Women groups in Kabarole are being sidelined in the Luwero-Rwenzori Development Programme.
The 540 billion shillings programme, which started last year in June, is an intervention by the Government to improve the livelihoods of communities which suffered social-economic destabilisation and destruction during the 1981-1986 NRA guerilla war and the 1996-2003 Allied Democratic Forces rebel insurgency.
In Bunyagabu County, which was greatly affected by the 1986 guerilla war and the 1996 ADF insurgency, some funds were given to men groups to start income generating projects, but the women were neglected. Some of the men groups were also given pigs, goats, cattle to improve on their household income.
This has left the women furious and want to be included in the programme because they lost their husbands and sons during the insurgencies. Astar Kobwemi, a member of Katebwa Women’s group says that her son volunteered to fight the ADF rebels and was killed in 2002.
Kobwemi says when she and other members of the group went to the office of the Chief Administrative Officer to demand for the funds, they were turned away despite the group having genuine documents.
She says that when government announced the programme, she was so excited, hoping that she will get rid of poverty.
Kobwemi who looks frail says that she can’t afford to look after her six grandchildren. She says that she is forced to beg food from the neighborhood to feed the children.
Faith Mugisa, the chairperson of Kibiito Widows association says that they were promised funds in May last year to start a piggery and poultry project but since then, they have not received the money.
Mugisa says that she is surprised that some men groups which recently requested for money were given the funds without any hindrances. She says that since their husbands, who were the bread winners died, they need the funds to set up projects which will improve their livelihoods.
Mugisa claims that the money meant for women groups could have been diverted by the district.
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Peter Bagambaki, the deputy Chief Administrative Officer Kabarole denies the allegations of diverting the funds.
Bagambaki says that priority was given to the ex-combatants and then the other groups will follow. He says that the women groups will receive the funds in August.
However in a telephone interview, the State Minister for Luwero Triangle, Rose Namayanja says that beneficiaries were supposed to receive the funds at the same time.
Namayanja says that she will discuss the matter with the CAO Kabarole district.
The five year project aims at improving the well-being of 105 households per parish in 523 parishes.
It will also focus on improving safe water coverage through construction of boreholes, springs, shallow wells, construction of at least one government-aided primary and secondary school in each parish, improving health services through upgrading health units.
Some of the other districts benefiting from the programme are Luwero, Lyantonde, Masaka, Bukomansimbi, Kalungu, Lwengo, Masindi and Kiryandongo.
Others are Mbarara, Mityana, Mpigi, Gombe, Mukono, Buikwe, Buvuma, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Wakiso, Rakai, Sembabule and Mubende.