The leadership role of forum for women in democracy (FOWODE) in the development of democracy in Uganda
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This study was carried out with the aim of examining the leadership role of FOWODE in the development of democracy through empowering women to participate in politics. The objectives of the study centered on the establishment of the skills FOWODE imparted to the women aspiring for political office. Assessment of their performance in parliament; with the major objective of examining the leadership role FOWODE plays in the development of democracy in Uganda. The researcher employed qualitative and quantitative research methods and focused mainly on the women members of the seventh Parliament (2001-2006) who were empowered by FOWODE to run for parliamentary positions in the 2006 multiparty elections; in the bid to increase the number of women in politics. Using the simple random sampling method, the researcher used in depth interviews and questionnaires to collect data from the respondents. Research findings show that the training FOWODE gave to the women equipped them with preparation and communication skiIls that were vital for the success of the political campaigns, 85% of the participants won their elections and the women MP's performance in parliament was good in the plenary session compared to the committee. FOWODE's work in the area of women political empowerment has yielded fruits as the number of women in politics is increasing. However, there is still a lot to be done as the development of democracy is not an overnight phenomenon but a gradual process over time. On the whole, FOWODE's leadership in the development of democracy is commendable as women are becoming increasingly visible on the political arena. However its performance needs to be stepped up if the gains made on the part of women's political empowerment are to be sustainable. The researcher therefore recommended that FOWODE should hold regular trainings throughout the year, expand the scope to include women aspirants at local government level, proactively identify and support women to stand on open seat tickets and step up the leadership training of the youth(between 18 -20 years) for its sustainable contribution to the development of democracy in Uganda FOWODE alone cannot fully develop democracy in Uganda because this is a multipartner task that involves other civil society organizations, the government, donor agencies and the citizens. All these groups must work together to enhance democracy as none is mutually exclusive of the other. This binges on the premise that the ratio of women to men participating in politics is still low yet women constitute about half of the total Ugandan population. It is only when there is an equitable participation of both women and men that social harmony will be ensured and consequently democracy.