Winnie Naiga, Ugandan Youth Councilor

Updated: December 2023
A young woman wearing a mask stands in front of a sign that says "advocacy"

In 2020, Winnie Naiga, a now 27-year-old Ugandan woman with a psychosocial disability, decided to run for the position of youth councilor in her Village Youth Commitee.


I wanted to fight for those people who don’t have a voice, for people who have problems. I really wanted to change society.


During the campaign, Winnie encountered discrimination; she was told that she could not make good decisions for the community. At the same time, it was difficult to fund her campaign and to ask people to vote for her. Despite these challenges, Winnie won the post and was the first person with a psychosocial disability to be elected to one of Uganda's youth councils. As the vice chairperson, she now represents the interests of young people in Kiteete Village, Mukono District, where she has fought for better education and sexual and reproductive health of persons with disabilities. Winnie credits her success to believing in herself, having a strong support system, and living by her values.


I’m the only [person] with psychosocial disabilities [on the Youth Council], but I make sure that other people with psychosocial disabilities are allowed to speak, give them their freedom of speech and expression, and they use it. A lot of people with psychosocial disabilities don’t have much confidence, so I make sure to talk to them, to understand what they want. I make sure that I speak for them because I have a platform.


Winnie aspires to be a member of parliament or a minister in future. For now, she recommends that other young people with psychosocial disabilities who want to run for office have self-confidence: "When you have strong self belief, you can stand out in the crowd." Treating others with respect, creating a support system, and having financial support can also help with a candidate's success.