Preamble

Cefroht carries out different projects to inform its interventions across its programs and thematic areas, which encompass scientific research, desk reviews, as well as legal and policy framework analysis.

The Role of the media in promotion of human right

Activity Name

Media fellowship

Strategy

Train journalists on the importance of the primacy of human rights in trade and investment policy and practice.

Strategic plan/program objective alignment

  • Increased understanding and interest by the media practitioners to write better stories on business and human rights-related issues while emphasizing the human rights and environmental sustainability gaps in trade and investment policies, laws, and agreements.
  • 3 stories/ news reports written/ reported on by each of the media practitioners within a period of two months after the training on business and human rights-related issues and trade and investment policies
  • Increased understanding of the information and capacity needs of media practitioners. This will be critical in informing future engagements.

Target population(s)/ Target audience

Journalists

The objective of the activity:

  • To equip journalists with information and skills to link trade and investment-related policies, laws, and agreements with human rights
  • To equip media practitioners with information to link the rampant business-related human rights violations to the gaps within economic and development policies, laws and agreements
  • To facilitate journalists to write and report on the key economic and development policy and legal reforms required to address business-related human rights violations in Uganda and the EAC.

Background

Much business-related human rights violations have been registered and continue to be reported, with the majority of those affected, being some of the most marginalized individuals in society.

For instance, reports by Witness Radio have put to the public, information about the many evictions involving commercial investment schemes around the country. In the place of work, dismissals of workers have been registered in factories, flower farms, and plantation-based investments, among others. Whereas these violations are due to the existing gaps within the investment legal frameworks, especially with regard to the responsibilities and obligations of investors towards protecting human rights and the environment, these issues are not highlighted when the reports are published.

This failure has been largely attributed to the fact that a large proportion of media practitioners, including editors and journalists are not aware of these gaps in the law. Some of them are also not even aware of the fact that some trade and investment legal frameworks, such as, Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) can have an impact on government’s capacity to cancel the license of a foreign-owned business which is polluting the environment or violating human rights, without being sued by the business owners. Trade and investment agreements also have an influence on the right to food, right to health, right to a healthy environment, right to decent work, among others. Like many other stakeholders, the media generally have limited appreciation of these linkages to business and human rights issues, their role in promoting human rights, and have thus not been effectively reporting on them.

It is on this background that SEATINI Uganda in partnership with CEFROHT organized a media fellowship to equip media practitioners including journalists and editors with information and skills to link trade and investment policy issues to human rights. The media fellowship was organized as part of the Life before profits campaign with support from Both ENDS.

Achievements

  • seventeen media personalities managed to come for the training
  • Journalists shared with us ideas on how best we can put human right abuse in the new that is by involving the media in tory gathering from the fields where any human right abuse is identified other than just having press conferences
  • Networking with journalists from different media houses
  • Learned how to report human rights abuses ie attaching a face to the story so that it is related to the person viewing or hearing the report

Strategies

  • Facilitate the media personalities to write articles and select the best 3 of the written articles in relation to the training they have had in the fellowship
  • Involve the media in collecting information regarding human rights abuses
  • Organize another media fellowship in the near future
  • Create a mailing group for all media personalities to keep sharing with them the activities of the organization they can report on.
  • Regularly update the website and all our social media with information about ongoing activities a tag in the journalists so they can report on them

IDLO Sub-project

INCEPTION REPORT

PROJECT TITLE: PROMOTE HEALTHY DIETS THROUGH LEGAL EMPOWERMENT AND SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISMS, USING A RIGHTS-BASED, PARTICIPATORY, MULTI-SECTORAL APPROACH

FORWARD

The Centre for Food and adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) is a human rights not-for-profit organization that applies a human rights-based approach to food, nutrition, trade, and investment systems and its linkages to the right to health and adequate living. CEFROHT was founded in 2018 and registered with the Uganda National NGO Bureau in 2019.

CEFROHT was founded to respond to challenges of inadequate wellbeing resulting from food insecurity and contamination, economic injustices as well as lack of a human rights-based approach to food, health, and trade systems.

Our vision is to have a world where the right to adequate living for everyone is realized

Our mission is to promote justice in food, health, trade, and investment systems, through the use of legal tools and social accountability approaches such as strategic litigation, community empowerment, legal and policy advocacy to advance the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being in Uganda and Africa.

PROJECT SYNOPSIS

OBJECTIVE OF THE MEETING:

The objective of the inception meeting was to introduce the project to the staff for deeper understanding prior to project implementation and assigning the staff different roles and responsibilities in this project.  The meeting was held to also spell out the activities that are to be implemented through the sixteen months of the project life and to share the project documents.

INTRODUCTION

The project’s purpose is to contribute to an enabling environment supportive of regulatory and fiscal measures that the overall outcome of the Sub-Project is to strengthen human rights-based advocacy initiatives to support regulatory and fiscal measures that promote healthy diets.

With a projected population of over 40 million people in Uganda, the four major NCDs kill up to 100,000 people annually; which is 35% of the total annual deaths in the country, (according to findings that UNCDA sourced from the World Health Organisation) It should be noted that four of the most prominent non-communicable diseases – cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes – are linked by common preventable risk factors related to lifestyle mostly – diet and physical activity (Global strategy on NCDs).

In addition to that, the food industry enjoys a relaxed food safety system in Uganda with very comfortable taxes and with very limited or no restrictions on front nutrition labeling. As a result, food companies’ advertisements promote foods high in fats, sugar, and salt, consumption of which should be limited as part of a healthy diet. The food industry highly targets Children who they influence primarily through three markets: the primary market, as consumers in their own right; the parental market.

Although this is the case, the government, non-state actors, and the general public have very little understanding of how diet is causing premature deaths. The regulatory framework is so weak and unimplemented to prevent these NCDs. The food and drink industry enjoys commercial liberty with no restrictions, which they have used to increase the marketing of processed food and beverages even to children. One policy intervention that can help to achieve healthy populations involves introducing and maintaining strategies that encourage healthy eating habits.

All member states of the World Health Organization have consensus that the most cost-effective interventions to contain the epidemic of non-communicable diseases are prevention and a focus on the risk factors associated with these diseases. They agree that countries should come up with programs aimed at promoting healthy diets and physical activity.

All Ugandans have rights under the constitution of Uganda to safety food, health, life, and freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment and this can only be achieved, if the project uses Legal Empowerment and Social Accountability strategies

With this background the Director of programs, Mr. Kiddu introduced the purpose of the project, that is to “promote healthy diets through legal empowerment and social accountability mechanisms, using human rights-based, participatory, and multi-sectoral approach” and added that the goal which is to contribute to an enabling environment supportive of regulatory and fiscal measures that promote healthy diets by working across sectors and engaging communities’. This was followed by the outcome which is a strengthened human rights-based advocacy initiative and community education to support regulatory and fiscal measures that promote healthy diets.

The output of this project is;

(1) Strengthened  multi-sectoral  and  multi-stakeholder  partnerships  between  government, CSOs, academia, and communities to advocate for  reforms  that  promote  healthy  diets  through social accountability and;

(2) Increased levels of awareness of CSOs, media practitioners,  academics, and the community on legal and policy options and strategies to promote healthy diets through legal empowerment and the beneficiaries of the project that included Policymakers Lawmakers, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Media, Children, and General Public. The meeting had all staff members who will be part of the implementing team.

METHODOLOGY

The use of a human rights-based approach premised on the cardinal legal concept of inherent entitlements as human beings. All Ugandans have rights to safety, health, life, and freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment.  These rights are protected in the Constitution of Uganda (1995). And

LE-SA, if the project uses Legal Empowerment and Social Accountability strategies. Legal Empowerment (LE) has been described as a process of systemic change through which the poor and excluded become able to use the law, legal system, and legal services to protect and advance their rights as citizens and economic actors. The legal empowerment interventions will be premised on; building capacity to utilize legal, fiscal, and regulatory measures to promote healthy diets and promotion of understanding healthy diets as human rights issues.

Social Accountability (SA), on the other hand, refers to a  set of mechanisms or an approach rather than a  specific type of accountability – aiming at building accountability structures through civic engagement, in which it is ordinary citizens and/or  CSOs participate directly or indirectly in exacting accountability.

In detail, the project will indulge actions initiated by citizen groups to hold public officials, politicians, and service providers to account for their conduct and performance in terms of delivering services, improving people’s welfare, and protecting people’s rights. Duty bearers will be required to put in place measures or policies and laws to protect those rights. In this project the working group, CSOs, media, and academia will work with duty bearers to enhance regulatory and fiscal measures to protect the public from unhealthy diets which eventually cause NCDs.  Where duty bearers do not act, then communities can hold them accountable.

ACTIVITIES (WORK PLAN)

Activities under output1

Establish an advocacy working group on using the law to promote healthy diets

The agreed methodology was the establishment of an Advocacy Working Group (AWG) which will include members from; CSOs, academia, and government, and it will be built upon stakeholder mapping already conducted by IDLO and the control groups.

The facilitator highlighted the fact that each Sub-Project brings different sectors and stakeholders to work together therefore there’s a need to create a strengthened partnership among multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholders specifically between government, CSOs, academia, and communities.

This working group shall have monthly meetings over the progress of the project and any variances. The group will carry on dialogues and general advocacy including media platforms to engage duty bearers on the need for a regulatory and fiscal measure towards the promotion of healthy diets and prevention of NCDs.

Map stakeholders

These will be mapped before involvement. They will be mapped according to the strength they have, weaknesses, opportunities, and assessment of whether there exist any threats in their involvement. The mapping will also be based on the influence, steadfastness, and comparative advantage of these stakeholders in promoting the enhancement of regulatory and fiscal measures or policies for healthy diets and prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases.

Develop terms of reference

CEFROHT will work on a draft and the selected working group will discuss and agree on terms of reference for the sub-project. These will be the guide for all members who accept to be part of the sub-project.

Convene a meeting for stakeholders to establish AWG

After mapping, selected members will convene to establish a working group or a coalition to enhance regulatory and fiscal measures from healthy diets and prevention Non-Communicable Diseases.

Develop an advocacy strategy in consultation with stakeholders

CEFROTH will work out a draft advocacy strategy, then the already mapped stakeholders will make inputs

Drafting of the advocacy strategy

The drafting processes will be led by CEFROHT but members of the working group will be making inputs until a consensus is obtained on the final draft

Validation of the advocacy strategy by the Working Group

This will be an online meeting with members of the working group to validate strategy and the developed materials for the sub-project

Development of Policy Briefs for each of the Policy Areas prioritized by the government

CEFROHT will develop the policy briefs. These will be easy to read materials for both Civil Society Organizations and the duty bearers. They will include facts and policy recommendations on the need for an enhanced regulatory and fiscal policy intervention to promote healthy diets for the prevention of Noncommunicable diseases

Hold (4) Policy Dialogues with different Policy Makers

These four policy dialogues are aimed at discussing the critical importance of regulatory and fiscal measures towards the promotion of healthy diets, human rights, and public health and will be held with the ministry of finance, parliamentary committee on health, Uganda Law Reform Commission and the Children’ authority under the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development.

Activities under output 2

Facilitate two seminars at a local academic institution on regulatory and fiscal measures that promote healthy diets and the right to health

The seminars will be held at the Makerere School of Law and Makerere School of Public Health to mobilize practitioners, lecturers, and students to join and participate in the Sub- Project meetings.

Engage the Public through Radio, TV and Social Media Platforms

The public and community will be engaged through radio, TV and social media for purposes of raising awareness and encourage them to support changes in fiscal and regulatory measures that are proposed by CSOs in promotion of healthy diets and physical activity

Development of Simplified Legal Empowerment Modules for CSOs and Media practitioners

CEFROHT will develop Simplified Legal Empowerment Modules (SLEM) for CSOs and Media practitioners. These modules will include but not limited to; information on policy areas like nutrition labeling and marketing, information on the use of legal instruments to promote healthy diets, social accountability mechanisms for promoting healthy diets, etc.

Validation of SLEM by AWG

The Simplified Legal Empowerment Modules will be validated by the working group/coalition members. This will be an online meeting and the budget has been provided to facilitate members to comfortably attend this validation meeting

Train CSOs on regulatory and legal frameworks on healthier diets and nutrition labeling (2 pieces of training)

These will be two training for the Civil Society Organization. These trainings are have been arranged to ether happen physically or online. The budget has been made in such a way that the cost will be accommodative for either of the meeting modes.

Facilitate a workshop for Media Personnel – journalists, editors, reporters, and bloggers on regulatory and fiscal measures on healthy diets, including on the human rights-based approach and social accountability mechanism applicable using developed SLEM. Train media personnel on legal and appropriate reporting on healthier diets and nutrition labeling and how to use their platforms for advocacy

Engage Uganda Law Society to educate ULS-FNC on legal and regulatory measures in relation to healthy diets and physical activity & its legal implications

Develop training materials with the Uganda Law Society on Continuous Learning Education (CLE) for legal practitioners and enter into a cooperation agreement specifically for this training

Conduct training for legal practitioners on the use of legal and regulatory tools to promote healthy diets

Develop a Public Engagement Plan with AWG

CEFROHT will come up with a working draft which together with the advocacy working group will be developed and validated together with the advocacy strategy

Develop thematic messaging

CEFROHT will also develop drafts which will be developed together with the Advocacy working group

Disseminate thematic IEC materials through Radio and TV Programs and Social Media Platforms e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Hold virtual meetings every quarter for 3 implementing partners (Kenya, Uganda & Tanzania)

Hold a regional exchange meeting with partners

This will be a meeting between the three countries who are implementing the sub-project, aiming at the exchange and learning more from each other on how better partners can take forward the work on promoting healthy diets.

AHF supports CEFROHT to offer emergency food support to 400 families.

COVID-19 EMERGENCY SUPPORT PROJECT REPORT

Donor: AIDS HEALTHCARE FUND

Introduction

Uganda was on lockdown due to the COVID-19 global pandemic which has had devastating effects including loss of lives across the world. In response to the global pandemic, the government of Uganda put directives to stop social gatherings of all kinds including public transport and all services except essentials. All towns and villages were on total lockdown. This led and has continued to disrupt social order including access to medicines and all services including food.

The government of Uganda provided food support to the central business districts of Kampala and Wakiso leaving out the vulnerable groups of people in other districts. This was and still is a grave danger to their right to adequate food, health, and livelihood as they are unable to access food or other life necessities to survive.

Vulnerable communities including many women who do street vending were illegally arrested and convicted. They had been detained in prisons leaving their children alone in houses with no support and food.

Persons living with HIV/AIDS were the hardest hit in the lockdown since many could not easily access food yet they had to take medicines. Their right to livelihood was violated and many other lives were threatened if no urgent action was done to curb the situation.

The objective of the project

To establish and operationalize a legal and food emergency response to vulnerable groups of people especially persons living with HIV/AIDS during COVID-19 pandemic in Kasangati Town Council

Justification of the project

Before COVID-19, 38% of children under the age of 5 were malnourished and this percentage was expected to have increased because parents did not have food to feed their children and more than 30 percent of the total population faced some level of chronic food insecurity. The causes of food insecurity in Uganda are multifaceted, often as a result of poverty, landlessness, high fertility, natural disasters, high food prices, lack of education, and the fact that a majority of Ugandans depend on agriculture as a main source of income. This has tripled in the past three months because of the lockdown due to the global pandemic and also the changes in weather conditions of Uganda.

Persons living with HIV/AIDS were the hardest hit since many could not easily get food yet they had to take medicines. This meant that their right to livelihood had been violated and many lives were threatened if no urgent action was done to stop this.

It is on that background that the Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) with the help of AHF reached out to the identified vulnerable persons especially people Living with HIV/TB  with food support in Kasangati Town Council.

Target beneficiaries and geographical coverage of the project

The project targeted four hundred people living with HIV/AIDS heavily affected by the lockdown imposed due to COVID-19 and therefore with limited access to food in the areas of Kasangati Town Council. Those suffering COVID-19 related injustices like arrests and  food access and availability during COVID-19

Implementation/ result

CEFROHT team reached out to a total of 400 vulnerable groups with food aid especially people living with HIV/TB in Kasangati Town Council in the villages of Bulamu, Kamwanyi, Kijabijjo, Namavundu, Kabanyolo, Magigye, Wampeewo, Gayaza, Kayebe, Kyetume, Seeta, Kasangati and Kyankima.

CEFROHT offered emergence legal support to 20 (twenty) families. These women were arrested when they were vending foodstuffs on the streets during the lockdown to get income to sustain their families. These were Illegally convicted and detained in prisons. CEFROHT under this COVID-19 emergence grant re-united them with their families and rescued children who were abandoned in houses alone with food support.