The National Association of Women’s Organisations in Uganda (NAWOU) is a leading national umbrella organisation consisting of clusters of grassroots women’s organisations that form themselves into district and regional women’s networks, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), faith-based organisations (FBOs) and women’s professional bodies. This network of women-founded and women-led organisations come together, dedicating their individual intellect and skills, and bringing together the synergy from their various organisations to promote and uphold the rights of women.
NAWOU owes her existence to the women’s movement whose advocacy for equal opportunities started as far back as 1894. From these modest beginnings, the National Council for Women
(NCW), the government’s machinery for the advancement of women’s cause was born in 1964. Following successful advocacy for the department of women in development in 1978, which later became the ministry responsible for gender and the rights of women, the current gender machinery, NAWOU was registered as an NGO.
To promote the growth of a women’s movement through a strong network that advocates for the rights of women in Uganda.
A society where women are self-reliant and free from injustice.
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 teamwork and productivity;
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
We are passionate of the women and not discriminate anyone by colour, race, ethnicity, religion, status or political affiliation.
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 (2020-2024)
From 2020 to 2024, we seek to realise our mission through the following strategic objectives;
Strategic Objective 1: Increased access to economic opportunities of at least 80,000 women by 2024.
Strategic Objective 2: Increased participation of women’s networks in 30 districts in governance, policy and legislative influencing for gender responsiveness.
Strategic Objective 3: Strengthened capacity of women’s networks to uphold the rights of girls and women in 45 districts.
Strategic Objective 4: Strengthened and sustainable membership engagements and partnership in 45 districts.
Strategic Objective 5: Improved institutional capacity for effectiveness, efficiency and accountability.
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.
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 to 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 and peanut growing processing storage.