Social Identity, Citizen Voice and Rural Access in Uganda

Social identity defines citizens’ voice and their ability to exercise agency to demand for their right to access services and hold public bodies to account. Some identities are socially excluded on account of inter alia their sex, age, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, health/HIV status, social or economic standing, political opinion, and residence [rural/urban]. Others, such as persons with disability [PWDs] are stigmatised identities. Socially excluded identities are often denied rights, voice and resources. The paper is primarily based on rural citizens’ voices with a particular focus on PWDs and women who, owing to their social identities, experience restricted mobility and encounter unique accessibility challenges. The paper explores how accessibility influences their subsistence and domestic needs, employment opportunities, access to and utilisation of social services, as well as engagement in commodity and producer markets. It also analyses how responsive transport services are to gender equality and social inclusion in relation to access, inclusion and participation, opportunity, empowerment and protection. The paper demonstrates that for some socially excluded identities, and in particular for the PWDs, just a few physical steps may present an insurmountable barrier. This imposes restrictions on their economic choices, access to and utilisation of services. And yet these identities are seldom identified or consulted by planners and are thus hindered from exercising agency to demand for their rights to equitable accessibility. Furthermore, they experience socially constructed perceptual biases from transport service providers. Transcending the accessibility barriers of these socially excluded identities, in part, requires allowing them consumer voice to engage with the state and other actors in order to claim for their right to equitable transport. This necessitates adopting inclusive planning approaches which enhance their entitlements, reduce their vulnerability and isolation as well as improve their access. Likewise, addressing the prejudices of the service providers, through, inter alia, promotion of the right to freedom of movement and accessibility is essential.


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  • Accession Number: 01484146
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 17 2013 12:56PM