Connecting Grassroots Women to Development


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Connecting Grassroots Women to Development

  2. 2. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 20132
  3. 3. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 3CONTENTS10141318Cover Story Flashback to Women’s Day 2012Interview - Irene MuloniDonors/ UN Women5 Uganda Womens’ Anthem6 Minister’s Message7 Minister of State’s Message8 Editorial9 Readers’ Views18 UN Women24 Grassroots Stories30 Pictorial32 Grassroots Stories44 Equal OpportunitiesCommission50 Gender Sector Statistics54 Nakasongola Gender Profile56 Book Review
  4. 4. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 20134Published by;Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development,P.O. Box 7136,www., Uganda.Editor-in-Chief: Christine Guwatudde KintuManaging Editor: Jane Sanyu MpagiDeputy Managing Editor (Administrative):Elizabeth KyasiimireDeputy Managing Editor (Editorial): Mondo KyatekaContributing Editor: Maggie MabweijanoEditor: Pamela Irene BatengaAdministrator: Jane EkapuSub-Editor: Hilda TwongyeirweConsulting Editor: Ikebesi Ocole OmodingContributors:Joanitah Akoyo, Angela Asako, Devine Asalo, ChristineKarya Atuhairwe, Kenneth Ayebazibwe, Sophia Klumpp,Dickson M. Kahonda, Noel Komunda, Diana KafurekaKyangungu, Everest Kyalimpa, Robert Mangusho, BrianMasimbi, Rachael Mutesi, Diana Kagere Mugerwa,Francis Okiror, Martin Orem, Moses Owiny, SimonBuyinza Semaka, Crescent Tirinawe, Innocent Tushabe,Hilda Twongyeirwe, Dawson WamireLayout and Graphics: Paul WambiPrinting: New Vision Printing and Publishing Co. LtdCover Picture:Sylvia Nakimera, of Masaka, with her friesian cowwhich she received from the NAADS programme.Inside Front:Joyce Akwero, a student nun competing in javelinthrowing at an athletics meet(Photo by New Vision)Inside back:A woman constructs a Ferrocement tank for waterharvesting.Back cover:An illustration of the International Women’s Day 2013(Adopted from: BASED EMPOWERMENT FOR WOMENTURNING SKILLS INTO BUSINESS
  5. 5. UGANDA WOMEN’S ANTHEMChorus:Mothers, DaughtersAll Women everywhereStand up and embraceYour role today.We are the proud mothers of our NationThe Backbone without which it can never standWe wake up, wake upWe wake up at the crack of dawnAnd feed the nation with our brainsWith love and joy we careFor our baby Uganda.Mothers, DaughtersAll Women everywhereStand up and embraceYour role today.Step by step with tender careWe nurse her we mould her at home and in schoolLeading, leadingSpearheading her identity, production and developmentIn Government and ProfessionName it woman is there.Mothers, DaughtersAll Women everywhereStand up and embraceYour role today.We call on you women of UgandaWake up if you’ve not yet embraced your roleWake up, wake upBeside our men lets play our roleIn solving all our nations needsIn every walk of lifeTo develop Uganda.Mothers, DaughtersAll Women everywhereStand up and embraceYour role today.UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 5
  6. 6. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 20136MINISTER’S MESSAGEFellow Ugandans, I salute the women of Uganda on the International Women’s Day2013. I am pleased to have the opportunity to share my views with readers of the UgandaWoman Magazine. In my new portfolio as the political head of the Ministry of Gender,Labour and Social Development, I have a strategy to promote the appreciation of theMinistry among the general public through various communication channels that includethe media, publications and the Ministry’s website. It is therefore gratifying to find inplace a magazine that highlights issues of concern on gender and women’s development.My Ministry, which is responsible for the affairs of women, children, youth, workers, theelderly, people with disabilities and traditional or cultural leaders, is referred to as thePeople’s Ministry and the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day; “The GenderAgenda: Connecting Grassroots Women to Development”, is also the theme of theMagazine. This issue focuses on the extent to which the legal and policy environment hastranslated into concrete initiatives that have benefitted rural communities and especiallywomen.Coming from the rural district of Kiruhura where I was raised, I am quite familiar withthe characteristics of grassroots communities. The Local Council system that is at thevillage level, the multitude of Community Based Organisations, the self-help groupsas well as the economic groups, all reflect a strong grassroots foundation that has beennurtured and strengthened by the NRM Government.The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, which is the lead agency of theSocial Development Sector, plays a key role in linking Government programmes to thegrassroots communities and as Minister, I pledge that these linkages will be strengthenedfor the benefits of the people of Uganda. Specifically, this will include strengthening theOffice of the Community Development officers.I wish to take this opportunity to personally thank everyone who has agreed to share theirexperiences with us. I encourage all of us to strive to enhance our connectivity with ourcommunities for the betterment of our country.Through this magazine, I pledge my unwavering total commitment to taking the women’sstruggle to yet another level.John M. Nasasira (MP)MINISTER OF GENDER, LABOUR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTMinister’s Message
  7. 7. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 7It is always a great pleasure to interact with the Ugandan women on the auspiciousoccasion of the International Women’s Day. The day is important for highlighting issuesof women.TheglobalthemeforInternationalWomen’sDaythisyearis:“TheGenderAgenda:GainingMomentum”. In Uganda, it has been domesticated to: “The Gender Agenda: ConnectingGrassroots Women to Development”. The theme calls for celebration and reflection at thesame time because we know that Uganda has gone a long way in attracting and ensuringwomen’s participation in development but we are also aware that there are challenges andgaps that need to be addressed.The message of International Women’s Day is amply carried in this second issue of theUganda Woman magazine. The Magazine is a publication of the Ministry and I am pleasedto note that the magazine is now positioning itself to constantly and creatively address theissues that concern the ascendancy of women in Uganda.The stories in the Magazine reveal how women have benefitted from and sustainedvarious programmes. Some stories are an exposition about how a woman has led othersto empowerment while others are more individual but actually show how the capacitiesoffered by the programmes of Government have provided the environment on whichthese women have thrived.Accordingly, I urge all the women to take advantage of this day to show case what theyhave done to empower themselves and their communities.On behalf of the women of Uganda, I take this opportunity to thank H.E Yoweri KagutaMuseveni for his continued support to the women of Uganda. I thank him for the variousprogrammes that have pushed women to the front of the development process. I alsothank the President for spearheading a legal regime that has not only allowed the womento thrive but has sustained the struggle against vices which are largely a result of negativecultural practices and ignorance.I wish, on this note, to thank the various stakeholders for their contribution to theempowerment of women. We realize now more than ever, that these partnerships havesustained the women’s movement. They should not only be maintained but should bestrengthened for the benefit of women and the country at large.I also wish to take this opportunity to appreciate the United Nations Joint Programme onGender Equality with whom the Ministry works to produce this Magazine. In the samevein, I thank the staff and the contributors to the Magazine for a job well done. In a specialway, I acknowledge with appreciation the leadership of Nakasongola district for havingagreed to host the National Celebrations for Women’s Day.I wish all the women and men of Uganda very happy International Women’s DayCelebrations.Rukia Nakadama IsangaMINISTER OF STATE, GENDER LABOUR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT(IN CHARGE OF GENDER AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS)Message from theMinister of State forGender and CultureMINISTER’S MESSAGE
  8. 8. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 20138EDITORIALI am pleased to welcome readers to the second issue of the Uganda Women Magazine, abi-annual publication of the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development. ThisMagazine, which was launched by H.E The President at the International Women’s Day2012, is a platform for sharing the triumphs and challenges of women in Uganda.The maiden issue celebrated the achievements of women during the 50 years of Uganda’sIndependence while the second issue is an account of the various efforts of Governmentand other stakeholders to reach out to women at the grassroots level.The issue is a continuation of the account of the tremendous progress that women havemade over the years as a result of the conducive policy and legal framework for women’sempowerment and gender equality. The stories demonstrate the interplay between thepolicy environment and the translation of policy into practice.The Magazine focuses on initiatives that have had a bearing on women’s empowermentand gender equality. The stories detail the engagements of various stakeholders such asthe women themselves, the Government departments, Community Based Organizations,Non Government Organisations, the Private Sector and the Donors, with grassrootscommunities in terms of service provision.The publication also presents the challenges faced by women in the process of attaininggender equality and women’s empowerment. Furthermore, suggestions have been madeon the direction that should be taken to mitigate the challenges.As the chief editor of this magazine, I am indebted to the women who have accepted toshare their stories with us. Similarly, I am grateful for the efforts of the various stakeholdersto document the successes and challenges of the programmes they have implemented onbehalf of the women of Uganda. We have come a long way and we are on the right path toachieving gender equality and empowerment for the women of this country.It is in this spirit that I congratulate all Ugandans on the International Women’s Day 2013and invite you to enjoy reading this publication.Christine Guwatudde KintuPERMANENT SECRETARY/ EDITOR IN CHIEFEditorial
  9. 9. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 9By Kenneth AyebazibweINTERACTING WITH THEUGANDA WOMAN MAGAZINEProfileSPECIFICATION STATUS REMARKSFirst published March 2012 Is the best women magazine in UgandaIssue published OneCirculation GlobalGlobal (5000 copies are printed and distributed. The publicationis uploaded on the Face book page of the Ministry which is bi-annualPages 60Price(local) FreeQuality Best available qualityTestimonies:The Uganda Women Magazineis a bi-annual publication of theMinistry of Gender, Labour andSocial Development. The publicationis a 60-page gloss-format premiumpublication featuring the state ofwomen achievers in Uganda. TheUganda Women Magazine is anindependent publication that isreader-focused and managed by ahighly skilled publishing team withextensive experience in magazineand newspaper publishing.Five thousand copies of the Magazineare printed per issue and distributedto various stakeholders in thecountry. In addition, the Magazineis uploaded on the Ministry websiteand on its Facebook page. Thedigitally delivered edition is extendedreadership to those who live outsidethe print distribution area and madethe Magazine global.With updates about the UgandaWomen Magazine, 177 likesautomatically received instant updateof the magazine. With a fan base offriends to the Ministry page, 60,982fans too received updates and weekly,the Magazine reached 83 personsonline. With an online readable anddownloadable copy on, 213 persons read anddownloaded the digital format fortheir ownership and readership.GREAT WOMENGreat women for great things!Waiswa AdamADVANCED MATERIALThank you Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. The idea is great!More so, I would like to commend you Uganda Women Magazine.My concern, though, is that the content of this magazine seems to be targeting highlevel women and does not speak out for the lower level women. Yes, the idea ofavailing the magazine free is great, and we need a section for men to share theirthoughts too. But thanks for the great work, women!Helga NagabaI’VE BEEN INSPIREDI love the quality of this magazine, your team is very smart, you have opened women doors in East Africa andAfrica, just like someone’s quotation, “where the smart work, doors are opened.”Thank you for making us ladies feel that we can do our best in all areas. It is my humble request that yougo back to the roots and involve grassroot women. This is an opportunity for Uganda women to shine! Longlive Uganda Women Magazine!Bitamisi HernrietahKenneth Ayebazibwe is the E-Resource Centre Manager in the Ministry of GenderLabour and Social Development (MGLSD)Uganda WomanMagazine can beaccessed online:www.
  10. 10. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201310By Jane Sanyu MpagiConnecting grassroots women todevelopment is not only an economic butalso a human rights issue.Grassroots women are those women thatdo not make decisions that affect their livesregarding initiation and implementation ofdevelopment interventions. In Uganda thegrassroots women are mainly rural womenbut also include the urban poor and thosemarginalised by factors such as limitededucation, unemployment and negativecultural practices that relegate them to asubordinate position.When one hears about gender equality andempowerment of women, the grassrootswomen rarely come into the picture.The tendency is to view women as ahomogenous marginalised group. Yet, therealities of women are shaped differentlyby different factors such as physical ability,economic and social status, educationlevels, ethnicity, residence (rural or urban)and/or marriage status.National legislations and internationalinstruments guarantee equal rights tomen and women. The Constitution of theRepublic of Uganda guarantees equalityand protection for all people includingwomen and it prohibits gender-baseddiscrimination in all aspects of social,economic and political life in the country.It also mandates the State to provide equalopportunities to women and equal accessto resources and benefits among otherrights. This is in line with regional andinternational instruments which Ugandahas ratified. For example the Conventionon All Forms of Discrimination AgainstWomen which Uganda ratified in 1985stipulates that women like men haveequal right to own property, rights torest and leisure and rights to an adequatestandard of living in health and education.The Convention requires the State to payparticular attention to rural women.Further, the Government has developedlegislations,policiesandstrategiesbasedonthe Constitution. Some of these are criticalfor grassroots women’s empowerment.These include: education policies andprogrammes which mostly target childrenand expansion of health facilities to theLocal Council II level, among others.The Government policies on AffirmativeAction and legal provisions which havehad a big impact have enabled a sizeablenumber of women to enter into decisionmaking organs in Parliament and otherorgans of Government. The constitutionalrequirement that every district isrepresented by a woman in parliamenthas increased the percentage of womenin the national legislature to 35%. InParliament, women have embraced therole of decision making very vigorously. Anumber of them are chairpersons or vicechair persons of different parliamentarycommittees. Grassroots women, thoughnot directly in Parliament, have rolemodels they look up to in Parliament. Theyalso access information and support fromtheir representatives so that they are ableto tap into Government initiatives.WHY GRASSROOTSWOMEN SHOULDBE CONNECTED TODEVELOPMENTCOVER STORYThe Speaker of Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadagaattending a cultural function at grassroots level.ShawnMakumbiphoto
  11. 11. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 11A significant increase in the number ofwomen in political decision-making atdifferent levels at Local Government levelhas also been attained as a result of theprovisions of the Local Government Actwhich provides for a third of the seats atthese levels to be reserved for women. Assuch, country-wide, women have attainedself-confidence and their capacities havebeen built in management and decisionmaking.The conducive policy environment createdby Government has been embraced bywomen’s and other organisations to reachout to grassroots women and connectthem to development. A number oforganisations have done advocacy topromote the rights of grassroots women inthe country, while others have worked withthem on income-generating activities withemphasis on projects in creative industriesand trade, among others.Despite these gains for grassrootswomen, it is important to note thataccess to resources and the presence ofgender sensitive policies and laws do notautomatically reflect the empowerment ofwomen, especially the grassroots woman.This is because different women differ inthe way they make choices and transformthese choices into desired outcomes.Hence the need to upscale initiativeslinking women to developmentOne factor that justifies the inclusion ofgrassroots women into development isthat currently they contribute substantiallyto economic growth. With this argument,women, who are half the country’spopulation, need to be assisted to enhancetheir potential to contribute more to thenational economy.Statistics have consistently revealed thatagriculture is the main occupation forwomen in Uganda and also the mainsource of income for rural households inthe country. About 72% of all employedwomen are in agriculture and about90% of rural women make a living fromagriculture. This trend of feminisation ofagriculture has positioned women at theCOVER STORYfore-front of producing food for domesticconsumption and also for internal andexternal markets.However, women’s role in agriculturalproduction is often hampered byinadequate extension services, lackor inappropriate technology andinaccessibility to credit. While womencan access land for production, ownershipand control are still major challenges.Connecting women to developmentin this regard would mean accessinggrassroots women with extension services(advisory services, inputs and technology)and land. When women control land andother resources, they are able to improvehousehold food security, economiclivelihoods and will be able to gain greatercontrol over food production. They areable to use land as collateral to accesscredit and hence improve their livelihoods.Women’s rights to land are recognisedby Government through land reforminitiatives at the national levels which haveendeavoured to cater for women’s rightsA woman and girl-child grind coffee beans with animproved machineShawnMakumbiphoto
  12. 12. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201312CONNECTING WOMEN TO DEVELOPMENTof literacy. In addition, gender basedviolence in form of physical, sexual andpsychological abuse is prevalent in thecountry. While both men and women canbe victims of violence, women and girlsare more affected due to unequal genderrelations that are perceived to be normalwithin most societies.Further, grassroots women capabilitieshave to be expanded so that they are ableto read and write and lead long and healthylives free of violence. They should also beable to earn a decent living and participatein making decisions that affect their lives.It is only when women at all levels have avoice and participate in decision makingat the household, community and nationallevels that they will be able to make choicesthat influence their destiny and that of thecountry significantly..Ms. Jane Sanyu Mpagi is the ManagingEditor of Uganda Woman and theDirector for Gender and CommunityDevelopment in MGLSD.within the different land tenure systemsthat is customary, freehold, mailo and leasehold. In the Land Act of 1998 as amendedin 2004, the fundamental rights of womenin access and control over economicallysignificant resources are protected. Thelaw protects the rights of women, childrenand persons with disability with regardto access ownership and occupation ofcustomary land. The law further protectsthe rights of women by emphasising theconsent of the spouse in the event of anytransactions on family land.In this case, transaction means sale,exchange, transfer, pledge, mortgage orlease of family land. The rights of womento land are further entrenched in theNational Land Policy, where Governmentre-affirms its commitment to takemeasures to reform land laws in order toprotect women and children. Whereas theLand Law and Policy guarantee the rightsof women to occupy and use land, culturalnorms and practices in some communitiesare contrary to these principles. Grassrootswomen are mostly affected by thepatriarchal attitudes and practices whichdeny women inheritance rights.Further, reproductive or unpaid work inthe household is normally performed bywomen and girls. This work in the “careeconomy” is essential to the wellbeingand livelihoods of all people in the society.However, women’s lack of resources andpower mean that they perform thesecritical activities with very labour intensivetechnology. Consequently the grassrootswomen have a heavy workload andreduced time for income earning activities,engaging in further education and leisure.This scenario has also escalated childlabour and high dropout rate of girlsfrom school as they take over the women’shousehold responsibility in the care oftheir siblings and housework especially iftheir mothers find work outside the home.Despite the challenges, grassroots womenhave responded to Government policies.They are involved in organising andforming self-help groups to tackle issuesof poverty and wealth-creation. They areengaged in projects which contributeto household incomes and also directlybenefit children. They participate inhome hygiene, education campaigns,environment protection and preventivemeasures against child killer diseases.Using traditional coping mechanisms,grassroots women have been able tohandle the challenges of HIV and AIDS.Supporting women in these roles willcontribute to economic growth becausewomen will be able to contribute topoverty reduction for the households.Despitethegrassrootswomencontributionto economic growth, they still facechallenges that must be addressed. Forinstance, over the last decade, Governmentinvestments have led to improved accessto essential services by grassroots womenand girls. However, the uptake of theseinitiatives is inadequate due to low levelsBusiness women in trading activitiesShawnMakumbiphotos
  13. 13. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 13FLASHBACKMessage from the President - 2012I would like to congratulate all the women of Ugandaupon reaching this important International Women’sDay of March 8th 2012. As you know, women constitute51% of Uganda’s population and, therefore, they areessential to Uganda’s development.On January 29th 1986, when I took my first PresidentialOath, I offered to serve the people of Uganda and releasethem from bad governance. I have since put in placean ideologically oriented and democratic leadership inwhich everybody participates. For that reason, womenhave been given an opportunity to take leadershippositions at all levels of Government right from LC1.You will recall that I assured Ugandans and the entireworld that the NRA/NRM’s coming to power was nota mere change of guards but a fundamental change.Now, 26 years down the road, right thinking people areable to see the irreversible developments that the NRMrevolution has created. My job as President has beenand remains that of laying strategies for people-centeredpolicies.On this day, when we take stock of the achievementsregistered so far, I join all of you in celebrating themonumental progress that has been made to empowerand emancipate the women of Uganda. I testify that thewomen of Uganda have been a formidable pillar behindthe success of the NRM Government.The Uganda Woman magazine is a candid account of thewomen’s walk from socially and politically constructedbondage to freedom and empowerment. This magazineis timely especially because it coincides with Uganda’sGolden Jubilee celebrations.Therefore, as we celebrate the International Women’sDay, our most critical undertaking must be thatof consolidating our gains and building on theachievements so far made to fully transform our societyfrom a pre-industrial to a modern, industrial and self-sustaining economy. As a revolutionary, I believe thatfor us to sustain our political, economic and social gains,our struggle must remain people-centered and follow acorrect and popular ideology and strategies as articulatedin the NRM Manifesto and the National DevelopmentPlan.It is for these reasons that we are investing a significantamount of money in the various sectors in order to builda competent, equitable and competitive indigenouslabour-force.As head of Government, I pledge my continued andtotal commitment to the eradication of all forms ofdiscrimination against our women.For God and My CountryYoweri K. MuseveniPRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDAMGLSDphoto
  14. 14. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201314Communication Engineer, SeniorProtection Engineer and ManagerInformation Technology. When UEBwas unbundled, I transferred to UgandaElectricity Distribution Company Ltd(UEDCL) where I served as ManagerCustomer Service and appointedManaging Director in 2002. I resigned thisposition in 2010 and joined politics.I have also served on voluntary basison both Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations. I am amember of the technical committee ofthe Uganda Millennium Science Initiativemanaged by the Uganda National Councilof Science and Technology. I am theChairperson for Finance Trust, a micro-finance deposit-taking institution; andFinance Secretary for Bulambuli NRMDistrict Executive Committee.Previously, I was a board member ofthe Uganda Civil Aviation Authority,Kilembe Mines Limited and the UgandaPolytechnic, Kyambogo, now, KyambogoUniversity. I was the Vice-Chairperson ofthe Private Sector Foundation, Uganda,and the Chairperson of Tunyi Girls’Secondary School.I served as a committee member ofthe Uganda Institution of ProfessionalEngineers, Uganda Women’s Effort to SaveOrphans (UWESO), Uganda Women’sNetwork (UWONET), Action forDevelopment (ACFODE) and the NationalAssociation of Women Organizations inUganda (NAWOU).On the international and regional basis,I was a member of the first science andtechnology advisory group to the UnitedNations Economic Commission for Africa(UNECA) and a senior Fellow for theAfrica Region of the Gender AdvisoryBoard to the United Nations Commissionfor Science and Technology (UNCST).I also served as the Vice Chairpersonof the East African Sub-Region of theAfrican Women Development andCommunication Network (FEMNET).I am an advocate for gender equality,women’s empowerment and utilization ofScience and Technology for sustainabledevelopment.I am married to Mr. Felix Muloni andwe have been blessed with four beautifulchildren.Question: Hon. Minister,would you like to give aprofile of yourself.Answer: I am the Minister of Energyand Mineral Development and the WomanMember of Parliament for BulambuliDistrict. I graduated with an HonoursDegree in Electrical Engineering fromMakerere University, Kampala in 1986. In2004, I got a Master’s Degree in BusinessAdministration from Capella Universityin Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA.I am a corporate member of the UgandaInstitution of Engineers and a CertifiedPublic-Private Partnership specialist. Iam also a professional Balanced ScorecardPractitioner.In 2003, the Forum for Africa WomenEducationists recognised me with theSarah Ntiro Award as a Model Excellence.After graduation I was employed byUganda Posts and TelecommunicationsCorporation for 5 years after which Ijoined Uganda Electricity Board (UEB)as a Communications Engineer in1991. I rose from this position to SeniorIrene Nafuna Muloni, is the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development andthe Woman Member of Parliament for Bulambuli District. In an interview withUganda Woman, she speaks about the place of women in the Sector.“Iam anadvocate forgender equalityand women’sempowerment”
  15. 15. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 15Q: How are the programmesin your Ministry benefitinggrassroots communities,including women?A: The Government programmes thatmy Ministry has implemented that havebenefited grassroots women include therural electrification programme. This hasenabled them to access electricity whichin turn has improved the income ofwomen by increasing working hours andthe emergence of the small and mediumscale industries for women. Some of theseinclude telephone charging services andsalons among others.Further, women and girls are generallyat a higher risk of being attacked at nightand so lighting on the streets and aroundtheir homes has improved their personalsecurity. For the girl-child, lighting hasimproved grades in her education.Also, electricity has improved women’ssafety at home. There have been occasionalfires, especially, in the rural dwellingscaused by kerosene lamps or candles.These have been largely eliminated by theavailability of electricity.Electricity has also improved healthservices. For instance, lighting in healthclinics provides a safe environment formaternity wards for safe delivery at nightand improved vaccination services as aresult of refrigeration facilities.Secondly, the Uganda Domestic BiogasProgramme has provided a subsidy foreach household to have a biogas systeminstalled. We have made the technologyaffordable, especially to the rural womenwho have small incomes. It has providedclean energy for cooking; reduced thedependency on charcoal and firewood.This has given women more time to engagein other income-generating activities.Also, biogas is used for lighting and thishas allowed children to revise their schoolwork effectively. All this happens withoutpaying energy bills.Thirdly, we have implemented the SolarPhoto Voltaic Target Market Approach,under the energy for rural transformationprogramme. This programme is providingsubsidies and credit for the solar photovoltaics in the rural areas. This has alsoimproved lighting in those areas.We have also promoted the energy-savingcooking stoves in the households. Thebenefits include; reduced health risksrelated to indoor pollution, reducedaccidents for children who could get burntby open cooking fires.Q: Are you aware of theirchallenges? If any, which arethey, and what has yourSector done to address thesechallenges?A: Rural electrification is a challengebecause of the low connection rate due torelatively high connection costs and housewiring, but we are providing connectionsubsidies to customers using ready boardsin poor households so that the connectioncosts are made affordable.Another challenge is the low literacy levelswhich impact on the speed of adoptionof electricity. We are helping the ruralcommunities by showing them howelectricity works and its benefits.Q: We are aware that the oilsector is in its early stagesof development. What areyou doing to ensure thatgrassroots women benefitfrom the sector?A: Even though we are in the early stagesof developing the oil and gas sector,the Ministry with other Governmentdepartments, agencies and otherstakeholders are closely working togetherto ensure increased women participation.The Ministry has undertaken sensitizationof women to ensure fair compensationduring the land acquisition process.Before the compensation is undertaken,the wives and women heading homeshave an input and have a say on the terms.Compensations are disbursed in thepresence of the family representatives, thatis, husbands and wives, and witnessed bythe local leaders of the areas.The Ministry also encourages the oilcompanies to focus on gender issuesduring implementation of corporate socialresponsibility projects, for example, healthprojects such as the Sebuguro HealthCenter III and Kyehoro Maternity Center,both in Hoima District. There is the BuliisaHealth Center IV in Buliisa District anddistribution of safe water to communitiesthrough drilling boreholes. Mosquito netshave also been distributed to pregnantmothers and children in Kyehoro LandingSite.The oil companies at Government’sinsistence have also started severalINTERVIEWQ: Of the developmentprogrammes you have beeninvolved in, which havebenefited women the most?A: As I mentioned earlier, the ruralelectrification programme and theimproved cooking stove programmehave benefitted many women andimproved standards at home and in healthcenters. Also, the programme has easedcommunication because it has increasedaccess to phone-charging facilities.Q: How have the grassrootswomen contributed to energymanagement in Uganda?A: Grassroots women have participatedin the planning process for the provision ofenergy services in their areas. We usuallyconsult them when the programmesare being designed, realizing the genderdimension is important in the provisionof the services. Through the promotionand sensitization campaigns, they haveattracted other people to acquire and/orinstalltheserenewableenergytechnologies.By using energy saving technologies, theyhave contributed to efficient utilization ofenergy in Uganda.
  16. 16. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201316projects to help women in their areas ofoperation. These projects include bee-keeping, distribution of sewing machines,making of life jackets from local materialsand growing of various food crops, likevegetables in the Kaiso Tonya Area. As aresult of the oil activities, many womenhave set up roadside stalls from wherethey can sell their agricultural productsto motorists and other passers-by. The oilcompanies have also set up an EnterpriseCenter through which they train peopleon how to improve their businesses. Thishas enabled many, including women toparticipate in oil activities through thesupply of goods and service.A number of schools have been builtthrough the corporate responsibilityactivities. These schools include: NkondoPrimary School, in Kaiso Tonya; KyehoroPrimary School, and the Carl NeftMemorial Primary School in Bugoma.Q: Did these womencontribute to the oil debate,and if so what was theircontribution?A: Yes. The women’s voices have beenheard. Women’s interests and views arepresented in the Uganda Parliament bythe respective District Women Membersof Parliament. I believe that these MPsconsulted them on how they want the oiland gas sector to be governed. These viewsinformed the oil and gas debate.Also several civil society organizations(CSO’s) operating in the Albertine Grabenappeared before the Natural ResourcesCommittee of Parliament during the publichearings on the Petroleum ExplorationDevelopment and Production Bill 2012.I believe that the women’s voices wererepresented through these CSOs.Q: When is the oil going tostart flowing?A: The first oil will generate electricity.This thermal generation will come invery quickly within the next two years asa stop-gap measure as we construct largegeneration facilities like Isimba, Karuma,and Ayago hydropower plants. We aregoing to build a petroleum refinery forpetroleum products that will meet ourdemand in the country and neighbouringstates. If we build a refinery that willThe discovery of oil has excited everyone.You saw what happened in Parliament. Iam at the helm of it. Every Ugandan wantsthe oil to flow to their household.Q: Apart from oil, what isthe involvement of ruralwomen in the mineraldevelopment?A: The mineral sector provides alivelihood for almost 200,000 women andmen. Indirectly it benefits more than fourmillion Ugandans while injecting almost350 million dollars into the local economy.Women mainly benefit from miningthorough spin-off employment such assmall business development.Women are mostly involved in artisanalsmall-scale mining. Here, they contributea workforce of 60-70%; for example, inLake Katwe Salt Mine, stone aggregatein north and central Uganda and goldand marble mining in Karamoja. Womenemployment in large scale mining is verylow at about 5%.Gender aspects into the national policieson the natural sector have been drawnfrom the 2009 “Guiding Strategy forGender Equity in Mining”. Article 16 ofthe Kampala Declaration of 2011 at theInternational Conference Center on theGreat Lakes Region, requested memberstates to mainstream gender aspectsinto the national policies in the naturalresources sector. Uganda is only thesecond country after Papua New Guineato develop such a strategy.There are negative effects which affectwomen’s participation in mining. Theseinclude migration of families to themining areas leading to the mushroomingof shanty semi-urban communities withloose family ties. These have encouragedtemporary marriages, growth of sex trade,contracting of HIV and AIDS, alcoholismand domestic violence. Also the impact ofcompensation, relocation and resettlementaffects mainly women who don’t makedecisions like men who are considered thehousehold heads.Q: What is being done inthe Sector to mitigate theadverse effects of mineraldevelopment on theenvironment and the spreadof HIV and AIDS?A: There are a number of mitigationsinitiatives in place. These include: theMineral Policy of Uganda (2001) whoseobjective is to minimize and mitigate theadverse social and environmental impactsof mineral development. There are mininginspections to assess the compliancewith the existing laws and regulations onthe environment and the protection ofhuman health and safety. In this regard themonitoring unit of the Ministry has beenstrengthened.The Ministry has also promoted theapplication of environmentally friendlytechnologies and methods in mineralextraction apart from ensuring the healthand safety regulations in all stages ofmineral development through regulationand education. It has undertaken theresponsibility of clean-up operations ofthe past negative mining environmentalimpacts.There is on-going capacity building of staffon the environmentally related trainingin order to apply the modern friendlytechnologies while conducting regularINTERVIEWprocess 20,000 barrels a day, it will take usabout three years; and if we build one toprocess 60,000 barrels a day, it may takeabout five years.So far we have discovered about 3.5 billionbarrels of petroleum from only 40% ofthe explored area. Uganda is blessed; oursuccess rate of oil finds is high, standing atabout 90%. We believe that the remaining60% will also give us a high success rate.
  17. 17. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 17environmental impact assessments. Also,the local leaders have been involved inthe decision-making concerning miningactivities in their communities and therecruitment of environmental specialiststo operationalise the policy.On HIV and AIDS, the Ministry, throughthe HIV and AIDS Work Place Policyhas developed a number of mitigationmeasures. These include the sensitizaitionof the communities on the impact ofHIV and AIDs on the energy sector, thedistribution of condoms as a preventivemeasure in fighting against the disease andfinancial support to the staff who publiclydeclare their sero- status.There is also free counseling for the staffevery Thursday and Friday of the weekin managing stress, alcoholism and drugabuse at the work place, capacity buildingfor the task force and the peer educators,promotion of the use of information,education and communication materialsand the involvement of people living withHIV and AIDS in a number of activities.HIV and AIDS management has also beenintegrated into Ministry’s programme.Q: What is the strategy toinvolve women in trainingfor employment in theenergy and mineral Sectorincluding oil exploration andmanagement?A: There is a training policy in place andwe are partnering with other institutions.There is involvement of women inreviewing of the training policy; and givingpriority to women in the employmentopportunities. In my Sector I have womenengineers, scientists and technicians. Wehave a woman energy engineer, a womanpetroleum engineer, a woman miningengineer and a woman nuclear scientist. Itis very exciting and shows the capability ofwomen.Laws that initially prohibited women’sinvolvement in mining were reviewedand this restriction removed. Now thatoil is coming on board they should takefull advantage of it. The Albertine Grabenis going to change. So women shouldtap into the employment opportunities.They should raise kids and send them toschool to acquire skills to enable them beresponsible citizens. They should tag themto the opportunities that are coming.Q: Your last word Hon.Minister.A: I want to appreciate His Excellency,President Yoweri Museven as an individualfor promoting women. In the same vein, Iwant to appreciate the First Lady. This is anexemplary couple that has really promotedgood values in our society. You can see theconfidence the President has in women. Itsends a clear message to women to be veryhard working, committed and to upholdintegrity.I pay tribute to men for the support theygive to women and for recognising us aspartners in development.I want to thank my loving husband andfamily for the love and support they havegiven me in serving our beautiful country.It takes a lot of understanding and patienceto make things work.I urge women to be result-oriented,hardworking and committed to whateverthey are assigned to do. We need to reallycontinue working together. We need acritical mass to change things for the better,understand and respect one another andmake this country a better place to live.Through that we shall foster good workingrelationships as long as we focus on issues.These young children are our big worry.They have a lot of energy which ifmisdirected can end in disaster. They needguidance, nurturing and mentoring.INTERVIEWHon. Irene Muloni (left) in the interview with the Acting Commissioner of Gender and Women’s Affairs,Ms Maggie Mabweijano, and the Consulting Editor, Ikebesi Omoding (right).MGLSDPhoto
  18. 18. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201318By Martin OremThe United Nations Development Fund forWomen (UNIFEM), has been supportingwomen’s engagement in peace-building,economic empowerment, GBV preventionand women’s participation and leadershipin Northern Uganda since October 2006.In 2010, when UNIFEM was renamed UNWomen, a new programme geared towardsstrengthening capacities for GenderEquality and Women’s Empowerment inUganda was designed. The programme isaligned to the National Development Planobjectives and the Uganda Gender Priorityareas. The programme anchors some of theoutcome areas in the Joint Programme onGender Equality.The programme has enhanced theconsolidation of UN Women activities inthe original areas of focus and strategicexpansiontonewareasincludingKaramojasub-region. The Karamoja Program Officewas opened in 2011 and is implementingactivities in three thematic areas of WomenEconomic Empowerment, Gender-BasedViolence and Access to Justice.Karamoja sub-region has the highest levelsof poverty and the lowest levels of humandevelopment in Uganda (UNDP: 2007).The mainstay of economic resourcesin the district is agro-pastoralism;livestock-keeping and limited subsistenceagriculture. Traditionally, women areengaged in informal or subsistenceactivities which do not earn income. Menare the sole decision-makers and ownersof households and community resourcesincluding livestock and land. The unequalpower relations configured by cultureprohibit women from exploiting their fullpotential to contribute to the needs of theirhouseholds and also induce gender-basedviolence.Today, there is an apparent decline inthe reliance on the livestock livelihoodssystem. Many households have lost theirherds due to cattle rustling, disarmament,livestock diseases and droughts, amongothers factors. The need to adoptalternative livelihood strategies has addeda burden to women and girls, especiallythose in households which have lost theirlivestock.To address this challenge, UN Womenthrough Arbeiter Samariter Bund(ASB), issupporting 374 women and girls in Morototo adopt appropriate economic copingUN WOMEN SUPPORTS GENDEREQUALITY IN KARAMOJADEVELOPMENT PARTNERSA dance performed by a Karamajong community ensembleSawnMakumbiphoto
  19. 19. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 19strategies which include: productionof high value horticulture, businessskills training, introduction of VillageSaving and Loan Association, rainwaterharvesting infrastructure in manyattasfor domestic use and production, art andcrafts-making and solar lighting.There is an indication that targeted womenin manyattas have been able to increase theincome of their families through variousactivities. The income is being used forbasic family expenses; for example, NangorMaria aged 45, from the manyatta ofAonyei Kaloi, Nakadeli Parish; Rupa SubCounty had this to say on the change shehas since realized as a result of the project:“This project has helped me a lot because Isold cowpeas and greens to meet some ofmy family basic necessities, like medicalbills and home commodities. This hashelped to reduce domestic violence in myfamilysinceI’mnowabletomakedecisionswith my husband without disagreementsand we do garden work together.”UN Women and partners will thereforecontinue to prioritize the provision ofskills, knowledge and workload reducingtechnology transfer to women and girlsas strategy for reducing gender gaps insociety.The testimony from Nangor indicatesthat poverty is at the root of the highlevels of Gender Based Violence (GBV) inKaramoja.In Karamoja, gender-based offences areconsidered a private issue and they affectmainlywomen. TheprevalencerateofGBVin Karamoja is put at about 50%. Issues ofGBV include forced and early marriages,wife beating, rape and courtship rape. Allthese vices are acceptable practices in thisarea.Accordingly, UN Women with partnerssuch as ASB, FIDA-Uganda and RefugeeLaw Project(RLP), is working in Morotoand Kotido with local governments,traditional, religious and women leadersto enhance their understanding of genderand women’s rights including Uganda’scommitments to women’s rights undernational and international instruments.The main strategies being used aresensitisation on gender related legislationand engagement of traditional justiceauthorities to engender their means ofmediation. UN Women partners targetand work with male and youth groupsas critical constituencies for behaviouralchange. Our partners are involved indissemination of the Domestic ViolenceAct (2010) (DVA), training of leaderson DVA and survivors referral servicespathway, media campaigns against GBVand events such as the 16 Days of Activismand the International Women’s Day.Formal justice service provision inMoroto, as well as in the other six districtsof Karamoja is largely ineffective due tothe challenges posed by limited personneland logistics, infrastructure, fundingand remoteness of the sub-region. TheKaramoja situation is compounded by thefact the area is just emerging from a conflictsituation which has had serious impact onthe administration of the rule of law andother basic Government services. In thiscontext the local communities of Karamojahave turned to seeking for justice throughelders and traditional practices and normswhich equally do not provide recourse tojustice for women.Through the work of the Legal Aid Clinicof the Law Development Centre, FIDA-Uganda and Refugee Law Project (Kotido),UN Women has been providing primaryand secondary legal aid for women inMoroto and Kotido districts. The followingspecific activities are being carried out:FIDA is providing direct legal assistance tosurvivors of GBV and women whose rightsto housing, land, property and inheritancehave been violated. FIDA is also workingto integrate gender and human rights intoexisting traditional dispute resolutionprocesses in five selected communitiesin Moroto. Accordingly, there has beentraining of community legal volunteersand exchange events between elders.In Kotido, RLP has been providing directlegal services for GBV related cases,training to increase access to legal aidsupport in the kraals, Manyattas anddistrict levels. It has also developed areferral pathway with partners to guidesurvivors of GBV to access particularservices and create community space fordialogue.Community empowerment sensitizationhowever remains a critical activity tocounter the stereotypes, perceptions andbeliefs shaped by culture which havepromoted the silence around GBV.Although UN Women is relatively new inKaramoja, it has been possible to establishviable partnerships upon which futurework with the Local Governments, CSOs,UN Agencies and other stakeholders isexpected to build. The partnerships arealso aligned to UN Women mandate tohold the UN system accountable for genderequality. UN Women intends to play thisrole by coordinating a gender thematicgroup with the partners in Karamoja.At the national and Karamoja regionallevel, UN Women is also involved in thecoordination of the Joint Programme onGender Equality.Martin Orem is the Project Officer/Headof Office, UN Women- KaramojaDEVELOPMENT PARTNERSWomen addressing a gathering at an International Women’s Day function in MorotoMGLSDphoto
  20. 20. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201320By Sophia Klumpp“AFRIpads is thrilled to beacknowledged for its achievementsin developing an innovative sanitaryproduct and business model thatdelivers tangible social impact forthousands of girls and women inUganda. We believe that womenand girls across the globe mustbe empowered to manage theirmenstruation effectively, affordablyand with dignity in order to capturetheir full participation in productivespheres like education and work ifsystemic change is to be achieved.”said Sophia Klumpp, Founder andManaging Director as she received anaward for this life changing innovation.AFRIpads (Uganda) Ltd. is a socialenterprise that manufactures clothwashable sanitary pads to affordablyand hygienically meet the femininehygiene needs of the millions ofwomen in East Africa. Founded in2011, AFRIpads places particularemphasis on curbing the high rates ofmenstrual-related absenteeism amongprimary and secondary schoolgirls inUganda.Every month, millions of girls indeveloping countries, like Uganda,skip school and are at risk of droppingout simply because they cannotafford to buy sanitary productswhen they menstruate. Theseunnecessary absences of 3-5 dayseach month can amount to as manyas 50 skipped schooldays per year,with enormous consequences on theacademic potential of the country’syoung women, and with furtherconsequences on Uganda’s overalleconomic development and growth.AFRIpads is contributing to theLIFE CHANGING INNOVATION FOR GIRLSA F R I p a d sPRIVATE SECTORA girl-child from Abwoc Kalamoniya Primary School in Gulu shows herAfriPadAfriPadphoto
  21. 21. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 21spreading into East Africa. In June 2012the company received another accoladewhen the founders were honoured withthe Social Entrepreneurship Award fromthe PPR Foundation for Women’s Dignityand Rights.For more information on this innovation,please visit or of these high rates ofmenstrual-related absenteeism througha simple solution: low-cost, reusablesanitary pads. The AFRIpads MenstrualKit contains washable cloth sanitarytowels that provide menstrual protectionfor up to one year at one-fifth the costof mainstream commercial brands. TheDeluxe Menstrual Kit costs UgandaShs. 11,000/= while the comprehensiveMenstrual Kit costs 14,500/=.The product is an innovative solutionto an everyday challenge, filling theproduct void on the market betweenexpensive disposable pads and theineffective materials that girls largelyrely on, like rags, toilet paper, pieces offoam mattress, leaves, and mud. So far,AFRIpads are being distributed throughMarie Stopes Uganda’s Blue Star clinicsin Mbarara, Sheema, Bushenyi, Ishakaand Ibanda. The distribution should havespread countrywide by December 2013.Also, AFRIpads can be bought from allthe Living Goods branches in Kampala,Mpigi, Jinja-Mafubira and Masakadistricts.The impact of AFRIpads Menstrual Kitsextends far beyond the school-agedgirls. The company currently providesformal sector employment to over 50Ugandan women, putting much-neededincome into their hands and drivingeconomic growth in rural areas. In justthree years, the company has empowerednearly 150,000 girls and women with itsAFRIpadsMenstrualKits,helpingtokeepcountless girls in school. Not only is theproduct an affordable feminine hygienesolution, it is also environmentally-friendly since the product is washableand does not generate waste, in additionto being logistically simple as it can bewashed and re-used for up to one year.In Uganda, this sustainable change isbeing generated from an unlikely source:a sanitary napkin.AFRIpads was recognized by WOMENDELIVER (a leading agency in globalreproductive health) as “One of the mostinspiring innovations improving the livesof women and girls worldwide” in the“Technology and Innovations” category.Out of more than 6,000 applicants,AFRIpads was nominated because ofthe impact the company has on girlsand women in Uganda, which is nowPRIVATE SECTORSophia Klumpp is Founder &Managing Director of AFRIpadsGirl children from Muyenga High School, Kampala showing off their AfriPadsAfriPadphotoSchool Girl Testimonies
  22. 22. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201322MEET JOSEPHINE KASYA,THE FIRST FEMALE DISTRICTCHAIRPERSON IN UGANDABy Hilda TwongyeirweMs.JosephineRubaiza,nowMrs.JosephineKasya, is the first born in a family of six.She has two sisters and three brothers.She recalls that as she was growing up, hermother, Ms Peace Mudari, taught themto be responsible from a very young age.Her mother was a midwife. Whenever shewould be on duty in the labour ward, shewould identify women that were in labourbut without any caretakers. She wouldthen dash home and ask Josephine and hersiblings to prepare porridge or hot waterand follow her to the ward. At first theywould do it begrudgingly, but they soonlearnt that it was the right thing to do. Theystarted looking forward to helping thosehelpless women. They started to enjoy itand to make it their way of life.Josephine’s father, Mr. John Rubaiza, was ateacher. As she grew up she watched himat his work. He was a very orderly manand he teamed up with his wife to makethe children very orderly. Her parentsdid not allow them any opportunity to bedisorganised. So, when the parents wouldbe away, she and her siblings would scatterthings and be children but when theywould hear them returning home, theywould quickly put everything in orderagain and pretend that nothing had beenout of place. However, as time went on, sherealised that being orderly was a very goodtrait. She started doing it not just to pleaseher parents but for herself. That way, shemanaged to do her duties faster becausethen she did not have to look for her booksthe whole day and she did not forget theimportant things she needed to do.As the first born, she was the majorrecipient of her parents’ lessons. Now asa leader, she realises how important it isto be orderly. She says that people are notstupid as some leaders think. If a leaderis disorganised, his subordinates cantell. If all the time it is the same personwalking late into a meeting, apologisingfor assignments not accomplished, andmissing or mixing appointments, thenthat person is disorganised. Certainly,Josephine is not a disorganised leader.Those traits developed from childhoodhave been a major help to her in hercurrent position. She encourages parentsto help their children form positive traitsfrom an early age. “That will help themform character,” she says.Josephine is married to a very supportivehusband who is now a retired SocialWorker. Once in a while, she consults himover issues to do with her work and hegladly advises. Josephine says that she hasnot had any challenges with her husbandbecause of her job. “He understands thatI have my other passions in additionto home.” She says that right from thebeginning of their marriage they agreednot to depend on hearsay and rumoursabout each other. That helps them tomaintain a beautiful relationship thatgives her a stable environment that in turnenables her to do her job well. She alsotries as much as possible to inform him ofher programmes so that she does not givehim room to suspect any illicit business.PROFILEMs Josephine Kasya (right), receiving the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister,Amama Mbabazi in Kanungu districtNewVisionphoto
  23. 23. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 23Mr. and Mrs Kasya have six children.Josephine quickly adds that by the time shehad them, the situation was not as bad as itis now. She does not advise women to havemany children in Uganda today. However,she enjoys the company of her children andsays that during campaigns, they alwaystake leave to come and give her support.Her last born is at university while othershave graduated and are working.Josephine has lived all her life in a ruralarea and she admires the transition she hasbeen part of especially with the comingof electricity, the women empowermentprogrammes, and political transition. Shesays that for people born in the urban, inhomes with electricity, they do not see themagic of touching the wall and you floodthe room with electricity. She is happy tobe part of the leadership that is strivingto improve livelihood in the rural areas.She encourages Government to improveservice delivery programmes for the ruralareas in order to reduce the gaps betweenthe rural and urban. That way more peoplewill opt to remain in villages, thus reducingurban congestion.Although Josephine maintains that she isnot chairperson for women only, she hasdone a lot for women. She has startedwomen groups for economic sustainabilityand she too, is a member of some of thegroups. In one group, they contributemoney and buy goats for each other. As aresult many women now own goats whichthey can sell and get out of any crisis.Another group to which she belongs hasgrown into one of the strongest cateringservices provider in Kanungu. Josephinehas further empowered the women withknowledge about their rights such thatsometimes husbands address their wivesas Kasya’s women that should not bejoked with. “That gives me pleasure andsatisfaction,” Josephine relates. She hasinspired a spirit of togetherness amongwomen with the aim of guarding againstwhat she has heard of as Pull-her-downSyndrome. She has succeeded in makingwomen work well together. However, sheis not happy that most ordinances and lawsare written in English only. She hopes thatthey will be translated into local languagesso that the women in the rural areas canunderstand them since they directlyimpact on their lives. She hopes to findpartners that are interested in empoweringwomen especially with regard to humanand women’s rights so that she reaches allcorners of the district with empowermentprogrammes.However, Josephine says that most of herapproachesaddresscommunitychallenges.Even when she starts a project for goats forwomen, she knows that the goats will notbelong to only the women but the wholefamily. She knows that a woman will notsell the goat and waste all the money likesome men have done. Improving a woman’seconomic status directly empowers thewhole household. Josephine’s passion is toempower the electorate economically andto bring services closer to them. That is oneof the reasons she was actively involvedin lobbying for the creation of KanunguDistrict.She believes that women cannot beempowered if they and their husbands arepoor. She has therefore concentrated a lotonimprovingpeople’slivelihoods.Recentlyshe raised Shs. 30,000,000 and gave it tofarmers to buy tea seedlings. She is helpingthe community to expand tea growing.She is also looking for more money tobuy coffee seedlings for the communitiesin areas whose terrain cannot support teagrowing. With financial support fromUNFPA she has started Small Men ActionGroups (SMAGS), whose major aim is toinvolve men in addressing gender relatedchallenges such as domestic violence andreproductive health.Josephine joined active politics in1994 when she became a councillorat the district. In 1995 she stood forConstituent Assembly but lost to Hon.Winnie Matsiko. In 1998 she was electedVice Chairperson of Rukungiri District.While in that position, she lobbied forthe creation of Kanungu District. For thatreason, when the district was created shestood unopposed for District Chairpersonin 2001. In 2006 she stood for the sameposition with one man whom she defeated.Josephine believes that she defeated himbecause she had achieved a lot in her firstterm of service. Her district was recipientof the Water and Sanitation ImprovementAward. She had also improved the roadnetwork and education in the area. Herachievements campaigned for her.In 2011 Josephine contested again.Another man joined the race and he gaveher a run for her money. Some people hadstarted saying that they had had enough ofthe woman and they just wanted to change.She was very disturbed that they did nothave a major reason against her but justthe fact that she was a woman. It made herfeel like quitting politics but she pressed onand won again. Her political catch word is;Try Me. She is a very confident womanand she tells the men that women shouldPROFILE
  24. 24. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201324MAKING A LIVINGFROM TRAININGOTHERSBy Crescent Tirinawe and Everest KyalimpaAgnes Achanda is the proprietor of God’s Grace Vocational TrainingInstitute which trains women in tailoring.She was born in 1972 in Mbaro Village, Nyaravur Sub County, NebbiDistrict. She is the first born of eight children. She completed primaryschool from Kaya Primary in 1986. In 1990 she completed her O’ levelat Nebbi Secondary School but due to lack of school fees she stayed outof school until 1991. In 1992 her sister took her to Mbarara SecondarySchool in Mbarara District. Unfortunately, her sister died and Agneswas forced to drop out of Senior Five. She enrolled in a fashion tailoringschool in Mbarara Municipality. She completed the course in six months.In 1997 she joined Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) inKampala where she was awarded a certificate in tailoring 1998.GRASSROOTS STORIESalways be given chance before they are judged. Withthat, she has mentored many women especiallycouncillors into leadership. She has also encouragededucation for the girl-child and she feels very happywhen parents go to her to discuss education issuesrelating to their daughters.Josephine believes that what makes her successfulas a leader is because she empowers others. Sherecollects a quote that inspires her; that “leadershipis what happens when the leader is not there.” Sheshares information with the people she workswith, she mentors them, empowers them withoutholding back and invests in trust building. That way,everybody gets to do their part well. Also, she has putsystems in place which help the office to run withoutmuch stress.She says that she works with systems even at homeand that helps her not to get into major crises. Herchildren are able to step in when she is not at homeand likewise, her workmates are able to step in, incase for some reason, she is not able to be at office.She believes that being transparent has also helpedher, especially with her family.This historical woman started her education journeyfrom a church school in Bushenyi. She later moved toLugazi where her mother was transferred and studiedat Lugazi Primary School from Primary One to Five.She later transferred to Kajahi Primary School whereshe studied Primary Six and Seven. She passed herexams very well and she joined Kyebambe GirlsSchool where she studied from 1971 to 1974. She laterjoined Ngora Teacher Training College from 1976 to1978. In 2004 she joined Hertfordshire Institute fora Distance Learning Course. She graduated with aDiploma in Gender and Community Development.Before joining politics, she was a Grade Threeteacher.Josephine is no ordinary woman. She is one of theonly three female District Chairpersons in Uganda.Of the three, Josephine has served longest. Askedwhether she will stand again, she simply says thatpolitics is her way of life. “Whether I am the leaderor the led, it is all politics,” she says, her contagioussmile spreading to her eyes.Asked about her secret to looking young andenergetic, she says that she exercises mainly bywalking. She also eats healthy; a fruit for lunch and alight early dinner.Josephine says that if she became president ofUganda, she would build a big bank for women andgive them a good rate for loans. She has witnessedwomen do so much with so little and she wondershow much they would do if they had the means.Josephine believes in people and she is happy to havegotten the opportunity to lead.Hilda Twongyeirwe works with Uganda WomenWriters Association (FEMRITE)Agnes earned her first salary as a house maid with an Indian familyin Kampala. She saved her salary and over time, she was able to buy asewing machine. Later she started teaching in a vocational institute. Shewas forced to leave because she was not paid. In 2006, with the servicesof one of her trainees, she started a tailoring school. It started with sevengirls who had dropped out of school and later even those without anyformal education were enrolled into the school. Currently, the schoolenrols more than 20 students for each in-take. The landmark year whenthe school passed out 40 trainees was 2009. Since inception, the institutehas passed out over 200 trainees.Agnes Acanda at her sewing machineMGLSDphoto
  25. 25. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 25The school has expanded and establisheda branch in Pakwach to train women andother school drops in vocational skills forself-sustenance.Agnes says that the inspiration to startthe school came from a background ofpoverty especially amongst the ruralwomen and girls in her home and in theregion as a whole. While in Kampala, shehad observed that many women did notprioritise marriage. They did whatever elsethey wanted to do before contemplatingmarriage. Agnes decided not to bow downto the pressure of marriage. She realisedthatinthevillages,girlswerebeingmarriedoff at a very early age before they decidedwhat they wanted to be in life. Agnes didnot want to fall in the same trap, so shedecided to start her school first. She hadalso observed the dependency of womenon men for everything and men’s laxitytowards providing for dependants in theirhomes. She also hoped that the businesswould help to support the high number oforphans in Nebbi region. All these issuesencouraged her to make her own money.She describes the start of her business astough because she had only one sewingmachine which she used for training aswell as tailoring clothes for her customers.As her business picked, she used the schoolfees paid by trainees to buy more machinesand training materials. By the end of 2012,she had 12 sewing machines.GRASSROOTS STORIESAgnes’ training services include tailoring,workshop practices and tie-and-dye. Sheproudly notes that graduates from herinstitute are employed by other vocationalschools such as Goli Women’s Centre, AkabVocationalCentre,ErusiVocationalCentreand Packwach branch for God’s GraceVocational Training Institute (GOGVOTI)which was opened in September 2011. Inaddition, Agnes trained 40 youths underNUSARTI in skills for income generationand People with Disabilities under theNational Union for Disabled Persons inUganda(NUDIPU) in skills for income-generation.Shehasstructuredhertrainingin3-monthsmodules. Trainees are examined in boththeory and practical skills. She is happywith the moral support from the Mayorand the Resident District Commissioner.In future, Agnes plans to include hairdressing, entrepreneurship educationand decorations in the curriculum of herschool.Agnes works with a team of sevencompetent directors who help her inmanaging the school and she employsfour people. She has a modern designmachine for the institute. Her institute is aregistered CBO with Nebbi District LocalGovernment. She has acquired land whereshe plans to construct her own buildings.She plans to register the institute as anNGO to enable her operate in the wholecountry. She hopes to mobilise resourcesto enable her obtain transport means tomonitor her business efficiently and tosupport young vulnerable girls and womento study in her institute.Despite her achievements, Agnes hashad her share of challenges. The institutehas 12 machines yet ideally each traineeshould have her own machine for trainingpurposes. Further still, the institute isencumbered with constant load-shedding.In addition, students do not pay schoolfees in time which impacts negatively onpayments to instructors. The instructorsare paid less compared to the effort andskills invested. There is also high dropoutrate due to financial constraints and otherrelated issues.Agnes appeals to mothers and girls to beinnovative for self-reliance and decentliving. She encourages women to be job-creators instead of job seekers. She believesin teamwork for a better Uganda andtherefore appeals to Government and civilsociety to support training in vocationalskills to curb unemployment.Crescent Tirinawe is a Senior GenderOfficer and Everest Kyalimpa is aGerontologist. Both work with theMinistry of Gender, Labour and SocialDevelopmentA group of young people who have undertaken Acanda’s trainingMGLSDphoto
  26. 26. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201326GRASSROOTS STORIESinfluence on Luwerekera villagecommunity. Their group has been arole model for other groups and thishas encouraged group formation andknowledge sharing. The group has alsostarted a children’s rights advocacymovement, supported by ANNPCANwhich has facilitated them to purchaserecreational items like drums, traditionalattire for staging performances and boardgames to attract the youth to attendtrainings and workshops on children andhuman rights.The women of Bakyala Kwewayo attributetheir success to hard work, dedication,perseverance and support fromGovernment. They encourage husbandsto support their wives in order to increasehousehold incomes.They are also depending on Government toprovidemorefundingthroughCommunityDriven Development Programme projectsso that other groups and individuals canhave an opportunity to develop themselvesand the community. They have alsorequested for exchange visits so that theycan learn and share experiences with otherself help groups.Noel Komunda is a Monitoring andEvaluation Officer in the Ministry ofGender, Labour and Social Developmentand Angela Asako is a contributor to thisMagazine.SELF-HELP GROUP GETSSUPPORT FROM CDDBy Noel Komunda and Angela AsakoBakyala Kwewayo is a self-help groupin Luwerekera village, Kyanamukaakasub-county of Masaka District. It startedas a group of 12 women with supportof Kitovu Mobile, an organization thatfosters development.These focused and self-driven womendrafted a Memorandum of Associationand a constitution and registered theirassociation at the district. They startedcontributing shs.200 and later sh.500 on aweekly basis. By 2011 they had saved onemillion shillings.The group got into contact with theCommunity Driven DevelopmentProgramme that had dispatched funds tohelp grassroot associations start up viablesmall-scale businesses. The group madea request to purchase a maize millingmachinetobringthisservicenearertotheircommunity. Their request was approvedand the group received shs.3,500,000 tobuy the machine. The project took off andthe villagers no longer travel long costlydistances to mill their maize.Bakyala Kwewayo has also bought a“100x70” foot piece of land through sellingtheir extra produce. On this piece of land,the women are making bricks to build astructure for their maize mill. They havealso planted a nursery to nurture clonalcoffee seedlings which they sell to farmers.Bakyala Kwewayo is a very organizedgroup with strong leadership. Their booksof accounts are up-to-date. They keeptheir money with Kyanamukaaka Savingsand Credit Co-operative Society and thePost Bank. With the advice from KitovuMobile, each member has established asmall-scale business. Some brew alcohol,weave baskets and mats, fry pancakes,grow and sell cassava and sweet potatoes,among others.The general welfare of all the membershas improved greatly. Their families canafford the necessary health care, educationand food. The group members usually getinvitations to workshops and trainingsorganized by different developmentorganizations. Consequently, the membershave been empowered to participate inthe leadership of Local Councils, churchand school committees because of theexposure, skills and confidence the grouphas accorded them.Their group has had its challenge. Theyhave been slowed down by high powercosts to run the maize mill. They havealso had to pay for training to improvetheir book keeping skills. There are somemembers of the group who face hindrancesfrom attending meetings because theirspouses are not supportive. Some areburdened by too many demands and theyfind it difficult to save shs 500 per week.Bakyala Kwewayo has had a positiveMembers of the Bakyala Kwewaayo Self-help group show off their grinding machine and nursery bed (right)MGLSDphotos
  27. 27. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 27the heifers bear female calves, they arepassed on to other beneficiaries while themale ones are retained by the project andlater sold to buy more heifers for otherbeneficiaries. Since inception, the schemehas distributed over 200 heifers.The third project titled; Hope for Widows(HFW), promotes the social and legalwelfare of widows. The project is gearedtowards eliminating discriminatorypractices and traditions against widows,raise community awareness on widows’rights and promote awareness andenforcement of those rights. In 2011, WOPconducted sensitization activities in 45villages in Agule, Akisim, Chelekura andKameke sub-countiesGender Based Violence (GBV) is anotherarea that is being addressed in Pallisa.According to the legal officer for theWomen Centers Project of Action AidPallisa, Lillian Abalo, sensitization onissues of GBV is lopsided and has ignoredmen who need to be brought on board toenable them appreciate the value of thewoman in the home. The men view genderas an issue of women and therefore theirresponse to GBV is passive.Abalo explains that poverty and overdependency of women on men are themajor causes of GBV in Pallisa. Thoughthe project has made concerted effortsto reconcile the parties in conflict somecouples have still divorced or separated. “Incases of separation, sharing of the propertyacquired while in the matrimonial homeis a challenge as well as compensationfor damages incurred in the course ofBy Francis OkirorThe Woman of Purpose (WOP)community-based organization wasformed in 2004 to reach communitiesin Paliisa that lacked resources andopportunities. It equipped its memberswith practical life and vocational skillswith the intention of making them self-sustaining and independent. So far, WOPhas implemented three projects whichinclude; the widows housing scheme, acow scheme and a widow’s project.The objective of the Widows HousingScheme is to improve living conditions ofwidows most of whom previously lived indilapidated mud-and-wattle houses roofedwith grass. Most of these beneficiaries arevictims of HIV and AIDS and have severalorphans under their care.According to the WOP Executive Director,Mrs. Jane Opolot, the housing projectprovides iron sheets for roofing and someof the construction materials such asbricks and cement as well as doors andwindows. Since the scheme was launchedin 2006 it has benefitted 410 widows andtheir dependants.The Cow Scheme is meant to raise house-hold incomes, improve nutrition andcreate self- sustainability among widows.The scheme started with distribution ofheifers to twenty needy women within thefirst nine months of its commencement.Veterinary personnel were hired to trainand supervise the beneficiaries in themanagement of the heifers.The Project Manager revealed that whenCOMMUNITY BASEDEMPOWERMENT FOR WOMENGRASSROOTS STORIESviolence,” Abalo adds.The project has set up a matching grantto support survivors of GBV to cope withlife after separation or divorce. So far76 survivors, the majority of whom arewomen, have benefitted from the grant.The beneficiaries are given small grantsequivalent to their savings so that theyembark on implementation of income-generating activities. The beneficiaries aretrained in identification and managementof the Income-generating activities.Twenty million has been disbursed to twogroups of GBV survivors. The first groupreceived shs. 11 million while the secondreceived shs. 9 million.One GBV survivor, Samali Nairuba, fromKadesok village in Kamuge sub-countysaid, “My husband enjoyed battering meevery evening after drinking and I wasforced to throw in the towel after severalcounseling sessions, by both our familiesand the Women’s Center Project, had failedto bear any fruits. I am now a beneficiaryof the matching grant.”(Co-authored with Brian Masimbi andJoanita Akoyo. Masimbi is a Staticianin MGLSD, Akoyo is a contributor toUganda Woman Magazine)FrancisOkiroristheDistrictInformationOfficer of PaliisaBeneficiaries of the Cow Scheme receiving heifersMGLSDphotoWidows participating in theconstruction of a permanent house fora beneficiary of the Widows HousingSchemeMGLSDphoto
  28. 28. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201328WOMAN OWNS 100 ACRESBANANA PLANTATIONbecome suspicious, they stop supportingtheir wives.Kagombe joined other farming groupslike Kitooma Banana Grower’s Group.She is also a member of Mbarara DistrictFarmers’ Association which currently hasabout 7000 members. She is currently theassociation’s treasurer. Her involvementin Government and private sectorprogrammes has seen her achieve a lotfor herself as a mother and farmer. Shenotes that she has been exposed to othertaking care of banana plantains so as toget better yields. In addition, she identifiesmarkets and better prices for the nearbyfarmers. She employs 30 women and menon her banana farm.Kagombe is not involved only in bananafarming. She also owns a herd of goats ofover 30 animals which provide manure tothe banana plantation as well as additionalincome for the family. She also practicesfish farming in her 7 fish ponds. She sellsfish to other intending farmers.Kagombe’s story poses a challenge to otherwomen and is an indicator that althoughthey do not possess land, they can stillwork in partnership with their husbandsfor a better life.She points out that some of the hindrancesto women’s involvement in commercialfarming include; lack of support fromtheir husbands and over dependence onmen. She advises other women to takeon farming as business and count on itsimmense benefits. “Farming is regardedas a dirty job but it does not stop someonefrom looking good,” notes Kagombe.She advises men who are scared of women’sempowerment to change the attitudeand appreciate the role women play inthe development of their families andcommunities. She is also of the view thatit is important to engage men in womenempowerment initiatives because this iswhen they will appreciate the contributionwomen make and begin to change theirattitude.For future prospects, She hopes to expandher market to Eastern Uganda andsupply bananas to the processing plant inBushenyi once it is fully established.(Co-authored with William Kayumbu,DCDO Mbarara; Vincent Nuwagira,CDO Nyakayojo Sub-county and HenryMushabe, CDO Kamukuzi Division,Mbarara)Noel Komunda is Monitoring andEvaluation Officer in MGLSD, and Asalois a contributor to the Uganda WomanMagazineGRASSROOTS STORIESBy Noel Komunda and Angela AsakoEdrai Kagombe from Nyakayojo sub-county in Mbarara District used to work asasecretaryatNtareSchool.Sherealizedthiswas not enough to raise income to supporta family of 7 children. She ventured intobusiness but it collapsed since it requiredbalancing family responsibility and work.“The business was also not sustainablebecause of high costs of operating such abusiness. All the profit went into rent” sherecalls.Meanwhile, she used to see people sellingMatooke and earning more than she did.She notes that she discussed with herhusband the idea of farming. The husbandwas supportive and agreed to provide herwith part of the land which was formerlyused for cattle-grazing. She received oneacre from her father-in-law and after someyears, she bought more land and currently,she owns 100 acres of banana plantation.She points out that this was also possiblebecause she was open with her husband inher business. She notes that when the wifeand husband do not plan together, theycannot support each other. “Some womenare not open to their husbands aboutwhat they earn and that raises suspicion,”reveals Kagombe. She adds that when menareas of the country through variouslearning visits and workshops. Being amember of various organizations has alsoenabled her to get networks and markether produce. This has enhanced her socialand leadership skills. She has also been tomany agricultural trade fairs in Jinja andother parts of the country where some ofthe groups in which she is a member havewon various agricultural awards.She supplies food to Kamwokya Market inKampala and to Serena Hotel. She harvestsbetween 600-800 bunches of bananas perharvest and sells them directly to marketsin Kampala.She has been able to train other farmersin the community about establishing andEdrai Kagombe in her banana plantationMGLSDphoto
  29. 29. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 29GRASSROOTS STORIESKAABONG DISTRICT ADVANCINGTHE CAUSE OF WOMENBy Kenneth Ayebazibwe and InnocentTushabeKaabong District Local Government iseight years old. Over the last few years,the district has expanded and developedpartnerships with local organizationsas well as development partners toconduct programs focused on helpingwomen in the district. These partnershipshave provided support for programs,such as microfinance, education, childdevelopment and women empowerment.Additionally, the district has helpedto develop grassroots organizations,including women’s groups and networks, toensure that women are active participantsin the development planning process.As in most districts in Karamoja region,access to basic needs is a challenge for thepoor. For women, the impact of povertyhas even greater implications on theireconomic and political participation.In addition, socially-sustained culturalattitudes increase gender-baseddiscrimination in terms of ownership ofproduction assets, work burden, resourcessuch as land and property, health andeducational opportunities, decision-making, mobility, among others.To enable the voice of women to beheard, Kaabong District has associatedwith grassroots community-basedorganizations including; Dodoth Agro-Pastoral Development Organisation(DADO) and War Child Uganda. Theorganisations are empowering womenthrough prevention of violence againstwomen and promoting women livelihoodactivities in five sub-counties of thedistrict. In each sub-county, one women’sgroup is supported with start-up capital.The district has also organized severalpeer learning initiatives, through exposurevisits where women learn about how othercommunity organisations are run. Womenhave thus been able to raise issues ofconcern to them in public fora and in turn,this has increased women’s access to basicservices.Furthermore, Kaabong District trainsgrassroots women in leadership andmanagement skills to enable them runcommunity groups. In these arenas,women can voice their issues, plan andexecute ideas to benefit their communitiesas well as themselves. The district hostsinformal community discussions on theissues faced by residents; such as land,security, water and sanitation. Throughthese activities, the community is nowarmed with a strong knowledge-base withwhich to negotiate with local authorities.The district has also encouragedwomen leadership. Ms. Ruth Atyang,the Chairperson of St. Monica SkillsDevelopment Centre epitomizes thestrength of grassroots women leaders, whohave evolved out of the centre’s work. Hergroup received support from NorthernUganda Rehabilitation and EmpowermentProgramme (NUREP), to sensitise otherwomen in Abim, Kotido and Pader, toencourage men to settle, have fewerwomen and avoid cattle-rustling.By collaborating with the district, groups,organisations and Government at variouslevels of development phases, womenleaders have developed their expertiseand knowledge for creating innovativesolutions to community problems.Through heightened interaction withleaders, these women groups have beenable to push for changes that benefit them.Meanwhile, some challenges to women’sadvancement still persist. These include:community attitudes towards women,cattle-rustling and the ensuing instabilitywhich in turn creates delays in decision-making. Also, although legislationcalls for affirmative action and genderrepresentation, the number of women inpositions of authority is minimal.(Co-authored with Baapom Konyang,Acting DCDO Kaabong District)Innocent Tushabe is a ProgrammeOfficer under the UN Joint Programmein MGLSD
  30. 30. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201330PICTORIALHon. Joyce Mpanga - Minister of StateWomen in Development, President’s Office1988 - 19891991 - 1995Hon. Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe – Ministerof Women in Development, Culture and Youth.In 1994, she was also appointedVice President of UgandaHon. Byekwaso Lubega (RIP) - Minister of State,Women in Development, President’s Office1989-19901994-19961992-1994Hon. Albina Opio - Minister ofState, Women in DevelopmentHon. Loyce Bwambale - Minister ofState, Women in DevelopmentHon. Janat Balunzi Mukwaya – Minister ofGender and Community Development1996-2001Hon. Jane Frances Kuka - Ministerof State for Gender and CommunityDevelopmentHon. Dr. Beatrice WabudeyaMukhaye – Minister of State forGender and Cultural Affairs1998-19991999-20011997-1998Hon. Vincent Nyanzi - Minister ofState for Gender and Cultural AffairsHon. Tomasi Kiryapawo Sisye -Minister of State for Gender andCultural Affairs1996-1997PROGRESSION INTHE POLITICALLEADERSHIP OF THENATIONAL MACHINERYFOR WOMEN’SADVANCEMENT1988 - 2013
  31. 31. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 31PICTORIAL2001-20062007-20092012 - To date2006 - To dateHon. Zoe Bakoko Bakoru – Minister of Gender,Labour and Social DevelopmentHon. Sam Bitangaro – Minister ofState for Gender and Cultural AffairsHon. Rukia Nakadama Isanga –Minister of State for Gender andCultural AffairsHon. Gabriel Opio - Ministerof Gender Labour and SocialDevelopmentHon. John Nasasira – Minister of Gender, Labour and Social DevelopmentHon. Syda Namirembe Bbumba – Minister ofGender, Labour and Social Development2006-2007, 2009-20122001-2005
  32. 32. UGANDA WOMAN March -September 201332GRASSROOTS STORIES(Co-authored with Ida Kigonya, PrincipalWomen in Development Officer in theMinistry of Gender Labour and SocialDevelopment).Robert Mangusho is District Planner,Kween District.Sukut Women’sGroup FlourishesBy Robert MangushoWomen in Kween District, like manywomen in the rural areas of Uganda, areconstrained by social discrimination thatprevents them from owning land andaccessing credit, among others.The land in Kween is mountainous andwomen have to go uphill to look forfirewood to prepare food and to keep themud-and-wattle houses warm. However,in a few of the homes, bio gas is generatedfrom cow dung and used for cooking andlighting.Cooking and lighting homes with thesefuels creates high levels of indoor smoke,since most women use traditional openfires and there is no chimney or adequateventilation. The smoke from indoor firesexposes families to harmful levels of gases,particles, and dangerous compounds, suchas carbon monoxide.The majority of victims of exposure toindoor pollution, are women and children.For the low-income homes in Kween,women often spend many hours a day neara traditional open fire cooking meals. Incold months, they may tend a fire for heatfor a large part of the night. The childrenat home share the smoky environment andexposure to toxic fumes and pollutants.Consequently, many rural women,particularly the elderly, suffer fromcataracts as a result of having subjectedtheir lives to smoke since childhood.For these reasons, Sukut Women’s FarmersGroup (16 members) in Kabelyo Village,Moyok, came up with different strategiesfor home improvement. One of thegroup members, whose son received postgraduate training in India, exposed therest to an improved stove with a ventilatorto let the smoke out. The built stove usesa few pieces of wood or maize kobs toprepare different meals. The group boughtthe idea and now all the 16 families areusing improved stoves. Unfortunately, thisinitiative has not completely eliminatedthe smoke in their homes since they stilluse firewood to warm their houses. Thestove cannot generate that warmth.The group is also involved in incomegenerating activities, particularly small-scale home-based businesses, compatiblewith their household and care-takingresponsibilities.In 2011, the Sukut Women Group receivedshs. 2,500,000 from a grant of the NationalWomen Council to start a salon business.The group bought a solar panel whichwas mounted on the house of one ofthe members. Now, the group providessalon services to their community at anaffordable price of shs. 500 per hair cut. Inaddition, the group has since introducedmobile phone charging at shs. 500 perphone.The benefits accruing from the businessare varied. The group has helped improvecommunication because of the mobilephone charging services, it employsa barber who receives a salary andother benefits. Further still, the incomegenerated is used as a credit fund for thegroup members. They lend to themselvesat friendly rate of 5% per month. Theyuse these funds to pay for the educationof their children, meet their family healthneeds and to purchase fertilizers.The group is also involved in passion fruitgrowing. They were given free seeds andtechnical information on how to managethe crop for maximum yields. Despitethe achievements, the group has facedsome challenges including; theft of mobilephones from the charging area, limitedtraining in financial management by thegroup members and distant bankingservices. The nearest bank is in Kapchorwaand the roads are impassable during somemonths of the year.A woman prepares chapatis onan improved stove.MGLSDphotosMembers of the group standbelow their solar panel
  33. 33. UGANDA WOMAN March - September 2013 33By Noel Komunda and Angela AsakoEunice Wekesa had always been interestedin knitting but had never dreamt ofbecoming an entrepreneur. She narratesthat she learnt many things from hermother and from the home managementclasses. During her stay at the TeacherTraining College, she started making tablecloths for sale to colleagues.Her breakthrough came when Eunice gota teaching job in a school that neededuniforms. “I continued doing knit workas a passion,” she adds. She made uniformsweaters and sold them to that school. Withthe savings, she bought a sewing machineand started knitting sweaters to supply toother schools. With the expanding market,she bought a bigger machine and startedmaking sweaters in larger quantities thanbefore.She notes that although the school waspaying well, she resigned to concentrate onher business. Before she resigned, she hadtaught a child from Nepal and it is throughher relationship with this child that shewas able to visit India. While in India,the Ugandan community requested herto speak on their behalf. She had movedwith samples of her product and used theopportunity to market her business. Fromthe discussions, she was introduced to abetter and bigger machine.She acquired the machine in 2001 aftersecuring a loan from Gatsby Trust,an organization that supports smallbusinesses.Eunice,whoisalsoamemberofUganda Small Scale Industries Association(USSIA) notes that, “Being a memberof groups like Gatsby Trust, providedunique opportunity for me to expand,”she narrates. With her membership inthese organizations, she benefitted fromvarious trainings about business andentrepreneurship.Her successful venture into business didnot go without challenges. On a fatefulTURNING SKILLSINTO BUSINESSGRASSROOTS STORIESday as she travelled to Kenya to buy yarn,disaster struck when she got an accidentfrom which she did not recover untilafter 6 years. Hope for recovery of thebusiness lay in the quality of products sheproduced. “I started picking up from bitsand pieces while I still walked on crutches,”she recalls. Another challenge came whenshe got a stroke that took her back to thewheel chair for another 2 years.Shortcomings not withstanding, Eunicethinks that all these years have been asuccess for her. She managed to establishher own nursery schools to which shecouldsupplyuniforms.ShestartedRubindiPreparatory and Sheroner Kindergarten.She has been able to educate her children,four of whom are graduates. She attributesher success to God and the good businessenvironment in the country.She employs many youth, some of whomare school drop-outs and single mothers.She currently employs 6 people in theknit workshop and 29 in schools. She haspartnered with a colleague in the runningof the schools. Her husband has beensupportive and he is one of the directorsin the school.Eunice says that both women and menhave benefitted from her business. Sheprovides training to women at no costespecially the school drop-outs and singlemothers. The reason for focusing on thiscategory of people is that women becomevulnerable when sudden changes comeand so they need to be prepared. Thosewho have testified to this include a formerhousemaid whom she trained and whoworks in Gulu currently. The other is asingle mother who received training fromthe institution and now provides outdoorcatering services in Ntungamo.Eunice receives her inspiration frompersonalities including the Speaker ofParliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, theFirst Lady, Mrs. Janet Museveni and Dr.Maggie Kigozi.Eunice advises successful women tomentor young ones and protect them fromrunning after riches instead of makingtheir own.(Co-authored with William Kayumbu,DCDO Mbarara; Vincent Nuwagira,CDO Nyakayojo Sub-county and HenryMushabe, CDO Kamukuzi Division,Mbarara)Wekesa in her workshopMGLSDphotos