Uganda adopted its third National Action Plan (NAP) in 2021 for the period 2021-2025. It is preceded by two others, for the periods 2008-2010 and 2011-2015.
In 2008, Uganda adopted its first National Action Plan (NAP). The NAP was developed by the Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development and constitutes a part of a broader national strategic framework on the advancement of women; in particular, the five year National Action Plan on Women (2007) which set out priorities in peacebuilding, conflict resolution and the rights of women and girls to live free from violence. Relatedly, the NAP addresses the gendered impacts of small arms and light weapons as well as referencing Uganda’s arms control and disarmament measures. A second NAP was adopted for the period 2011-2015.
A participatory development process was formulated as a roadmap to NAP III in January 2019, informed by the review and evaluation of the two previous Ugandan NAPs, as well as UN Women’s 2015 global study on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The NAP is implemented through a localisation strategy that is people-focused and bottom-up. Rather than a prescriptive tool, it is intended to be ‘an essential guiding tool for different sectors’ (p. 31) including governmental ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), NGOs and cultural institutions. NAP III focuses on four core goals: all forms of violence prevented and conflicts resolved; good governance enhanced at all levels; natural and human-made disasters prevented and mitigated; systems and structures for the implementation and coordination of the NAP III strengthened. It has a comprehensive and detailed Monitoring and Evaluation Plan based on annual reporting from civil society, MDAs and district local governments, as well as a mid-term evaluation in 2023. It also has an estimated total budget of 90,570,166,912 UGX.
Uganda reported on the implementation of its NAP, as well as WPS commitments, in its national reporting for Beijing+25 and in preparation for CSW64. Specifically, Uganda stated that the country conducted an evaluation of the NAP, and a multi- stakeholder technical committee to develop a successor national action plan was put in place. The identified legal priority areas of the NAP were legal and policy frameworks; improved access to health and medical services and psychosocial services for GBV victims/survivors; women in leadership and decision making and prevention of GBV in Society; and budgetary allocations for implementation on UNSCR 1325. Local governments also developed and implemented peace action plans with support from civil society organizations. In the implementation of the plans, community members were assigned roles in conflict analysis, early warning, prevention and response.
Uganda gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962, after decades of colonial rule by the British Empire. Uganda experienced a military dictatorship from 1971 until 1979, a civil war, which lasted from 1980 until 1986, as well as a protracted conflict between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army, ongoing since 1987. Women have been deliberately targeted with sexual violence during these conflicts, and a study on displaced and conflict-affected populations in Uganda found that women were twice as likely to demonstrate systems of PTSD as well as being four times as likely to show systems of depression.
In 2019, Uganda was among the top 5 countries in the world with the biggest increase in their military expenditure, with a 52% increase in its military spending.
At the multilateral level, Uganda most recently served as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2009-2010.
Global Gender Gap Index 2020
65 out of 153
Arms Trade Not Treaty Ratified
Military expenditure (2019)
$646 million USD
Explore the National Action Plan of Uganda
The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD), with support from UN Women and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Uganda, developed a roadmap to developing NAP III.
Prior to the full drafting, MGLSD and UN Women secured the commitment of 28 key government MDAs, religious and cultural institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), UN Agencies, the media, academia and private sector actors to take part in the development and implementation of the NAPIII.
NAP will be implemented through a localisation strategy across different sectors including government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), such as the Ministry of Health, and Parliament; local governments; non-governmental organisation (NGOs) and women’s organizations; community-based organization (CBOs); the media; faith-based organisations (FBOs); cultural institutions; academia and research institutions; donor agencies and development partners; security sector.
Localisation, introduced by CSOs, allows for local ownership and participation for better policy-making and implementation. Whilst each MDA and CSO has designed operational plans specifying the interventions they will carry out to contribute to NAP III, the MGLSD will be to ensure the coordination of all MDAs and CSOs involved in its implementation. MGLSD will also design its own operational plans in line with NAP III’s framework.
NAP monitoring and evaluation
The Monitoring and Evaluation Plan will be led by MGLSD, and supported by the Office of Prime Minister (OPM). The National Technical Committee (NTC) will provide technical guidance.
Civil society, MDAs and district local governments will also be invited for annual reporting on their progress.
The implementation period for Uganda’s NAP is five years (2021-2025).
The NAP focuses on fifteen medium-term outcomes categorized under four core outcomes.
Core outcome 1: All forms of violence prevented and conflicts resolved (p. 21)
- Social cohesion is enhanced
- Land related conflicts reduced
- Election related violence reduced
- Inter-ethnic conflicts reduced and peaceful co-existence and cohesion in communities promoted
Core outcome 2: Good governance enhanced at all levels (p. 23)
- Increased participation of women in decision making in the security sector
- Social, cultural, and religious norms, values, practices, and perceptions aligned to human rights standards
- Women’s involvement in dialogues on issues for women peace and security increased
Core outcome 3: Natural and human-made disasters prevented and mitigated (p. 25)
- Increased women’s involvement in environment conservation, natural resource management and climate change mitigation
- Improved meaningful participation of women refugees and host communities in decision making for peaceful co-existence
- Increased participation of women in reduction of violent extremism
- Increased women’s leadership in the prevention and mitigation of emerging viral diseases in vulnerable communities
Core outcome 4: Systems and structures for the implementation and coordination of the NAP III strengthened (p. 27)
- NAP III costed and sufficiently resourced
- Effective NAP III Coordination mechanisms are established
- Progress on NAP III implementation is regularly and effectively communicated
- Key actors are mobilized and engaged in the implementation of the NAP
Each of the four core outcomes has a set of strategic interventions whilst each of the fifteen medium-term outcomes has a set of outputs.
For example, core outcome 3: ‘Natural and human made disasters prevented and mitigated’ includes a list of strategic interventions such as (p. 26):
- Promote and support women’s access to climate change related information and information on environmental conservation technologies
- Empower women in refugee settlements and host communities to take on leadership roles and participate in interventions that promote peaceful coexistence.
- Support women groups to gain knowledge and skills in detecting and preventing violent extremism and provide psychosocial support to families affected by violent extremism
Outcome 3 also contains 4 medium-term outcomes, including ‘Increased women’s leadership in the prevention and mitigation of emerging viral diseases in vulnerable communities’. Outputs for this medium-term goal are (p. 25):
- Increased knowledge and awareness among women for the prevention and management of emerging viral diseases
- Strengthened capacity of actors in gender responsive prevention and mitigation of emerging viral diseases.
Each core outcome, as well as each subset of medium-term outcomes, are given a set of performance indicators, indicator definition and method of analysis, source of information / means of verification, and contributing partner.
For example, Medium-term Outcome 1.4: ‘Interethnic conflicts reduced and peaceful co-existence and cohesion in communities promoted’, has the following (p. 45):
- Performance indicator: Level of involvement of women in peacebuilding processes
- Indicator definition, method of analysis: Indicator tracks how women are influencing peacebuilding efforts through their participation in peacebuilding processes, including raising awareness, mediation, negotiation.
- Source of information/verification: Perception survey reports
- Contributing partners: MIA, MGLSD, CSO
The Monitoring and Evaluation Plan, led by MGLSD, and supported by the OPM and the NTC, is based upon annual reporting by civil society, MDAs and district local governments on their progress. There will also be a mid-term evaluation in 2023 to assess whether outcomes are being achieved and if any adjustment to the activities is required. An in-depth external evaluation will be conducted in the final year of implementation, with a new NAP developed from its recommendations.
Performance indicators, which are mostly quantitative, are clearly laid out for each core outcome and medium-term outcome under the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan. The source of information or means of verification, and contributing partners facilitate the monitoring and evaluation of NAP III by providing sources to assess progress toward indicators and the actors involved. The medium-term goals and their indicators will be assessed in the 2023 mid-term evaluation.
The output of each medium-term outcome is given an estimated cost in the Ugandan Shilling (UGX), along with a subtotal for each outcome.
For example, under core outcome 2: ‘Good governance enhanced at all levels’, medium-term Outcome 1 is ‘Increased participation of women in decision making in the Security sector’ has the following costs associated (p. 38):
- Gender policies across all security sector institutions passed: 2,035,000,000 UGX
- Increased knowledge and awareness of security sector leadership on the transformative role of women’s participation: 827,068,000 UGX
- Systems and structures for the implementation of gender policies in security sector institutions are strengthened: 750,000,000 UGX
Monitoring and evaluation is also allocated a cost of 2,682,923,648 UGX. The total budget comes to 90,570,166,912 UGX.
Disarmament is addressed briefly in the context of women’s participation. Women’s CSOs participation in disarmament programmes is discussed as an indicator of the outcome ‘Women involvement in dialogues on issues of women, peace and security increased’.
Under situation analysis, NAP III identified that the National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, is addressing issues of SGBV, indicating that Ugandan officials are already focused to some degree on the gendered impacts of arms and weapons. This seems to flow naturally from highlighting and addressing the link in the first NAP. However, NAP III itself does not address SALW, SALW control measures, disarmament, nor the gendered implications of weapons proliferation.
There was some Civil Society involvement in the development of the indicators, but no specific groups or organisations were mentioned.
Development was led by the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development with input from relevant ministries and local governments.
The NAP establishes strategic actions to increase the role of Civil Society organizations in the formulation and implementation of policy and strengthen technical expertise and capacity. Civil Society are also provided responsibility throughout for various activities such as data collection, reporting, education and service delivery. There is also one women’s Civil Society Organization represented in the UN Joint Programming on Gender. Unlike other NAPs, there is no provision for an ongoing formalized role for Civil Society in the implementation or monitoring of the NAP.
Government ministries involved in the implementation include: Education and Sports; Finance, Planning and Economic Development; Gender Labour and Social Development; Health; Internal Affairs; Justice and Constitutional Affairs; Local Government; The New Partnership for African Development; Ugandan Human Rights Commission, Uganda Law Reform Commission, Uganda Law Society, Uganda Management Institute, Uganda People's Defence Forces; Uganda Women's Parliamentary Association; Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
NAP Monitoring and Evaluation
Civil Society established the UNSCR 1325 Civil Society Taskforce in 2009 to monitor the implementation of the NAP. The establishment of the Taskforce was led by Center for Women in Governance and coordinated by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders. Civil Society has produced comprehensive annual monitoring reports, the most recent of which concluded the following recommendations:
Recommendations for Women's Participation in Governance:
- Civil society must hold women on affirmative action accountable to women. As the women’s movement concretizes the women’s agenda for the period 2011-2016, they must share it widely with women who will have been elected in parliament and in district councils in the 2011 elections.
- Avail the women’s agenda to all newly elected women MPs and district councilors soon after the general elections in 2011. Government should review the affirmative action policy with a view to increasing women’s representation to 50 percent at all levels of governance since women comprise over 51 percent of Uganda’s population.
- Government must review the Public Service policies as far as women’s representation is concerned so they too achieve a minimum number of at least 30% like other agencies of government. Women on affirmative action seats in parliament and in district councils must be mindful of the fact their constituency is the women of Uganda, and must therefore work more with women in civil society to keep the women’s agenda on the table.
- Development partners should support women’s organisations to document success stories and experiences of women in politics.
- Donors should also avail adequate funding for women’s organisations that help to build the capacity of women’s community based organisations. Government needs to recognise the important role women play in peace negotiations, in peace building and in conflict transformation. Therefore government must, as a policy always include at least a third women representation on peace negotiation teams.
- The percentage of women in uniform in top positions is very small. Government needs to implement a policy that motivates and promotes women in uniform for they bring unique qualities to the forces. Development partners should support such efforts.
- Government should appoint more women as heads of constitutional and statutory bodies and also on boards of such bodies. The number of women in such positions is still small compared to the men. Women’s organisations that have not been part of task forces and coalitions for issues on women peace and security need to get on board. It is in numbers that voice will increase.
- Train women on assertiveness and, campaign skills, public speaking, negotiation, lobbying, advocacy, fundraising and gender mainstreaming to increase and strengthen women’s political participation.
- Increase funding for women’s CSOs engaged in women’s capacity building for political life and monitoring of recovery programmes.
- Mobilise women and men to vote for women and work with women MPs to promote women focused politics.
Recommendations for Prevention and Protection:
- Develop a plan of action for coordinated monitoring of the implementation of the NAP, as well as advocacy and M&E capacity development for CBOs that work on women, peace and security.
- Support a study on the utilization of gender sensitive laws and policies in Uganda.
- Sensitize local district authorities on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 and the NAP and support processes for them to develop District Action Plans, and also sensitize law enforcement agents because VAW takes place at the local level.
- Strengthen advocacy capacity of women’s CBOs that focus on women, peace and security issues
National Level Recommendations:
- Strengthen the institutional capacity of the Family and Child Protection Unit in the Uganda Police Department to carry out their duties efficiently.
- Design and implement medical interventions including psychosocial support for women in post conflict areas in time for the next budget cycle.
- Increase engagement with women in uniform Support financing for implementation of the NAP for 1325 and 1820
- Finance implementation of the NAP Implement all areas of the NAP Recommendations for Promoting a Gendered Perspective:
- Integrating gender and peace issues into the education curricula at all levels and auditing such curricula for gender before they are published
- Subject each new development programme including Sector Strategic Plans and Annual Work plans and budgets to gender audits
- Integrate gender issues in all future peace agreements
- Monitor and ensure that all post and pre deployment training for troops going for peace keeping missions incorporate 1325, 1820 and other international human rights instruments.
- Reconceptualise the role of women in post conflict reconstruction and acknowledge, analyse and reflect in programme design the critical role played by women in economic recovery programmes.
- Train local authorities and officials at district and sub county levels in gender sensitive planning and budgeting
- Develop planning and monitoring tools for both conflict and gender impacts of development interventions
The Ministry of Justice and Consitutional Affairs, Family Affairs, and Gender Labour Relations, are tasked with coming out with annual reports. The Law Reform Commission and Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development will come out with half-yearly reports.
The 2008 Ugandan NAP does not specify the period for which the NAP will be implemented, nor does it give specific timeframes for the actions to which it commits. In the third Ugandan NAP it indicates that the 2008 NAP was implemented until 2010.
The NAP includes five Strategic Objectives:
Strategic Objective 1: Improved legal and policy environment in relation to enacting laws and policy making on GBV
Strategic Objective 2: Improved performance of the different actors involved in combating GBV
Strategic Objective 3: Increase access to appropriate health services and psychosocial services to victims of SGBV and increased collaboration, linkages and joint initiatives among the various actors responding to SGBV health related issues
Strategic Objective 4: Increase Women’s Visibility, Representation and Participation in Leadership and Decision-Making in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflict.
Strategic Objective 5: Build community and institutional capacity to ensure the prevention of GBV in society.
Each Strategic Objective has a set of Strategic Actions attached. For example, for Strategic Objective 1, the following actions are given:
- Enact and where necessary amend laws to conform to the UNSCR 1325 & 1820 and Goma Declaration and protect women from gender-based violence and domesticate the Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children by reforming the Penal Codes to provide stiff punishment for crimes related to GBV.
- Provide support to transitional justice mechanisms so that they are equitable and inclusive of women. Increased use of the Grade 1 Magistrate Courts at the district level.
- Develop a policy on legal aid provision for the poor and vulnerable, and ensure the provision of substantial support to organizations that provide legal aid services to women so as to equitably access and utilize the legal system in relation to GBV.
- Support the development and implementation of legislative and policy mechanisms to respond to vulnerabilities of children born out of rape and to women with pregnancy to benefit from maternal assistance. I
- Institute a National Committee for the protection of Women and Children from sexual violence to ensure follow-up, dissemination and implementation of the Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children established.
Each Strategic Action in the Ugandan NAP offers a set of indicators. For example, under Strategic Objective 2, the sixth action - "Community participation in working with the judiciary and the police to combat GBV" - gives the following indicators:
- No. of capacity building programmes
- No. of community initiatives
- No. of key actors participating in the programmes
- No. of institutions supporting and implementing community-based programmes
Monitoring and Evaluation
A full Monitoring and Evaluation Framework is included in the NAP which detail the sources for data collection, actors responsible for reporting and the frequency of reporting.
The NAP details a broad spectrum of actors responsible for implementing the NAP which includes Government Ministries, bodies and departments, local administration, indigenous and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Community Based Organizations, the media, Faith Based Organizations, UN agencies and other bilateral organizations, Donor Agencies, Development Partners and the Private Sector.
The NAP does not specify the creation of a body responsible for overseeing implementation, formal review/comprehensive reporting processes, or detail how each stakeholder will be effectively coordinated, supported and held accountable in implementing the NAP.
The NAP outlines anticipated risks and challenges to successful implementation which includes appropriate funding, political will, implementation capacity, coordination and institutional monitoring and evaluation, but does not go on to elaborate strategies to mitigate against such risks.
The Ugandan NAP does not include a dedicated budget, or estimated implementation and monitoring costings.
The NAP accounts for budget concerns in Strategic Objective 6 ‘Increased financing to all sectors for implementation’, which lists two areas of strategic action:
- Identifying, mobilizing and allocating the required resources to undertake strategic actions through the budgetary process.
- Provide financial, technical and logistical support for the implementation of the action plan and other gender sensitive efforts to combat GBV.
No indicators or actions are included that formulate strategies for sourcing increased funding; detail what level of funding is required for which specific activities; or what accountability mechanisms will ensure funding is raised and used in implementing the NAP. General gender sensitivity in budgeting processes overall are cited, and the need to direct more resources and technical assistance to combating gender based violence.
The Monitoring and evaluation framework cites reviews of government planning and budgeting processes, progress reports, community and stakeholder consultation as well as National Budget and National Bureau of Statistics as data collection mechanisms able to monitor implementation spending and resource allocation.
The introductory chapters of the NAP identify the domestic and regional proliferation and easy accessibility of arms, particularly Small and Light Weapons as contributing to Uganda’s experience of conflict, insecurity and violence against women.
The NAP also references Uganda’s arms control and disarmament commitments, namely; the Bamako Declaration on an African Common Position on Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking on Small Arms and Light Weapons (2000); the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons (2004). The inclusion of disarmament language and actions are limited within the NAP's indicators, which includes one reference within Strategic Objective 5 to put “mechanisms in place to combat the problem of arms trafficking and illegal acquisition of arms”