Ritah is an accountability advocate on our BIG IDEA project, led by young people around the world. Globally these young people are working to hold their leaders to account for promises they make, and make sure these same leaders commit to ambitious goals to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change.
Growing up in rural Uganda, I have experienced and witnessed cases of drug shortages in health facilities, alarming levels of teachers not turning up to teach in schools and, expired crop seeds being distributed to farmers and farmer groups. I have heard stories of men who batter their wives being arrested and released the following day.
People continue to die from preventable diseases such as malaria and diarrhea. The memories of those that perish from hunger and lack of clean drinking water will always be etched on the hearts of their loved ones.
Globally, women and girls form the majority of the world’s poor and a significant number of them rely on public services. The case is no different for Uganda. This means that breakdown of these services can immensely impact the quality of their lives.
In Uganda, misuse of public resources is affecting delivery of much needed public goods and services including: healthcare, education, access to clean water and justice, among others. It is therefore important that women and girls are a part of the movement calling for accountability and transparency from world leaders. It’s not just that we are affected. Holding decision makers accountable is our right, at the same time, it is our cardinal duty as citizens.
In August 2015, I was selected to be an accountability advocate with the Restless Development BIG IDEA programme. The project equips young people with skills they need to hold leaders to the commitments they make. My responsibilities include: raising awareness of the Global Goals and equipping young people and organizations with skills to hold governments to the promises they make.
Early this year, myself alongside two other advocates, successfully organized a training for young people on accountability. In the same training, we decided on the goals and targets we would be focusing on, in relation to national youth priorities in Uganda. The goals we decided to focus on in Uganda are:
- To make sure everyone has access to sexual and reproductive health care services.
- To reduce the proportion of young people not in employment, education, or training.
- To make sure there is inclusive and representative decision making, enabling everyone’s views to be heard.
Being part of this project has helped me to understand the role I can play in the attainment of the Global Goals. Importantly, it has given me an opportunity to be a role model for other young women, showing that young women can and should lead.
Women and girls have for decades disproved the belief that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. We are telling the world that while we can do an awesome job in the kitchen, we can also rule the conference room. We are transforming healthcare, education, politics, technology, name it. And, we are doing it with grace and compassion, bringing much needed healing and transformation to our world. Now, the challenge upon us is to demand, with one voice for accountability, for transparency and, for good governance. We deserve better, humanity deserves better!
Find how more young people are using their power to change the world in our Youth Power campaign.