SRHR Movement Building in the Context of Uganda 

Last month, MCLD-Uganda’s Joanna Mbakulo participated as a special delegate in the Uganda National Conference on Health, Human Rights and Development (UCHD 2023) hosted by the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD). Several CSOs operating in the health sector (and members of the SRHR Movement), individual health and human rights advocates, and donor agencies were in attendance. Joanna’s remarks focused on lessons on effective movement building, referencing MCLD as a case study.  

In addition to speaking as a panelist at the conference, Joanna participated in a pre-conference workshop to reflect on movement building for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Uganda. Participants came together to take stock of how to align to address current SRHR issues in the country. This was an opportunity to realign as advocates for reproductive justice and a moment to brainstorm impactful ways to collaborate for higher impact. 

In small groups, participants had the opportunity to analyze the status of their movement and discuss challenges related to the stagnation of the SRHR Movement. Below are ten aspects that stood out to Joanna from the conversation. 

A Movement:

  1. Requires constant visibility.
  2. Needs funds to facilitate the drivers.
  3. Must have a point of contact to speak and represent at all times.
  4. Will experience resistance but should be continuously moving – should it get stuck, there should be another way to continue moving forward.
  5. Should strive to remain relevant and vibrant – be creative, do not remain on paper. 
  6. Should involve economically empowered and influential people to enable growth.
  7. Should look for measurable success to track progress.
  8. Should be accessible to all interested.
  9. Needs togetherness. 
  10. Should be a political, social, or economic commodity. 

Emerging from this engagement has been Planned Parenthood Global’s linkage with MCLD-U with the intent to collaborate and build the capacity of SRHR CSOs to integrate Community-Led Development in their advocacy work as the first strategy to strengthening the SRHR Movement and build coherence, considering that CLD allows self-introspection, mindset shift, and enables focus on the desired direction. The proposed training is expected to happen in January 2024 with the availability of funds.