FAMILY: CSOs Punch Holes On Uganda National Family Policy

Senior Attorney Rose Wakikona presents her findings PHOTO/PATRICK JARAMOGI

By Our Reporter

KAMPALA, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA] The Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development (MGLSD) developed the Uganda National Family Policy in 2020, to among others provide strategies for unlocking the opportunities of the family, as a vehicle for state formation.

Much as the intended purpose of the policy is to reduce on cases of domestic violence and improve trust within the households, a new analysis conducted by the Women’s Probono Initiative (WPI) unearthed several gaps that needs review.


Samantha Agwero the Programs Officer WPI said the objective of the dissemination is to create awareness on the human rights implications of the proposed National Family Policy and the recommendations made.

Rose Wakikona, a Senior Attorney and Human Rights Activists who lead the team that authored the analysis report pointed out that the Uganda National Family Policy 2020 ignores other forms of marriages in Uganda such as the customary marriage, Muslim, and Hindu marriages.


While releasing the report at the Golf Course Hotel Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday, Wakikona said: “The Policy does not present concrete empirical evidence for some of the assertions it makes. Some appear to be based on conjecture and possibly personal biases.”

She asked; “How for instance is the upbringing of husband and wife determined, and how does it manifest in increased cases of suicide?”


WPI Programs Officer Samantha Agwero gives her presentation

Wakikona noted that issues such as sexual assault, poor school attendance, because boys are favored to attend school over girls are given inadequate and insufficient attention.

“The laws regulating and providing for family in Uganda are both archaic and colonial in nature. Part of the laws inherited from the colonial rule include the Marriage Act and Divorce Act which commenced application in 1904,” said Wakikona. She said a law of 118 years can’t be used as basis for a new policy in 2020.

She said the policy also doesn’t recognize the Divorce Act, which is a key piece of legislation when it comes to the family. “The Divorce Act recognizes that sometimes marriages fail and people separate, and provides rules for equitable separation,” she explained.

No Guarantees for Social Protection

The Analysis made with support from IPAS also punched holes on the Uganda National Family Policy 2020, especially regarding its lack to provide social protection to families in Uganda.

“Right now if you own a small house and small and fall sick, and don’t have friends to contribute for your treatment, you end up dying because we don’t have health insurance to cater for families,” said Wakikona.

She said considering international instruments for family rights, the import aspect to rights to adequate standard of living include right to food, housing, medical care clothing and social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment.

“The policy rightly notes that the challenges affecting families in Uganda is poverty, and the failure to balance work and life, but fails to design interventions to address these challenges,” said Wakikona.


The analysis notes that the policy should be enriched by measuring against the proposed and existing sub regional policy frameworks.

Other recommendations include: Need to increase on data collection, expand the definition of a family, recognize the Divorce Act, include social protection, design interventions to support families balance work and life, and benchmark with other countries s



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