AWAGO Empowers Women In Naguru With Business Boosting Grants During Women’s Day Celebrations

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AWAGO Empowers Women In Naguru With Business Boosting Grants During Women’s Day Celebrations

African Women and Girls Organisation For Total Knowledge (AWAGO) in conjunction with its partners have empowered women who are residents of Naguru suburb with Ugx 100,000 each to boost their businesses as part of post-International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations.

This was during the Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit, an event organised to commemorate International Women’s Day under the Theme: “Accelerating Gender Equality through Economic Empowerment.” (‘Abakyala Twekembe Tukole’) held on 14th March, 2024 to celebrate women’s achievements and advocate for gender parity.

The collaborative event was championed by AWAGO, Africa Education & Leadership Initiative, (Africa ELI), African Women and Youth Action for Development (AWYAD), Twezuule Foundation, Rotaract Club of Morning Tide Bugolobi, Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development and Rotary Club in-formation Luzira.

The event that took place at the Resident City Commissioner (RCC)’s office in Naguru was attended by over 150 women and representatives from diverse organizations and was graced by Mrs. Gorreti Serunkuma, Manager of Stanbic Bank as the guest of honour.

The summit centered on uplifting women and fostering their empowerment to excel in various spheres of life through collaborative efforts with partner organizations, the event resonated with a spirit of solidarity towards achieving its objectives.

While delivering her message, Ms. Judith Nassali, National Director AWAGO urged women to persevere in the face of challenges and seize opportunities for growth.

Ms. Judith Nassali Giving her Speech During The event.

Judith emphasized the importance of mental well-being and further encouraged women to embrace practices such as Transcendental Meditation (TM) for stress relief and clarity of mind, highlighting TM as a tool for mental wellness and its potential to enhance women’s lives and facilitate personal development.

Ms. Judith Nassali & Mr. Benard Mujuni, Commissioner Rights and Equity, Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (R) Taking Notes

African Women and Youth Action for Development (AWYAD)’s funding initiatives provided women with essential capital to initiate income-generating activities, thereby contributing to poverty alleviation and economic prosperity. Recognizing the entrepreneurial potential of women, AWYAD’s support aimed to bridge the gap between aspiration and reality, enabling women to realize their ambitions.

Catherine Nakasinde – Advocacy & Influencing Officer AWYAD (L)

Mr. Benard Mujuni, Commissioner Rights and Equity, Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, urged women to actively engage in empowerment initiatives and fight against poverty.

Mujuni encouraged women to embrace the available government programmes like Emyooga, Parish Development Model (PDM), the GROW project, and the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) to improve their livelihoods.

He further emphasized the importance of collective action and highlighted the establishment of gender equality committees as a step towards fostering inclusivity and addressing systemic barriers.

Benard Mujuni, Commissioner Rights and Equity, Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (C)

Speaking during the event, mrs. Serunkuma encouraged women to cultivate empowering relationships, pursue financial independence and stressing the importance of self-reliance.

“You should also believe in God at all times, have confidence in yourself, and surround yourself with productive friends, be frugal and separate personal expenditure from business money,”  she said.

Sserunkuuma urged the women to form groups and associations so they could benefit from Stanbic Bank’s women’s investment fund and proactively seek avenues for personal and professional growth, rather than relying solely on external support.

Mrs. Gorreti Serunkuma, Manager of Stanbic Bank (R), Guest of Honor

Inspiration Stories

During the event, two phenomenal women shared stories of how they rose from humble backgrounds to prestigious positions.

One was Zaharah Namanda, 30, founder of the Africa ELI organisation and the executive director of Utopia Foundation, an international literacy body.

She narrated how she lost her mother at 12 years and she took over the responsibility of raising her three siblings.

She did odd jobs to raise rent, buy food, and pay school fees for her siblings and herself.

“Our relatives abandoned us but I stepped up and struggled until I completed university,” she said.

Zaharah Namanda, Founder, AfricaELi & Executive Director, Utopia Foundation

Namanda urged women to raise their children well; and train them to be resilient and hardworking.

“Don’t look at your husband to uplift you. Step up and work for a better life. You might struggle today but tomorrow, God will reward your sweat,” she said. After, she gave out free books (readers) to women.

Namanda was followed by Irene Adero, who said she dropped out of Primary Seven but this did not hinder her from rising to the top. She works with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) secretariat.

Mrs. Adero Irene championed women’s empowerment through skills development, advocating for hands-on training in various trades. Collaborating with AWAGO, she expressed commitment to equipping women with practical skills such as tailoring and hairdressing, ensuring no woman is left behind in the journey towards self-sufficiency.

ADERO IRENE – IGAD MISSION UGANDA

Irene emphasized self-belief and resilience as key attributes for women to overcome obstacles and thrive.

Adero also founded E3 Community Transformation through which she has skilled thousands of young women across the country. Adero first worked as a cleaner.

“You can achieve big dreams even if you don’t have an education. Just believe in yourself, work hard, and be focused,” she appealed.

Christine Ashaba from AWAGO said apart from Naguru, they have also trained youth and women’s groups in Kamwokya and Kikajo on mental health and livelihood enhancement programmes such as soap-making and business skills.

Christine Ashaba in white Exhibiting products during the event

“We started doing this work after the COVID-19 pandemic to support the vulnerable communities that were badly destabilized. Many women youth and women had mental problems and had lost their businesses and jobs which were their only sources of income, so we started the organisation to offer hope to these vulnerable groups,” she said.    

Zurah Acaye, the Naguru 2 parish women’s council chairperson, applauded the various partners for coming on board to improve the lives of the vulnerable women in her community.

“We considered single mothers and those with children who have disabilities and mental problems for this small package. I am confident that they will use the money to grow their small businesses,” she said.

Prossy Masendi, a single mother of two children, said she would invest the sh100,000 in a women’s shoe business.

“I will use the money to look after my family, especially medication for one of my children who is battling cerebral palsy,” she said.

Benard Mujuni, (C) touring exhibitions of women from different organizations.
Gorreti Serunkuma (C) touring exhibitions of women from different organizations.

In a bid to enhance women’s safety, participants received training in self-defense techniques, particularly pertinent for those working during nighttime hours. Empowering women with skills to protect themselves, the training aimed to mitigate risks and promote a sense of security in their daily lives.

Some of the women who attended
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