UNU-GEST supports advocates for the rights of disabled women in Uganda

UNU-GEST has received support from the Gender Equality fund of Iceland to support action on social inclusion and disability in Uganda. Together with the National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda (NUDPU), UNU-GEST invites nominations of candidates to attend the post-graduate diploma programme in international gender studies in Reykjavik, in spring semester 2019.Jafnréttissjóður

Judicial reforms for the disabled in Uganda have been considerable, and Uganda may even be considered one of the leading Sub-Saharan countries in this respect. However, favorable normative changes have had a limited impact on improving the public social services, and the change in attitudes towards disabled people.  The international social rights movement for the disabled in the 1980s reached Uganda, and a considerable achievement was made when the NUDPU was established in 1987. NUDPU is an umbrella NGO that brings together various categories of persons with disabilities including those with physical, mental and sensory impairments. NUDPU has fought for the rights of disabled persons in Uganda, including public policy and legislative reforms. Some progress has been made, as the rights of the disabled are for instance stipulated in the constitution from  1995. Specific laws exist, Persons with Disabilities Act from 2006, and five seats within the national Parliament are allocated to disabled members of Parliament, who represent this group within the country.

The numbers of disabled persons in Uganda remain unconfirmed, and estimates range from 838.000 to 5,4 million people. The ratio of disabled people is higher in rural areas, but in addition with the general challenges that disabled face in relation to their disabilities, many face social exclusion and stigmatization, limited opportunities, lack of basic social services such as specialized medical services, and extreme poverty. Therefore, disabled persons are often members of marginalized populations, and the gender-related challenges are additional challenges for disabled women. This initiative is intended to support efforts to design projects aimed at improving the situation for disabled women in Iceland. 

UNU-GEST has in the past supported candidates from Uganda who work in the field of disability. In spring semester 2018, Peter Collins Katuramu, who serves as the youth officer at NUDPU, attended the UNU-GEST programme. He wrote his final assignment on Reducing the Violation of Rights for Women and Girls with Disabilities in Kabarole District, Western Region of Uganda. He is also supporting the UNU-GEST team in its efforts to identify candidates for the initiative. Another former fellow from Uganda is Miriam Akot who graduated from the UNU-GEST programme in 2016 focused on the  Promotion of Menstrual Hygiene among Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Vocational Rehabilitation Centres in Uganda, in her final assignment.

As a part of this project, we invite organizations and institutes to nominate activists, junior specialists and public servants working in the field of ensuring rights and access for disabled people to nominate candidates. 


Milica Minic (e-mail milica@hi.is) manages the project on behalf of UNU-GEST.