Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa bordering Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The country’s population is projected to stand at 37,588,915 million with a higher population of females (51%) compared to males (49%). Fifty-six per cent (56%) of the population is below 18 years of age, and over 78% is below 30 years of age. The life expectancy at birth is 53.1 years for male and 55.86 years for females. Suffice to note that Women and men, with or without disabilities, have different life experiences due to biological, psychological, economic, social, political and cultural attributes. Patterns of disadvantage are often associated with the differences in the social position of women and these gendered differences are even more pronounced in the life experiences of women and men with disabilities. Women with disabilities face multiple forms of discrimination and are often more disadvantaged than men with disabilities in similar circumstances.
Extreme poverty is the main problem faced by PWDs in Uganda. The majority of WWDs live below the poverty line and are often more vulnerable than people without disabilities. PWDs are faced with poor standards of living characterized by very poor health and living conditions including malnutrition, poor clothing, poor housing and poor access to medical care and necessary social services. The majority of PWDs are illiterate or semi illiterate. They are also discriminated and isolated at both family and community level. This denies them opportunities to exploit their abilities and talents. Besides, PWDs undermine themselves hence hindering the achievement of their full potential. The mainstream services such as education, health, anti-poverty programmes, and others still reach few PWDs.
The challenges faced by GWWDs include high levels of neglect, malnutrition, infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS infection, illiteracy, non-existence of inheritance rights, discrimination and stigmatization within the institutions of family and marriage, and exclusion from opportunities for education and employment. WWDs are largely excluded from leadership roles in the social, employment and political circles.
The above factors have also culminated into the marginalization of girls and women with disabilities from accessing financial and other economic resources, hence the perpetuation of chronic poverty among them.
It is under the above background that IDIWA has developed the following thematic areas for her 2020-2024 Strategic Plan: