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International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

I’m so happy that I can now read and write my name an opportunity which I lost when I was young but when WEGF opened the free literacy program I was among the first one to register.

— Grace Arach

“My name is Grace Arach, 29 years old, I have 3 children and a member of Kwo Aye Lonyo women group, I joined WGEF in 2008 and together with my members we have received 5 loan cycles. I sell fruits in the market and do some agriculture for home consumption. It was my first time to join any loan program and I feel preveraged to be part of the WGEF. I receive only 80,000shs $40 as my first loan which I invested in fruits as of now I have 300,000 $160 in my capital which I have raised through my saving and profits. I’m so happy that I can now read and write my name an opportunity which I lost when I was young but when WEGF opened the free literacy program I was among the first one to register. I was among the many girls who were abducted by Joseph Kony’s Rebels LRA and I spent 8 years with them in the bush. I was brutally beaten, forced to carry heavy loads and was forced to kill one of the girls whom we were abducted with using a stick imagine! I was raped and forced to sleep with many rebels to the extent that I don’t know the fathers of my 2 beautiful kids whom I came back with after being rescued by government forces…”

— Submitted with permission by author; translated by WGEF Program Manager

Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2024

It’s May and that means we focus on Menstrual Hygiene! At WGEF, we’re raising our voices to
break taboos and change the narrative.

Check out our latest HPI newsletter for Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2024!

WGEF Field Educator, Harriet, talking about challenges and solutions around menstrual health:


Celebrating Mothers and All Who Care for Their Families, Communities, and Mother Earth!

“One of the strongest connections is that of being a mother ~ which can mean many things ~ all of our clients are mothers. They are taking care of their children, children who were orphaned because of a long conflict, taking care of their families and each other, taking care of the land, water, and their communities.”

— Karen Sugar, WGEF Founder & Executive Director

Today I celebrate mothers day with JoyI’m entering my permanent house that I constructed from my own saving for 5 years.

Nancy, 48 a mother of 6 children, spent 14 years in IDP (Internally Displaced Camp) during the insurgence of LRA. She, like many, lost everything and depended on rations from WFP. Nancy joined WGEF 6 years back and has been running her agro business in the Gulu District.

“I set up 2 goals when in joined WGEF (1) To educate all my children and (2) To construct a decent house. I have achieved both my children all are in school. One graduated this year and today I’m entering my new house” 

“Thank you WGEF for empowering my family.”

— Nancy – WGEF – Beneficiary Gulu

International Women’s Day 2024

An annual day to reflect on the role that gender plays in our lives, work, and our planet. It is a day to reflect on the lives and challenges women face globally, difficult journeys taken, consider our successes and recognize what we have lost, and find a way to move forward. At WGEF we’d like to share stories of hope and what is possible.

Gulu, International Women’s Day, 2024

Together, we can rewrite the narrative surrounding menstrual health, championing it as a natural, essential part of life.

One of the most heartwarming HPI success story is that of Amina, a bright and determined young girl from Payibona village Gulu District. In the past, Amina struggled to attend school during her period, often resorting to using old rags or leaves. However, after the HPI program entered her school, she received monthly supplies of sanitary pads and invaluable knowledge about menstrual hygiene and health, Amina’s life took a remarkable turn! She was able to continue her education consistently and with dignity. Excelling in her studies, Amina enrolled in nursing school at Gulu University Medical School – even before completing her program, she became a role model for other girls in her community.

Read More…

Caught In Between: Women and Conflict in Gaza, 5 Months Later

—Karen Sugar, Founder and Director of Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF)

This year, on IWD, we must include and recognize the women and children suffering, starving, dying in Gaza. We stand with the women of Gaza, calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. As a feminist organization focused on human rights for all, we demand an end to a conflict which has killed over 31,000 civilians, 70% are women and children. Women are disproportionately impacted in this conflict.

Read full statement here…

Caught In Between: Women and Conflict in Gaza, 5 Months Later

War is a testament to our collective failure as human beings, a stark reminder that in conflict, there are no winners. In the face of unimaginable atrocities and suffering, it is important to recognize that the true victors are not those who conquer with brutality, fear, and destruction, but rather, those who lead with humility and compassion, upholding the fundamental human rights and dignity of all individuals while valuing and respecting the tapestry of our shared humanity.

As a human rights organization focused on northern Uganda, which faced a long and brutal conflict, violence, and extreme poverty in recent history, WGEF knows first-hand the toll conflict takes on women and children in particular.  While the region has been peaceful for the last decade, it continues to struggle to rebuild and recover.

As the founder of WGEF and a university instructor who teaches gender studies, human rights, and social justice, I have an acute understanding of the impact, short and long-term, on women in conflict regions. The toll on their bodies, minds, and well-being is unique and disproportionate.

Data suggests that over 90 percent of war victims are civilians, the majority (70%) of whom are women and children. Women and children are specifically vulnerable because of their status and sex. Innocent people living in villages and towns are often caught in the crossfire, if not targeted.

Currently in Gaza, women and girls are facing a perilous and inhumane reality. As has been widely documented, there is an unfolding famine, hospitals and facilities in Gaza lack fuel, clean water, medicine, and safety. The following are examples of how current conditions disproportionately impact women:

  • There are an estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, many of whom are experiencing severe challenges with their pregnancies due to lack water, food, and safety. Many will give birth in the next few weeks, in conditions that are unsanitary and dangerous, without water and fuel to power hospitals. It is reported by all major news outlets, and the UN that doctors are performing c-sections by cell phone light, and without adequate anesthetic or pain medicine.
  • Water is vital for all life, but especially nursing mothers, who, due to diminished access to water, are unable to nurse their babies. Water is essential for healthy pregnancies, and mothers who breastfeed need to drink extra water to be able to produce milk for their babies.
  • Many Palestinian women have resorted to taking menstruation-delaying pills due to the desperate, unsanitary circumstances they have been forced into as a result of the continuing offensive in Gaza. Facing displacement, overcrowded living conditions, and a lack of access to water and menstrual hygiene products such as sanitary napkins and tampons, women have been taking norethisterone tablets—ordinarily prescribed for conditions such as severe menstrual bleeding, endometriosis, and painful periods—to avoid menstruation.
  • An estimated 37 mothers are killed every day, leaving their families devastated and their children traumatized, with diminished protections.

The current siege on Gaza poses additional risks to health and life for women and girls. Their suffering is one more reason that we should demand the restoration of power and water, allow fuel into Gaza, and immediately and consistently open its crossings for humanitarian aid.

We are now 6 months into this devastating and brutal conflict; we condemn state leaders in Israel, the US government and others, for providing weapons, including bombs and bullets, who are leading an indiscriminately violent escalation against innocent Palestinians and a total blockade of critical humanitarian aid in Gaza, leading to immense suffering, famine, and the deaths of over 31,000 people, 13,000 children. There must be an immediate ceasefire and an end to the weaponization of water and food, collective punishment, and forcible transfer of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

WGEF supports women, girls, and communities. We will continue to provide transformative programs and initiatives that promote human rights, equality, and justice for all.

—Karen Sugar, Founder and Director of Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF)

To support the rights of women and girls to live with dignity and freedom, please join our revolution:

Read Karen’s previous statement, from the start of the war in Gaza…