NAWOU’s Economic Justice for Women Project is an agri-business project targeting good farming practices, value addition, value capturing and marketing. Working with 26 groups, 2 from each of the 13 sub-counties in Uganda, NAWOU with development support from Forum For Women and Development (FOKUS) is partnering with the East African Sub regional Initiative for Development of Women (EASSI), the Association of Women Lawyers in (FIDA) – Uganda and Luwero District Local Government to bring about economic change in the lives of women, their families and communities. NAWOU strongly recognizes women’s economic empowerment as essential to sustainable peace and development. Through this project NAWOU has taken a bold step and action to advance women’s economic opportunities and rights to ensure that women benefit from the business climate that supports them in starting up and enhancing their businesses.
A group of women participating in training on Agri-bussiness
NAWOU has equipped 780 Women in Luwero District with capacities for improved agricultural production, farming as a business, and enterprise selection and development. Women groups like Magezi Bugaga Group, Katuuka Women’s Group and Kyosiga Kyokungula Group have now adopted improved farming techniques that ensure increased yield consequently increasing their incomes. Other economic empowerment modules included use of alternative sources of energy such as briquettes, bio-gas from animal waste and sun dryers. The training led the women to immediately begin making briquettes and preserving their farm produce using the sun dryers. “The charcoal sellers are wondering why women buy less charcoal these days. Women now use briquettes and it is a cheaper, cleaner and better way of cooking” testified a lady from Magezi Bugaga Group.
A practical session on how to make Briquettes
Our project additionally aims at organizing the Women groups to form a network or cooperatives that will enable them coordinate their farming as collectives and have the numbers and voice to influence policy decisions at District and National levels. We therefore supported the Women groups with training on governance, leadership and gender mainstreaming. This module will ensure group sustainability, accountability and maximization of benefits of support provided by the project. Women groups like Agali Awamu Women’s Group, Akutwala Ekiro (translates to “The one that takes you at night”) who changed their name after the governance training to Kukola si Bigambo (translates to “Work is not just mere words”) are positively changing and growing in their own capacities through constitutional revisions, electing new leaders and getting new catchy names as a way of attracting new members to join the groups. These trainings have further inspired women on an individual level for example, Justine Nakalungi was inspired by the training that elaborated on personal reflection, personal growth and development, qualities and duties of a good leader hence being brought to the realization of her full potential and self-worth. She shortly after the training decided to pick up forms for nomination to run for elective position of Local Council 3 Chairperson for Bamunanika Sub-County. Here again we see the importance of empowering the women economically and helping them realize the potential they possess and how they can bring about change with a simple step of acceptance and courage.
The Women groups were supported with Solar Dryers and suppoerted on their usage
The project has also secured equal participation of women with disabilities, youth and marginalised women through profiling and making deliberate choice to work with groups that have members of the stipulated categories. “We thank NAWOU for including us in the project. Other projects have always left us out” exclaimed a participant with disability.