In her own words, interviewed by Bukenya Muusa, WGEF Program Director:
Mary aged 30, has 5 children and dropped out of school at age 12.
“Before attending WGEF’s business skills training,” she says, “I was not doing any business but was depending on my husband for everything. I would endure all harsh words from my husband in order to survive. We briefly separated because I could not sustain the stress in our marriage.”
While staying with her sister home, she visited with the district chairperson who came to inform them about a business-related training organized by Women’s Global Empowerment Fund. She got interested and confirmed her participation. In that training, she learnt three critical issues that have enabled her to start and grow her business: diversification of business, how people have the same brain, ability, and how to save and invest.
After the training, she sold her goat for $29 and cultivated one acre of maize while at the same time brewing local ginger beer to support her farming activity. Mary has increased her savings with her group and used part of the savings to buy five goats valued at $32 each and has since multiplied them to 8 goats.
Mary’s capital has increased from $29 to $490; from farming, she raises an average of $217 per season and monthly sales of $21 from handmade ornaments.
“My husband came back and begged for forgiveness because he saw the progress in me and the family as we were feeding well and dressing properly,” Mary says. “We no longer have fights but rather support each other. We are able to keep our children in school and have started constructing a house.
Long live WGEF — Mary Omoro District Uganda
It hit us unaware. It caused … fear among the community members…At Women’s Global Empowerment Fund, we didn’t sit back amidst this fear. We went forward. We stretched out to help ourselves and help the community.
Please help us support the dedicated staffers in Uganda who are, indeed, stretching out so their communities can move forward.
The mission of Women’s Global Empowerment Fund is to support women through economic, social, and political programs, creating opportunities while addressing inequality; strengthening families and communities.
Moving into 2021, we need your help to continue providing opportunities and resources to women and girls. Please consider a year end gift to our Annual Fund effort, ensuring the fight for equality, dignity and justice continues.
COVID-19: Ensure women and girls eperiencing violence and exploitation have access to services, support and resources during the global pandemic. GWRC has received special permission to stay open for emergency response and service.
Ag Loans: Provide loans for women entrepreneurs managing small farms and agricultural businesses to support a strong local food system.
Leadership Development: Train and encourage women running for local and national elected office, ensuring women have a seat at the table.
Access to Justice: Expand the Initiative’s work to facilitate community dialogue and action on issues of human rights and gender-based violence in northern Uganda.
12,000+ new microloans and agricultural loans, enabling economic opportunities for women, creating stronger families and communities
500,000+ sanitary products delivered to schools, homes, and villages, and distributed at Gulu Women’s Resource Center
500+ women leaders serving in leadership positions across northern Uganda; women have a seat at the table, are highly trained, and ensuring women’s voices are heard
Due to restrictions on public transportation and reduced capabilities at local health care facilities created by the COVID-19 lockdown, many expectant mothers in northern Uganda do not have access to lifesaving healthcare. Some have died while attempting to walk to the nearest health facility; others have died due to complications that cannot be handled at a village facility. Unfortunately, the loss of life extended to their babies. WGEF’s local team has been doing our part to reduce these heartbreaking situations by providing another option to pregnant women via our toll-free line. When expectant mothers reach out, we have been responding and transporting them to a capable facility. We have safely saved many.
On July 22, 2020 we received a distress call from one of our peer counselors, Alice, who was expecting. Unfortunately, she’d developed complications that were too severe for the resources in her village.
When my water broke, I footed to the nearby health center, I was examined, the doctor told me my pressure is hiking and my blood count was low and I needed transfusion and be prepared for an emergency cesarean delivery as soon as possible to save both me and my baby. But their facility does not handle that and they referred me to Lacor hospital located in Gulu 68km away. It was already 9:00pm in the night and no public means was available, the health center where I was, did not have a standby ambulance. I was stuck and every one was getting worried as my condition continued to worsen. I straightaway remembered our toll-free services based at WGEF office and called them immediately for rescue. In less than two hours our Program Director picked me up and delivered us safely to Lacor hospital, who helped me deliver my live baby and saved me too. Thank you WGEF family we are both safe and healthy.
—Alice, Peer Counselor
There are currently 5,101 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Uganda. At WGEF, we continue to share information and encourage the community to adhere to the rules set by the government to combat the pandemic. We are paying special interest to maternal and child health, which are badly affected. We remain dedicated to providing uninterrupted assistance to disadvantaged women, and would be most grateful for any incoming assistance to help us continue fulfilling this mission.
The elevation of women’s voices and leadership is crucial during and after the COVID-19 pandemic as women and girls are more likely to suffer the negative social and economic consequences of the crisis. As a women right’s organization, WGEF has prioritized the specific needs of women aspiring for leadership. We train, encourage, provides technical resources for women running for elected office in Uganda.
As Uganda is preparing for the 2021 general election. It’s time to encourage and support women to aspire for political elected positions at all levels. We believe women are natural leaders, at a grassroots level, the leadership of empowered women can have a significant impact on protecting women and girls because they understand the contextual needs of those communities and what works most effectively on the ground. While women are more at-risk due to the pandemic, they are also better placed to act as community-based social mobilizers and agents of change.
We are celebrating 35 powerful women from our leadership program! These confident leaders have already won their parties ticket to represent their community at different levels. Including our Senior Peer Counselor Prisca who has been elected to represent her community as Gulu City Women Representative.
We believe having women in leadership positions will harness the positive impact of women’s leadership and address gender imbalance in decision making in Uganda’s COVID-19 response and influence other social issues affecting their communities, such as increasing funding, equitable policy development, and programs to prevent gender-based violence (GBV), provide SRH services, and offer specific economic assistance.
We can progressively build gender equal societies by championing and advocating for women’s leadership in their own communities.