NAWOU works in partnership with We Effect in a framework of strengthening the capacity of grassroots women’s organizations in promoting gender equality in Hoima District. The organization implemented a training regime up to 25 member organisations of Hoima Women’s District network. Ms. Flossy Tumusime of Muhwiju Tukorehamu Women Saving and Credit Association shares the benefits of the training in financial literacy using the Village Savings and Loans (VSLA) methodology:
According to Ms. Flossy Tumusime, they have learnt how to save money and why it is important to do so. Key among the lessons was that increased savings would result in the members being able to borrow more money for investments, through which they can expand their capital. In addition, the interest from the loans is ploughed back into the Association savings so they benefit from it themselves rather than paying interest to micro-credit companies. Flossy says before the training they were saving between UGX 1000/= to 5000/= only, while using the rest of their incomes for day to day needs and for small businesses. However, after the training they changed and doubled their savings i.e. UGX 2000/= to UGX 10,000/=. As a result, their overall savings increased to UGX 4,250,750/=. They now plan to share some of the money at the end of the year so that each can invest meaningfully.
Through the trainings, NAWOU has also touched and changed the lives of individual women. Ms. Mary Tuhaise, a member of Tweimukye Women’s Group in Kyabigambire said she did not have the capital she needed to inject into her tobacco farming. However, after the training on VSLAs, she learnt how to save with and borrow money from her group. “I put into practice what I learnt first by borrowing some money from my group which was around one hundred and ten thousand shillings only (UGX 110,000/=). With this loan, I have seen my life change. I was able to construct the tobacco drying structure that I had failed to construct in the past. With this structure in place I am now able to sell more tobacco and thus save more per season”. She is also able to meet the scholastic requirements for her children’s education.
Apart from training groups on VSLAs, NAWOU also delivered refresher trainings on gender equality and human rights to its members and male champions. To date, a total of at least 155 participants have been reached (36 males and 119 females).
The gender trainings have led to greater improvements in relationships between husbands and their wives as well as fewer incidences of violence at home. Ms. Annet Aseera from Tweyombeke Nigina group reported that, “Before the training ongender equality, I used to do all the house chores. But after the training, I went home and sensitized my husband on what I had learnt from the training and now we share roles and there is no more violence at home.’’
Additionally, the training on gender equality has increased male involvement in gender issues. For example, in Tweimukye Women Group welcomed 7 men into its membership who have become ambassadors to fellow men on gender equality in their community.