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Labour Ministry: Over 160,000 Women Have Benefited From UWEP Funds

Minister Peace Mutuuzo presenting Labour Ministry’s report on manifesto implementation 

The State Minister for Gender has described Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP) as the most successful program by the Ministry so far. Minister Peace Mutuuzo made the remarks Wednesday afternoon presenting the achievements of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development for the past 5 years at the OPM Auditorium.

 Mutuuzo said the recovery of funds under UWEP is at 70% yet the program is just 4 years old.

Details obtained by Business Focus show that UWEP has financed 13,822 projects worth Shs85.615bn benefiting 166,295 women

Shs18.67bn has been recovered out of Shs26.30bn reflecting 70.81% recovery. According to Mutuuzo, the majority of the women are engaged in agriculture and wholesale and retail trade.

As a result of this program, she said, direct and indirect employment has been created; domestic violence has reduced;  there has been increase in household incomes; financial inclusion for women has improved; confidence level amongst women have  improved; reduction of dependence syndrome; contribution to import substitution and export promotion is significant and that women are paying taxes among others.

In terms of empowering the youth, 80,285 youth have acquired jobs abroad in the last five years. The majority have got employment in Saudi Arabia and UAE. Mutuuzo said mechanisms are being put in place to ensure orderly, safe and productive externalisation of labour.

For children, the Uganda helpline (UCHL) has been upgraded to effectively handle and report violence against children and GBV. The centre receives an average of 700 calls daily.

She added that 35 District Action Centres  have been established and 6,505 cases of child abuse received of which  2,343 cases have been disposed off while 5,162 cases are on-going.

The ministry also trained 100 Probation Officers on alternative care, coordination networks and collaboration with other stakeholders as well as construction of Arua and Kabale Remand Homes while the ministry has rehabilitated Kampiringisa National Rehabilitation Centre, Naguru Remand Home, Naguru Reception Centre, Fort Portal Remand Home and Mbale Remand Home.

For instance, 750 Persons with Disabilities were  trained in the five institutions in vocational skills to enhance their employment opportunities and Shs8bn disbursed to Local Governments (LGs) for Special Grant for PWDs.

As for older persons, the ministry rolled out  Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) programme in all districts benefiting 304,155 older persons of which 121,662 are Males and 182,493 Females.

The ministry says the National Council for Older Persons is fully operational with a substantive Executive Secretary.

To combat child labour, government through the ministry Developed a framework and plans for the protection of child labor; Stakeholders consultation on draft Principles for review of the Employment Act 2006 (Child labour inclusive) conducted, provided livelihood support of families at the risk of or envisaged in child labour and conducted advocacy with the goal of strengthening national and local policies that education and protect children.

In terms of inspections, the ministry strengthened the framework for labour unions and the workers to co-operate as partners with Government and employers for effective dialogue, Regulation for election of Worker’s representatives to District Councils developed and gazzeted, Developed Guidelines for election of workers’ representative in Parliament and 2,168 statutory equipment examined and certified.

CHALLENGES

The ministry is faced with challenges such as overwhelming demand for social services  across all districts amidst budgetary constraints and insufficient releases, Low technical capacity in some Local Governments (understaffing, inadequate facilities and funds, slow action), Inadequate funds to strengthen support systems at the LG level (for timely follow-up, trainings, mentoring, coaching etc…) and  Natural Calamities (droughts, disease outbreaks, floods).

 Over 40% of the enterprises are in primary production in the Agriculture Sector which is very prone to natural hazards, Poor attitude of some sections of the population: Some youth lack positive work ethics, leading to abandonment of some good projects mid-way the implementation period, Strong attachment to negative cultural practices in the elimination of Gender Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation e.g in the Mount Elgon region, Inadequate Persons with Disability (PWD) training due to dilapidated centers of Ogur, Mbale Sheltered Workshop, Jinja Sheltered Workshop and Ocoko Rehabilitation Centre, Limited staff enforcement to carry out  OSH inspections throughout the whole country, Inadequate mechanisms of tracking illegal migrants and the phenomenon of human trafficking, Inadequate funding for community development functions to be able to initiate, monitor and supervise government programmes and to mobilise communities to fully appreciate, participate and partake of Government programmes and Inadequate enforcement of standards for visual and performing arts to produce marketable products among others.

2021-2026

The Ministry notes that it is going to contribute to the realization of the Manifesto in many areas including representation of the marginalized groups in decision-making at different levels, support the youth, women, PWD and elderly councils.

The Ministry also plans to continue with SAGE and consider lowering the age of beneficiaries from 80 years.

It will also fund the operations of the youth, women, PWDs and the elderly council as well as support vulnerable PWDs to enable them lead a dignified basic life.

The Ministry also intends to strengthen the juvenile justice system and continue with the Youth Livelihood Programme Phase 2.

By Francis Otucu

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