On Tuesday during the Opening Ceremony of the Grandmothers’ National Gathering aimed at facilitating space for grandmothers to meet and learn from each other, build solidarity and share priorities with national policy makers, grandmothers from across the country jointly asked the government to prioritize their health and social protection.
The 3-day event held at Pope Paul memorial Hotel at Ndeeba, Kampala started on Tuesday 24th October 2023 and is running under the theme; Reflect, Rejuvenate, Renew: Grandmothers rising to new possibilities. Twenty grandmothers from Luweero district, supported by Reach Out Mbuya Community Health Initiative (ROM) attended the gathering.
The gathering was graced by Mr. Byonanebye Prosper, the Commissioner of Disability and Older Persons at the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development. He appreciated the Grandmothers’ Consortium for improving the wellbeing of grandmothers in the country and thanked Stephen Lewis Foundation too for all the support extended to the grandmothers.
He also told the participants that as ministry, they are much concerned about six pressing problems faced by grandmothers including ageism, stigma related to sexual reproduction challenges, too much kindness that brings to them the responsibility burden, lack of access to information, gender-based violence especially related to land rights and poor hygiene due to lack water and other sanitation requirements.
Among the heartwarming testimonies by grandmothers was ROM’s Katherine Nakabugo’s testimony of how ROM has been so instrumental in improving her health and social wellbeing for all these years. “Previously, I would suffer from on and off illnesses, but with the treatment I and economic support received from ROM, I am now well.” Nakaugo said. She also added that the elderly have also been greatly supported by the current leadership as far as land ownership challenges are concerned.
Catherine Nakabugo on the on the first day of the gathering.
This gathering was organised by the Grandmothers Consortium, an NGO founded in 2015 by six Ugandan grassroots organisations of which ROM is part to act as a platform for grandmothers to advocate and lobby for their rights.
The participants also showcased various products-evidence of skills gained through Village Savings and Loans Associations groups organised and trained by ROM. Products included local foodstuffs, herbs, vegetables, liquid soap, crafts and so much more.
A grandmother showing the Commissioner some of the products by their VSLA
For the three days, grandmothers will be interacting, sharing experience with peers and oncourse enjoying the ambiance of a new environment.