Budget Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities in Soroti and Hoima District

 2018 – 2019 supported by Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA)

According to the Local Government Act (as amended in 2010), PWDs and other marginalized groups in Uganda have to be represented at all levels of local government beginning from the L.C 1 committees, up to the district councils to have a clear platform of discussion of issues affecting them/or their constituencies. This was intended to ensure that the specific needs of such groups (e.g. PWDs) are not ignored but incorporated at any level of planning, budgeting and implementation of service provision all aimed at having an all-inclusive social-economic development, reducing the poverty levels in the community and also live up to the disability slogan of “Nothing for Us without Us”. Such concerns include among others as access of PWDs to poverty alleviation programs, education, employment and health which are very key in human development.

Although the process of local government planning and budgeting seems to be participatory, open and transparent, it’s noted with concern that the involvement of PWDs is very limited and in most instances non-existent at certain local government levels due to limited knowledge about the process, PWDs are  at times represented by non PWDs in decision making forums, poor attitudes of concerned stakeholders, communication barriers especially for the deaf and blind persons, inaccessible planning and budgeting venues, lack of skills in influencing, negotiating, lobby and advocacy by PWDs, ignorance of disability rights by district and sub county technical and political leaders(UNAPD baseline survey 2016).

Whereas the concept of “equalization of opportunities” states  that it’s the duty of the government to ensure the benefits of development programs reach out to the disabled citizens, they continue to be marginalized in development programs  due to a number of factors such as; low education levels among PWDs leading to lack of confidence and self-expression, inadequate information access, intentionally being ignored or discriminated by local government technical teams, not being effectively represented on the committees, in-accessible physical environments where developmental  workshops are organized and held from, lack of technical knowledge to contribute towards the elite led discussions, lack of skills of effective representation and negotiation, among others .

In areas where PWDs are involved, their technical capacity to contribute meaningfully to the discussions is very limited due to their low levels of education. In the long run, this situation leads to lack of prioritization or limited prioritization of disability mainstreaming in the existing local government programs and justifies the saying that “government policies of inclusion or affirmative action in favor of PWDs have remained more on paper than in action”.

Through the project, UNAPD strengthens participation of PWDs in the process of planning and budgeting to ensure that their issues are prioritized during the process to result into improved relationship between PWDs, district and sub county technical and political leaders, and increased budget allocation to disability specific areas such as inclusive education, access to poverty alleviation programs, rehabilitative health among others. In the proposed continuing project.

Also, UNAPD empowers PWDs with appropriate skills and knowledge required to effective participate in the planning and budgeting process at various levels of local government. The project among other areas of emphasis capitalizes at ensuring that empowered PWDs leaders participate in planning, budgeting and advocate for increased budgetary allocation to the education sector at the district level. This increment is targeted to offer better access to inclusive education services by CWDs/PWDs in the targeted districts  through; availability of special needs equipment, recruitment or training of teachers in special needs skills, improved accessibility situation in schools, disability sensitive  school environment, disability sensitive district councils,  and adoption of disability sports in the school sports calendars, among others.

The specific goal of the project is: – PWDs effectively participating in Planning and Budgeting process in Hoima and Soroti Districts.

The specific objectives are:-

  1. Improve technical capacity of PWDs councilors/UNAPD leaders to ensure effective participation and disability inclusion in planning and budgeting
  2. To ensure increased budget allocation to education departments of the targeted districts by at least 2% with bias to inclusive education.