For Flavia Abakwase, a member of Agali Awamu Women’s Group in Kamira Sub County, like many others was brought up to think a husband was the sole decision maker in the home and she eventually carried this attitude into her own marriage. The idea of her starting her own business to sustain her household or speak up on matters affecting women’s economic rights in a grass root setting was a far thought. This social construct began to change when she got involved in NAWOU interventions and sensitization on women’s economic rights. These engagements gave her the courage to negotiate and consult with her husband who later supported her to start up her own business to supplement family income.
Through NAWOU trainings on business development, planning and budgeting, she managed to mobilize capital through the Village Saving and Loans Association (VSLA) and invest UGX .100,000/= in agro market trading. The business was boosted and has grown over a short period of time generating an income of UGX.200,000/= per week. This made Flavia very excited and motivated, for with this income she not only had money to save with her VSLA per week but also ably contribute to her household welfare which created peace in her home. However with the pandemic challenges, the sales dropped drastically due to low income among buyers and the general poor economic status nationwide.
“Before COVID19, I used to buy 4 basins of tomatoes each worth 30,000/= and could sell it within a day times but currently I get 1 basin of tomatoes and sell it within 4 days,” lamented Flavia as she shared her experience with the group.
Despite the economic challenges at hand, she is a model woman at home, within the community and is always appreciated by husband for exercising her economic rights in a productive manner.
“The business that I started as a personal initiative is now sustaining the entire family and there is collective participation at household level. I have become a consultant on matters to do with women’s economic participation and sustainability”. Flavia added.
NAWOU and FIDA have greatly contributed to the positive changes in her life, attitude and mindset towards women’s economic participation. Though the business started out on an individual initiative, it has seemingly grown into a family business with everyone actively involved to support its growth.
Flavia commits to work hard to grow her business and continue inspiring other women to embrace their power and potential to participate in economic initiatives to address their financial needs. She praises the church for partly contributing to this change through seminars and confidence building processes which helped her discover her ability to do great things
She endeavors to share the skills and knowledge acquired with others through church gatherings, saving groups and one on one interaction with women in her community. She says the approach of women social-economic capacity building and male involvement is an effective strategy for community transformation, NAWOU and FIDA should expand their work to more rural communities.