Ugandan women legislators trained in effective communication and parliamentary oversight


Officials and participants from UN Women, CPA UK, UWOPA and Parliament of Uganda attended the training
Officials and participants from UN Women, CPA UK, UWOPA and Parliament of Uganda attended the training. Photo: UN Women/Edmond Mwebembezi

Honorable Rose Obigah is a politician from Uganda and a newcomer to the legislature. During the just completed 2021 Uganda general elections, she was chosen to serve as a woman member representing Terego district.

Rose had worked as a social worker and government official, and her desire to join the Ugandan parliament was pushed by the struggles that the women in her region experienced and how they overcame them.

"I realized the necessity to represent my fellow women in parliament because the August House is the only place where we can obtain proper representation of the difficulties women in Uganda confront," she says.

After being elected to the 11th Parliament, Rose realized how crucial it was to understand a wide range of topics outside women's problems and the value of having effective communication skills in the August house.

“The value of effective communication in the media, the community, and on the legislative floor is something we often take for granted. When speaking to various groups, particularly the media, many of my coworkers find it difficult to express themselves,” she observed.

Hon Rose Abinga makes her submission during the training
Hon Rose Abinga makes her submission during the training. Photo: UN Women/Edmond Mwebembezi

In order to overcome these obstacles, UN Women Uganda, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK Branch (CPA UK), and Uganda Parliamentary Women Association (UWOPA) collaborated to provide women parliamentarians with the knowledge and abilities they need to feel more self-assured and have a greater impact on the Ugandan Parliament for high-quality work.

The training gave the participants practical skills to help them handle committee hearings communication on the floor of parliament and media interviews, building on prior participation and focusing on effective committee work and compelling external communications.

The development of capacity for conducting investigations, speaking with witnesses, taking part in public hearings, and examining evidence in reports was also addressed. The women MPs also got knowledge and skills in areas such as policymaking, lobbying, fundamental reporting and presenting, finance and budgeting, and composing proposals to help them fulfil their responsibilities more effectively.

Adekemi Ndieli, UN Women Deputy Representative in Uganda, spoke at the opening of the session and urged the participants to make greater use of the newfound information and skills in the parliament.

“The participation of women in decision-making is crucial for advancing democracy, so let's put our newfound knowledge and abilities to use to advance women's leadership and governance in this nation,” she said.

The Hon. Kate Osamor, UK Member of Parliament for Edmonton, emphasized the value of information exchange, saying, "Let's take this chance to better our work and become strategic legislators. Peer-to-peer education is very vital."

The two-day training was well-received by the attendees, who noted that these soft skills are sometimes disregarded while being crucial for anyone in a leadership role.

The Soroti woman MP and UWOPA chairperson, Hon. Sarah Opendi, also expressed her gratitude to CPA UK and UN Women for providing her colleagues with timely assistance. She implored them to get in touch with her because she is a well-known vocal MP who can help them with their challenges both inside and outside of the legislature.

"The training is excellent, and I have no doubt that it has improved my colleagues and me. Let's go and diligently start serving our people,” she said.

PHOTO: Addressing the media
Participants were shown how to address engage the media. Photo:UN Women/Edmond Mwebembezi

“Because of the abilities I have gained here,” Rose says, "I now believe that I will handle my business better in this August house because they have surely raised my confidence and my expertise on parliament oversight and communications."

"Leadership is about others and not just you," the highly regarded Miria Matembe, a former MP and Minister in Uganda remarked in her parting remarks to uplift and inspire the participants. 

“Fighting fear will help you complete your work and fulfill your mandate. Some of the improvements you witness in the Ugandan Parliament wouldn't have occurred if your forerunners had been afraid.”