The National Association of Women’s Organizations in Uganda (NAWOU) in Uganda was founded in the 1960’s as the National Council of Women (NCW) and the gender machinery then. It was mandated to coordinate and be a platform for promoting women in political leadership and to advocate for women’s issues and concerns. After the creation of political women’s councils and a Ministry of Gender, NCW was registered under a new name as the National Association of Women’s Organizations in Uganda (NAWOU) in 1993 after a transition of five (5) years.
“A society where women are collectively and individually self-reliant and free from injustice”
“To promote the growth of a strong women’s movement in Uganda that advocates for the rights of women and enhance their social-cultural, economic and political status”
NAWOU’s work is guided by core values that act as benchmarks and guiding principles for internal and external interactions. These are:
Teamwork- Whatever is done, all that we do; we do without selfish interests but as members of one body; upholding the notion that together everyone achieves more.Respect is an essential precondition for our communication, for team work and productivity;
Integrity-We shall be accountable for our actions to the relevant stakeholders by being honest, trustworthy and upholding the interest of our members and partners. We are committed to making what we do consistent with what we say.
Non-discrimination-We are passionate of the women and not discriminate anyone by colour, race, ethnicity, religion, status or political affiliation.
Participation- Our actions will ensure that we are collaborative, we consult as much as possible, we make corporate decisions and owned by all.We promote partnerships, ownership, responsibility and commit ourselves to empowerment of our members so as to enable them create sustainable positive change.
Our Strategic Objectives (2015-2019)
From 2015 to 2019, we seek to realise our mission through the following strategic objectives
- Promote Access to Economic Justice, Markets and Value Chain production
- Promote and Strengthen Women’s Participation and, Representation in Leadership and Decision making in Democratic Governance in Uganda
- Promote peace and security in the lives of women, their families and communities
- Improve on program and organisational efficiency and effectiveness
NAWOU’s footprints go back to women like Freda Adiamo, Rhoda Kalema, Kisosonkole, Irene Emulu, and Joyce Mpanga began to agitate for women’s issues at political a forums in and out of the country. This numbers soon grew into organized and structured advocacy that gave birth to for example:
Legal and Policy advocacy: In the 1960’s women passed a resolution urging that laws regarding marriage, divorce, and inheritance should be recorded in written form and publicized nationwide, a step to codifying customary and modern practices. Women continue to press for legal reforms that would grant all women the right to own property and retain custody of their children when their marriages ended. The analyses by women and the continued advocacy role of NAWOU contributed to influencing provisions in the Children Act, the Land Act, the Marriage and Divorce Bill, the Domestic Violence Act and other recent legislations on the rights of women.
Governance and Leadership: NAWOU was the first to train and prepare women to run for political office and those that were successfully elected were trained in leadership, governance, debate and public speaking so they could be effective. The governance and leadership training programmes boast of women leaders such as Specioza Wandera Kazibwe, Hon Geradine N. Bitamazire, Rtd. Justice Ruth Masika, Rtd. Justice Mary Maitum, Justice Oguli, Victoria Sebagereka, Albina Opio, Tezira Jamwa, Elizabeth Mabonga, Rebecca Mulwana, among many others.
A Gender Policy: Through its networks and governing structures NAWOU successfully advocated for a gender policy, which was passed in 1997; for affirmative action that boosted entry to University and other higher institutions of learning by for females by an extra 1.5 points; for 30% women representation in all political and elective leadership positions.
University Department: Successfully advocated for the Makerere Centre for Women’s Studies, which is now a full-fledged School of Women and Gender Studies. It supported disadvantaged women in groups and as individuals to access financial resources by providing them with short term loans at an affordable interest rate. The micro enterprises have enabled women and women groups meet their basic needs. Today, there are over 300 women in communities in Uganda with small businesses whose foundation is linked to NAWOU’s micro-finance enterprise.
In collaboration with research institutions, NAWOU has conducted specific studies to understand challenges affecting women and used findings to influence policy processes. Specific studies worth noting include: land access by women, peanut growing processing storage and aflatoxin.
It set up a Resource Centre with key resource materials relevant to the needs of women, women’s organizations and students. A quarterly NAWOU News acquaints members and other stakeholders with the current news at NAWOU and its environment.
It has a history of success in building, promoting and supporting women in leadership and political engagement. It has given birth to Thematic Women’s organizations like the Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Uganda, Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP) and has now forged new partners in the sub-region, region and at the International level and regained its ability and place in spaces in the inter-governmental platforms nationally and is building the same capability regionally and internationally.
It is the only entity with active members in the Districts and rural areas even in the newly curved Districts
It has restructured and now has in-house staff capacity, a new Governing Body (Board) and strategic Plan.
It has successfully piloted an innovative methodology for Promoting Women’s Empowerment (In Agribusiness and Investment) using their Agencies with 26 women’s groups in Luwero.
It has successfully piloted an innovative methodology for Promoting Women’s Empowerment (in Agribusiness and Investment) using their Agencies with the Luwero District Network and its membership. It is an attested, credible and viable platform for advocacy and research on gender issues and concerns.
It has been invited by new partners in the sub-region, region and at the International level. It must strengthen its ability to regain its place in spaces that its partners create and in the inter-governmental platforms.
It worked with its members in two Districts spearheading peace during the electoral process of 2016 that saw women and youth dialogue with communities on respect of human rights, tolerance, peace and security of persons and property in communities and the nation.
Our membership comprises of organisations that address the interests and concerns of women with an aim of improving their social, political and economic status. NAWOU’s membership is at three levels. National and Professional NGOs, Community Based Organisations that form District Networks in various districts of Uganda and Associate Members who are individuals who provide services or benefit from NAWOU programmes.
Areas of operation
NAWOU operations are national in nature and currently operates in the Districts of; Masaka, Hoima, Kabarole, Gulu, Mukono, Kamuli, Apac, Hoima, Mubende, Mpigi, Wakiso, Kasese, Bundibugyo, Kampala, Jinja and Luwero NAWOU has District networks in almost all the Districts in Uganda.
For more information contact:
The Executive Director
Plot 1 Perryman Gardens, Bakuli Old Kampala, off Hoima Road
P.O.Box 1663, Kampala
Tel: +256 414 258463
Fax +256 414 345293