With funding from FOKUS, NAWOU supported nine (9) women groups from six sub counties in Luwero with start-up income kits (in kind) and production equipment to enable groups boost / revamp various business enterprises affected by the pandemic on 28th July 2021 at district headquarters.
As a recovery response strategy, NAWOU in partnership with FIDA-Uganda planned for business development support in form of income kits and production equipment for selected group enterprises that are grappling with business, to support their recovery, stability and sustainability processes. The following groups received items; Maama Mango Women’s Development Group, Kikyusa Development Association of the Blind, Luwero Women Living with Disability (LUWODA), Bombo Women Living with HIV/Aids (BWOLA), Agali Awamu Women’s Group, Lomule Women’s Group, St John’s Christian Women Fellowship (CWF) Group, Katikamu Katukole Women’s Group (KATUKA) and Kavule Community Group.
During the opening remarks, Nagadya Faridha Assistant CAO encouraged the women groups to work as a team and use government programs that cater to them, master book keeping and utilize the technical team at the district and sub county level.
A rapid business assessment of women and women groups under the “Women at Work” project in Luweero district was undertaken in the previous year and this revealed that majority women and group enterprises were adversely affected due to closure of community markets, drop down of business capital, expensive inputs and lack of better production equipment for meaning production.
Executive Director NAWOU, Monica Emiru Enyou thanked the women for working tirelessly to ensure they improve their livelihood, be self-reliant and gain financial independence.
“We started with 27 women groups and now we have 65 with several cooperative societies being supported to leverage existing economic opportunities and for healthier women’s participation. We are indebted to Luwero district officials for always supporting and promoting women’s rights,” said Monica. “The items being handed over today are intended to boast your economic activities. Throughout the project, you have been equipped with different skills and now the ball is in your court to continue adding value to yourselves.”
She encouraged them to form more cooperative societies in order to be recognized at a national level, have better opportunities and access to government grants.
The pandemic exacerbated women’s inability to save and access credit regularly from their Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) since they could not meet weekly to fulfil their financial obligations, this affected cash flows and contributed to sluggish operation of individual and group enterprises
Monica Nantume, the NAWOU Programme Officer- Economic Empowerment & Livelihoods commended women for embracing change and leading their own development agendas.
“Women are increasingly becoming more confident and organized within their groups and cooperative societies which has attracted various economic opportunities. NAWOU receives various partners seeking access to meet with Luwero women, we have connected women to media spaces for higher visibility and several stories about women in business in Luwero district have been documented. We have observed increased participation of women in existing government economic empowerment programmes,” she mentioned during the meeting.
Nakaye Milika Katende a.k.a “Mama Mango” thanked NAWOU and FIDA Uganda for continuously supporting them before and during the pandemic. She also expressed gratitude for the trainings on Income generating activities like mushroom growing, soap making, VSLAs and leadership.
The handover was graced by NAWOU Central Region Board Member; Irene Nanyunja Sephania, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Nagadya Faridha, Chairperson LCV; Kibirango Erasto, Deputy DSO, George Otingowinyu representing District Residential Office (RDC), District Community Development Officer (DCDO) Florence Katasi, District Communication Officer (Beth Asaba), Jimiah Musa Senkanja (District Chairperson Women’s Council), District Commercial Officer (Moses Kayimbye), District Gender Officer (Joseph Muwonge) and six (6) Community Development Officers (CDOs- Nyimbwa, Bombo, Kikyusa, Katikamu, Wobulenzi and Luwero Town Council)
Uganda just like any other country globally was equally affected by the pandemic that has spread across the entire country and the measures passed by government to curb its spread largely affected small and growing businesses; were majority of the women belong.