In partnership with We Effect, a Swedish NGO that works with cooperative development and gender equality, NAWOU is running a five-year project called Harnessing Women and Youth Potential (HWYP). This is a project which aims to empower Ugandan women and youth through the practice of gender mainstreaming.
The objective of HWYP is to build gender responsiveness within NAWOU and We Effect partner organizations. The goal is to increase the active participation of women and young people in decision-making processes within the organizations and communities involved, but also to empower partner organizations to claim their rights from duty bearers on issues that concerns gender sensitization.
HWYP’s focus is largely on capacity building within gender equality. The initial phase of the project, which is currently on-going, focuses on ‘the basics’ – introducing newly recruited Community Based Action Teams (COMBATs) to key gender concepts and tools for analysing inequality. We facilitate what we call “Training of Trainers”. In this phase, NAWOU holds participatory gender trainings with members of farming and housing cooperatives and district networks under NAWOU. The women and men who have been trained will then be supported to pass on their knowledge about gender to their families, communities and organizations. This way, communities are strengthened from the grass-roots level and get tools and capacities to discuss, analyse and handle gender issues on the premises of their local setting.
One of the most important aspects of the project is that it builds upon participatory approaches. This means that NAWOU works with the training participants to generate knowledge that is already existing within the communities. We strongly believe in empowerment from below by helping communities to help themselves.
HWYP falls under NAWOU’s overarching program “Peace and Security” and is part of realizing our mission of strengthening and promoting women’s participation and representation within democratic governance in Uganda.