Community Approves Leadership by a Person with Disability
In February 2001, the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebels led an attack against an Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camp in Barlonyo, Agweng sub county. This massacre was one of the worst atrocities committed by the LRA rebels in northern Uganda; as a result, many lives and property were lost. For long, the community of Barlonyo had lived in depression with little appreciation for life.
Government of Uganda worked tirelessly hard to combat this rebellion and restored peace in the northern Uganda. The government also continued to support the development of the once war tone areas with rehabilitation programs among which included Peace Recovery and Development Programmes (PRDP) and Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) from which the community of Barlonyo benefited.
In Barlonyo community, lives Mr. Lameck Okello who derives his livelihood from peasant farming. He also represents the PWDs on one of the small scale farmer platforms working in coordination with Facilitation for Peace and Development (FAPAD) with support from ICCO. Lameck’s rise to political leadership came as an appreciation by his community in regard to the role of people with disability (PWDs) in development agenda of our society.
For long, Lameck had been an executive member on the local council II committee of Orit parish in Barlonyo; representing the PWDs. However, the actual chairperson of this committee unfortunately died living this position vacant. In 2017, the community of Orit parish elevated Lameck to the full position of LCII chairperson. This was because of his honest service and contribution to the community of Barlonyo. Lameck has also been applauded for always mobilizing his community and different stakeholders of his parish to participate in decision making processes.
His leadership has always prioritized concerns of all vulnerable categories’ such as the PWDs, youth, women, orphans and the elderly. Just recently, he spearheaded the process of mobilizing his community to participate in the annual local government budgeting and planning cycle. Together with community, priority areas identified included; supply of agro inputs including maize, cassava stems and beans, supply of tricycles, rehabilitation of community access roads. The community also prioritized the need to access special grants for PWDs, Youth Livelihood funds and Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme; which were integrated into the parish development plan for financial year 2018/19.
To date, Lameck is seen as a role model leader who works very closely with community through their farmer platform members to hold duty bearers and other stakeholders accountable. This is through ensuring that small scale farmers in his community have access to quality seeds, land and other factors of production. He also hopes to use his position of influence to address the emerging issues in his community to relevant duty bearers. Lameck is confident that his leadership will not only improve the lives of small scale farmers but the PWDs, youth, women and other vulnerable groups will have their rights to access, ownership and control of resources especially land respected.
The Civic Engagement Alliance program empowered communities on role and need to respect the rights and contribution of the PWDs, youth and the women.