By Gad Masereka
In a passionate plea for financial support and inclusivity, Grace, the Secretary of the Pan-African Women’s Organization, emphasized the critical need for adequate funding for initiatives focused on gender, women, and youth within both national and continental budgets.
Speaking at a press conference, Grace expressed concerns about the insufficient allocation of funds to the Ministry of Jamba, which handles gender-related matters at the national level in Uganda. She highlighted the disparity in budget allocation, stating that the ministry should be prioritized alongside key sectors such as peace and security and agriculture.
“Creating an institution or organization without providing the necessary means is meaningless,” Grace asserted. “We must ensure that gender issues receive the attention and financial backing they deserve.”
The Pan-African Women’s Organization, serving as a specialized agency of the African Union (AU), faces similar challenges at the continental level. Grace shed light on the fact that when the AU formulates its budget, the specific directorate focusing on women and youth often lacks adequate consideration.
“The issue of women and youth is not given the priority it deserves in the AU budget. We find ourselves running to goodwill partners and compromising our stance simply because we lack the financial independence needed to drive our agenda,” she stated.
Grace highlighted the importance of financial autonomy, self-sustainability, and self-reliance, emphasizing that the independence of women’s organizations begins with securing adequate funding. She urged for a shift in mindset and recognition of women’s crucial role, stating, “There is no agenda anywhere that does not concern women. We are not just 40 plus percent; we represent the majority of the population. We should not be sidelined but placed at the center.”
As a senior presidential advisor on special duties and the Secretary of the Pan-African Women’s Organization, Grace called for the establishment of a Women’s Forum to ensure the active participation and representation of women in decision-making processes.
“We need to be at the center because even within our own organization, women are very few. A Women’s Forum will provide the platform to address these disparities and advocate for the recognition and inclusion of women in all sectors,” she concluded