in protecting people and the planet.

Speaking at the high-level dialogue, that was participated in by technical officers, policy implementers, religious leaders, leaders of project affected persons (PAPs), politicians, media, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and development partners that support land and environment rights as well as the Land Based Investments (LBIs) Companies in the Kiryandongo district, the leaders led by the District Local Council 5 Chairperson, Ms. Edith Aliguma Adyeri appreciated the efforts taken by Witness Radio organization to organize the dialogue meeting aimed at bringing together stakeholders to safeguard community land and environmental rights in order address the escalating vice of land grabbing in the area.

During the dialogue, participants shared harrowing accounts of the impacts of land evictions and environmental degradation, including tragic deaths, families torn asunder, young girls forced into marriage, a surge in teenage pregnancies, limited access to education, and significant environmental damage which have profoundly affected the lives of the local population in Kiryandongo.

Participants attending the dialogue.

In recent years, Kiryandongo district has been embroiled in violent land evictions orchestrated to accommodate multinational large-scale agriculture plantations and wealthy individuals leaving the poor marginalized.

According to various reports, including findings from Witness Radio’s 2020 research Land Grabs at a Gun Point, the forceful land acquisitions in Kiryandongo have significantly impacted the livelihoods of local communities. It is estimated that nearly 40,000 individuals have been displaced from their land to make room for land-based investments in the Kiryandongo district. However, leaders in the district also revealed in the dialogue that women and children are affected most.

The Kiryandongo Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Jonathan Akweteireho, emphasized that all offices within the Kiryandongo district are actively involved in addressing the prevalent land conflicts. He also extended a welcome to Witness Radio, acknowledging their collaborative efforts in tackling and resolving land and environmental issues in the district.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we all know that the land rights together with environmental rights have been violated in our district, but because we don’t know what our rights are, because we have not directly done what we could to safeguard our rights and now this is the time that Witness Radio has brought us together to safeguard our rights. I want to welcome you in Kiryandongo and be rest assured that we shall give you all the necessary support to help us manage these rampant cases,” Ms. Adyeri said in her remarks during the dialogue meeting.

The team leader at Witness Radio Uganda, Mr. Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala expressed gratitude to the participants for their active involvement in the dialogue and revealed that Witness Radio’s objective is to find a holistic solution to the escalating land disputes in Kiryandongo district serving as an example to other districts.

“We are here to assist Kiryandongo district in attaining peace and stability because it stands as a hotspot for land grabbers in Uganda. Mismanagement of land conflicts in Uganda could potentially lead to a significant internal conflict. Everywhere you turn, voices are lamenting the loss of their land and property. Kiryandongo, abundant with ranches, suffers from a lack of a structured framework, which amplifies these land conflicts. The influx of wealthy investors further complicates the situation,” Mr. Ssebaggala disclosed.

Within the dialogue, Mr. Ssebaggala emphasized the need for the Kiryandongo district council to pass a by-law aimed at curbing land evictions as an initial step in addressing the prevalent land injustices.

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Kiryandongo authorities decry rising cases of land disputes



The LC5 chairperson of Kiryandongo, Ms Edith Aliguma Adyeri, has saidnland dispute has impacted on people’s lives, dignity and children’s education in the district.

Just like other parts of Uganda, conflicts over land in Kiryandongo arise when individuals – who often are blood relatives – compete for use of the same parcel of land or when members of the community lay claim over ownership of unutilised government land.

Ms Adyeri further said land and environmental rights affect people both directly and indirectly, “and we are not hearing it from afar. It is already together with us [here], it has already affected us!”

She was speaking at a meeting which sought to discuss alternative remedies to salvage the appalling land and environmental rights situation in Kiryandongo at the district headquarters on Thursday.

The one-day dialogue was aimed at reflecting on the plight of land and environmental rights defenders, local and indigenous communities and the role of responsible land-based investments in protecting people and the planet.

It was attended by private companies, members of civil society and local government officials and organised by Witness Radio – an advocate for land and environmental rights in Uganda – in partnership with Oxfam, and Kiryandongo District leadership.

“Some people have even died, families are broken up, and brothers are not seeing eye-to-eye because of land rights. Access to justice is equally becoming very difficult because when you hire one lawyer that
lawyer will talk to learned friends, and they agree. They leave you in suspense,” Ms Adyeri said.

According to her, some children have not accessed education because of land and environmental rights.

Mr Jonathan Akweteireho, the deputy Resident District Commissioner of Kiryandongo, said enlightened people especially should be sensitive to the historical injustice of this area.

“We can never handle the Bonyoro land question without thinking about that history. It will be an injustice to the incomers, to the government and to the leaders who don’t understand,” he said.

“We had 38 ranches here which on the guidance of these international organisations, especially the World Bank, the government restructured them, allowing people to settle there, they were never given titles and up to today, there are big problems in all those ranches,” he added.

Mr Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala, the executive director of Witness Radio, said that a well-functional land sector supports land users or holders and investors, reduces inefficiencies and provides mechanisms to resolve land disputes.

Mr David Kyategeka, the secretary to the Kiryandongo District Land Board, said the issue of land rights is very clear but the major challenge has been sensitising the locals to know what rights he or she expects to enjoy out of this very important resource.


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