Citizens Claim – and Enjoy – Their Rights to Life-Saving Services
By Faridah Luyiga, White Ribbon Alliance, Communication Manager
White Ribbon Alliance Uganda celebrates the International Day for Maternal Health and Rights by sharing their ”Act Now to Save Mother’s” campaign’s success in creating awareness about citizens’ rights and responsibilities at the grassroots level. Throughout the campaign, WRA Uganda empowered citizens to demand accountability from their leaders and to advocate with confidence. Citizens in Uganda are now working with their local and national officials to ensure lifesaving services are provided in their health centers.
Citizens signed petitions that demonstrated their awareness of the status of Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEmONC) and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC) services and articulation of gaps, leading to improvement in the level of services provided. This successful grassroots organizing for maternal health and rights was praised by the Lira and Kabale District Women Members of Parliament.
Hon. Atim Joy Ongom, Woman Member of Parliament, Lira District, said “I’m grateful the community already knows what is needed. Previously, they were dying innocently. They didn’t know government had got to do certain things for them, but now the citizens have raised their own voices, they are saying we need this and that.”
WRA Uganda’s work proved to be a boon for Parliament – and women across Uganda – as well:
And, although WRA Uganda’s campaign has ended, their effective use of citizen-led advocacy continues to have ripple effects throughout the country, as more and more citizens feel encouraged to engage their Members of Parliament directly when advocating for the right to safe motherhood.