Source: New Vision 
Organizations of women living with HIV and women's rights organizations in Uganda are not adequately accessing funding although billions of Ugandan shillings were spent on HIV and Aids in previous years.

This is according to the first-ever rapid assessment report of the status of access to funding by organizations of women living with HIV, gender and human rights.

The study was conducted in all districts in Uganda in 2014 by the International Community of Women living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA) and funded by the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID).

A qualitative and quantitative methodology was used to collect data.

It was found that although a total of $586.6m (about sh1.8trillion) and $579.7m (about sh1.7trillion) were spent on HIV and Aids in 2008/9 and 2009/10 respectively, increased funding nationally did not match with access by women organizations, especially in rural communities.

Over the last five years there have been a number of funding mechanisms from the Global Fund – to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria – and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), among other multinational organizations, but little funding has trickled down to women and girls.

The report also showed that since women constitute a big proportion of Uganda's population (50%) and that HIV prevalence is higher among women than among men, the increasing HIV prevalence and incidence rates in the country imply an increasing impact of the epidemic on women.

During the launch of the report recently, Lillian Mworeko, the regional coordinator of ICWEA, said that while women and girls in the country still carry the burden of HIV/Aids, to a large extent, organizations dealing with women living with HIV have been left out.

ICWEA is a membership regional network run by and for women living with HIV – including young women living with HIV in eastern Africa.

HIV funding not adequately reaching women, girls – studyFrom left, UN Women representative Hodan Addou, Jane Mpagi (gender ministry)(centre) and ICWEA executive director Lillian Mworeko launching the ICWEA report. (Photo credit: Kennedy Oryema)

'Primary care providers'

Mworeko said they conceived the idea out of the realization of the need for information to provide evidence on the extent to which organizations of women living with HIV and other gender and women's rights organizations are accessing funding from funding mechanisms set up to support HIV and Aids works in the east African region.

Whereas external multilateral funding sources are accessed by some women's human rights organizations, many women organizations fail to access funds due to technical and stringent requirements and the apparent limited capacity of the organizations to compete for funding, she said.

"Yet the significant contribution to Aids financing by households indicates that there is high burden of care to women, who are primary care providers in households. We appreciate the funding from external bilateral agencies, but there should be increment on women funding," explained Moworeko.

She talked of there being a false assumption by most global funding partners that by putting recourses in the existing global funding frameworks and mechanisms like the Global Fund and PEPFAR, access to these funds by organizations of women living with HIV as well as other women's rights organizations is guaranteed.

Dr. Lydia Mungherera, the chief executive of the Mama's Club said that most rural women organizations cannot draft their own proposals, which makes them vulnerable and unable to compete for funding.

Other participants retaliated that women organizations should also endeavor to build partnerships or consortia in developing proposals.

Some suggested that the involvement of all stakeholders is needed in developing the capacity of women organizations.

"The donors should also tailor funding for women organizations with lower capacities by developing simplified proposal formats and adopting an affirmative action for women organizations," said the James Titus Twesige, the country director of Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders (AMICAAL)

Musa Bunagudu, a UN director, told representatives from the World Health Organization, UNAIDS and UN-Women that they should continue lobbying for funds which will directly benefit the women.

He also told women groups that they should write their proposals well indicating what they require and how funds will be used.

The meeting was attended by NGO representatives, Community Based Organizations, local and international organizations, among others.

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