DGF/GIZ PROJECT: PROGRAM SUPPORT TO CONSOLIDATE AND ROLL OUT ITS MANDATE
The EOC has benefitted from the DGF to implement 3 year project entitled: Institutional strengthening of the EOC to implement its mandate and Further support to the EOC to implement its mandate which had a nine month timeframe. The two projects were implemented in tripartite kind of arrangement whereby the DGF provided funding to the EOC through GIZ who was managing funds while the EOC did the implementation. The capacity and success of the EOC to implement was successful and on record. The two sister projects have attracted funding worth 4 billion UGX. The EOC has also received funding from the Ford Foundation; UN-Joint Programme on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Worth 1 Billion UGX and successfully executed these projects with good track record as far as absorption capacity, delivering intended deliverables and value for money is concerned. The EOC today has drastically transformed from what was previously branded “teething Challenges” to a vibrant institution with potential to transcend further to better heights. It is much equipped than ever before to manage even bigger projects independently having benefitted from institutional development programme provided by Earnest and Young and technical support services from the GIZ. The financial management units like accounts, procurement, and audit are now fully fledged with functional systems and structures. Each of the 5 departments apart from the one that was recently approved called Compliance and Reporting, have adequate staffing levels in place. The possibilities and modalities of direct funding by DGF to the EOC could be looked on and considered as one possible windows through which the EOC will access funding from the DGF.
The project was designed to accomplish activities that spilled-over from the 9 months extension of the previous projects which were supported by DGF/GIZ. The project replicates good practices and draws from experiences and lessons learnt. Its objective is to roll out such knowledge for the betterment and successful implementation of the latter. Indeed with the previous funding and technical support from Government ofUganda, DGF, GIZ, and Ford Foundation the Commission has made tremendous achievements.
Since December 2012 the EOC has benefited from funding support towards institutional strengthening from DGF and GIZ under two interrelated projects that is, institutional support to the EOC to implement its mandate which lasted for 2 years and the subsequent bridging 9 months extension titled further support to the EOC. All the two sister projects earned the EOC concrete achievements. The outstanding achievements among others include: -
a) Increased Access to Social Justice by the Marginalised/Discriminated:
Increased access to social justice by the marginalised was attained through the EOC tribunal as this was one of the areas supported by the project. With this support the number of complaints related to marginalisation and discrimination increased due to publicity, media campaigns and sensitisations that were carried-out under the project. At baseline in 2012, little was known about the quasi-judicial mechanisms for dispensing social justice at the EOC. However with this support on board the number of complaints received, investigated and adjudicated to a logical conclusion boomeranged, by July 2015 when this project was closing a total of 258 cases had been registered, 20 pre-tribunal visits had been undertaken; 10 tribunal sessions at the EOC headquarters were conducted and 13 circuit tribunals were conducted in various catchment locations across the country.
b) Increased Publicity and Visibility on the EOC Mandate
The project supported development, production and dissemination of IEC materials. By July 2015 when the project was closing the project had supported the EOC to develop and disseminate 18,615,000 IEC materials in form of: Brochures, Fliers ,Frequently Asked Questions, Reprinted Version of the EOC Act,2007; Banners, Information Packs, T-shirts, Branded pens, Branded Cups, Branded Caps, Branded Scarfs, Information Handouts, tribunal information posters and customised bill boards among others. On print media a total of 16 newspaper pull-outs in various print media platforms were featured namely in the daily monitor ,the New Vision-Uganda’s leading daily, the East African, Women’s Magazine and Observer among others. On broadcast media 78 radio talk shows and 8 TV talk shows were carried out in various TV stations. On social media Facebook, twitter pages for sharing information was established, as if that is not enough an interactive website was finalised and flagged off. This is just but piecemeal of the benefits and achievements that were realised as result of the DGF support to the EOC. All these media interventions gave the EOC mileage as far as its visibility is concerned compared to what the baseline report of 2012 had found out on visibility.
c) Improved Institutional Strengths:
Under institutional strengthening a number of aspects ranging from re-tooling and tooling, support towards putting systems, structures and procedures for financial management, human resource and (SORPS) ,provision of advisory services for organisational development was provided by Earnest and Young and technical Advise through the GIZ. The project supported EOC to recruit and remunerate 12 first core staff and 6 volunteers that were very crucial upon establishment. GoU took-over remunerating these staff a year later. The DGF/GIZ funding to the EOC contributed to the granting of independent vote status to the EOC in the FY 2013/14 by GoU. The Vote came with drastic increase in funding from .600 million which the EOC was receiving as subvention under MGLSD to 2.7 Billion to cover wage, none-wage and development of the EOC. All these positive developments can be traced to DGF’s and GIZ’s support to the EOC which no doubt has gone a long way in improving institutional stature of the EOC.
d) Mandated Monitoring and Reporting the State of equal opportunities in the Country:
The EOC is mandated to report on the status of the equal opportunities in the country on annual basis by publishing and submitting a report to Parliament with a copy to the President. Since establishment of the EOC in 2010 no such a report had ever been provided to parliament due financial constraints that the Commission was faced with. It was until 2013 when the EOC was able to do so after receiving funding from the DGF. By 2013 backlog of three reports was pending which had to be offloaded in one combined report covering 3 years. The 2015 report was compiled and published. The 2017 report is yet to be compiled and published.
e) Boost to Programing Support:
The project supported the EOC to develop a five year Strategic Development Plan (2013-2018). It is imperative to observe that by 2012 at baseline only 3 departments were functional with skeletal staffing level of only 27%. However, to date the staffing level has since risen from 27% to 52% with all the 5 departments of the EOC fully operational with substantively appointed Commissioners as heads of the departments. A fully fledged Finance Planning and Administration department is operational with sub units such as procurement. Other support services within this department are also fully functional. In short the EOC has become mightier and stronger than ever before as such better placed to handle bigger projects with minimal external support. All the five departments have since benefited from project funding and have implemented their annual work plans with minimal financial constraints as result of this project support.
f) Support towards Rolling out Training and Educational Programmes:
The project has supported capacity building for higher and lower local governments, CSOs, the media and private sector on various topics on mainstreaming equal opportunities, affirmative action in development planning using the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) to development programing. In addition, the sensitisation on the EOC mandate featuring functions, powers and operations of the EOC are integral. During the first phase a total of 27 HLGs, 216 lower local governments and 85 CSOs were covered. During the 9 months extension 5 HLGs, 27 LLGs and 53 CSOs have been reached. These interventions have established partnerships, synergies and facilitated the development of action plans for rolling out the mainstreaming and establishment of district focal points as short run strategy of establishing the presence of the EOC at the district level across the country.
g) Support towards Auditing Compliance with Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunities:
Implementation of the strategic plan has taken off with number of studies and audits undertaken within the department of research, monitoring and evaluation. Some of the audits/studies that have since been undertaken and have reports available on shelve include but not limited to: accessibility to health services in Amuru, study on salary distribution across the public service, compliance of youth Livelihood programme to equal opportunities for the marginalised groups. The project has supported phased development of the M and E framework based on the 8 themes focused by the EOC five year strategic Plan 2013-2018. So far M and E frame work that is covering Education and Health sector is in place and being utilised to track equal opportunities in the consumption of social services provided by education and health sector.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
i. To enhance observance of equitable and social justice for the discriminated and marginalized persons/groups.
ii. To create awareness and understanding of equal opportunities, Affirmative Action and the Gender and Equity requirements in the PFMA 2015.
iii. To enhance compliance to equal opportunities and affirmative action in favor of persons/groups discriminated and marginalized among state and non-state institutions
iv. To enhance and strengthen the involvement of the discriminated persons and marginalised persons/groups in the decision making processes
v. To strengthen efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery within the EOC
vi. To build the capacity of leaders of special interest groups, local leaders and other partners to mainstream equal opportunities and affirmative action in favour of discriminated and marginalized groups using human rights based approach to programing.
vii. To ensure compliance by MDAs and LGs with Gender and Equity requirements as provided in the Public the Public Finance Management Act, 2015 and report accordingly.
Target Group, Including Gender And Youth Dynamics
The main focus of the project is the groups that are often marginalised, and discriminated and as thus suffer inequalities and exclusion in the development processes. These among others include: - poor women and men, orphans and vulnerable children, Persons with Disabilities, Older persons, Poor youth and Ethnic minorities (YOPWE)
The Plight of the Ugandan Youth is marred by poverty, inadequate education and skills, inadequate work/employment opportunities, exploitation, diseases, civil unrest and gender discrimination. Environment theylive in brings both new possibilities and new risks that undermine the traditional social support that helps the Youth prepare for, negotiate and explore the opportunities and demands of their passage to adulthood.
Given this situation, investment in Youth is not only a social obligation but also rewarding in economic sense. The EOC will use its mandate given by various legal and policy frameworks to ensure equalization of the opportunities for youth in access to government services and other amenities.
Older persons suffer old age discrimination and exclusion from participating and benefiting from social economic activities in their Communities. Although the Government has provided favorable policy and legal regime to address the concerns and needs of all marginalized groups including older persons under the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy and chapter four of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, Local Governments Act (Cap 243) section 10(1) provides for older persons participation in decision making at all levels. This has not been fully realized in various service delivery points within government establishment. The EOC under this project will ensure improved socio-economic well- being of older persons by ensuring equal opportunities are observed through mainstreaming it in all government interventions within MDAs and LGs.
Persons With Disabilities (PWDs)
The Government is mandated to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities and the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda stipulates the need to empower and provide equal opportunities to PWDs. The policy on disability is in place to improve the quality of life of People with Disabilities (PWDs) through expanding the scope of interventions. The interventions will necessitate PWDs themselves to participate in designing, managing, monitoring and evaluating initiatives that are meant to improve their well-being. The EOC will use its mandate to ensure that the state and other none-state actors are compliant with equal opportunities and affirmative action in favor of PWDs and do involve the PWDs in the design of interventions that are addressed to them as a special interest group.
Women and the Gender Dynamics:
The 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda recognizes equality between women and men. Specifically, it provides for gender balance and fair representation of marginalised groups; recognizes the role of women in society; accords equal citizenship rights, freedom from discrimination, affirmative action in favour of
women; and articulates specific rights of women including outlawing customs, traditions and practices that undermine the welfare, dignity and interests of women.
Gender is treated as cross-cutting issue as such a requirement to be mainstreamed in all the development processes, the government has made it legal requirement for MDAs and LGs to ensure gender and equity are catered for in the BFPs and MPSs under the PFMA,2015 . The EOC is mandated to ensure compliance under the PFMA 2015. The EOC will therefore do due diligence on gender and equity to all BFPs and MPS submitted to it for assessment on annual basis.
Ethnic and other Minority Groups:
The Ethnic Minorities like other marginalised groups mentioned above will be accorded similar attention of ensuring that they equally benefit, access and participate in all government programmes.
Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children (OVC)
OVCs suffer marginalization and discrimination which is accentuated by their vulnerability, Powerlessness, isolation and poverty. The EOC like other marginalised groups will use its mandate to ensure that various needs of the OVCs are addressed in the BFPs and MPS of the LGs and MDAs.
Innovations of the project will among others include: positioning the EOC as learning organisation. As a learning the EOC will in the course of project implementation keep track throughout the project cycle and document processes, lessons learnt and other emerging issues to discern learning. This will be underpinned by special consideration to appreciate what works and what does not work in the entire programing cycle. This will help in interrogating the present as well as the future circumstances. By so doing the EOC will be generating its own body of knowledge in respect to its mandate; practices, norms, theories and models that will be replicated in the future interventions of this kind. In short the EOC will treat the project both as an intervention and learning experience. It will embrace both positive and negative outcomes that emerge as result of this intervention.
Links to other ongoing projects
This project is building upon the previous project in that in addition to new activities, special consideration is taken to complete activities that spilled over in the previous projects. Again, implementation of this project will be located and mainstreamed within the Government of Uganda implementation cycle to which the EOC as government institution is bound to follow.
Activities of the project are broadly informed by the current overarching planning framework that guides all government interventions, that is Vision 2040 and the NDP two which have as well informed the EOC five year Strategic Plan which in-turn is guided by the Policy and Legal framework that provide the mandate to the EOC. As such the outcomes of this project will contribute to the national aspirations articulated in Vision 2040, NDP11, the National Objectives and Directive principles of State policy as provided in the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.