Women's Global Empowerment Fund

The mission of Women's Global Empowerment Fund is to reach poor and underserved women in northern Uganda thru microfinance loans and educational programs, creating opportunities while strengthening families and communities. Our strategy is to provide women with the framesork necessary to create viable opportunities for themselves and their families. Our goal is poverty reduction, human security enhancement & women's empowerment.
Jun 23, 2014

Breaking the Taboo in 2014

Kikopo Pa Mon 2013
Kikopo Pa Mon 2013

Kikopo Pa Mon or Creating a Voice for Women, has become a vital, and meaningful annual event where the entire community/region participates over two days. It receives national media attention and highlights the challenges citizens of the northern region face as they recover and rebuild their lives. This event promotes and elevates the voices of women and families, shifting the conversation, changing the dynamic and creating a new way forward.

Funds received from GlobalGiving donors will be used to ensure we are able to host the community dinner, feeding over 150 people, providing a panel discussion promoting unity and dialogue. During the evening we will recognize the courage and effort of two women who have worked tirelessly in their community, awarding them the Women 4 Peace awards. The following day, after months of preparation, women will present dramas, songs and dances to the community around the chosen theme; hundreds of community members, elected and tribal officials will attend, providing women a unique opportunity to make their voices heard.

This years event will focus on women's health, highlighting our new initiative focused on menstrual health, The Healthy Periods Initiative. Here is a brief description of our new endeavor:

To address the issue of menstrual health, and the challenges women face with regards to access, hygiene and stigma, Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF) is launching the Healthy Periods Initiative – improving health, creating livelihoods.

The goal of this initiative is to provide information, access and opportunities with regards to menstrual health. In addition, WGEF is offering social enterprise opportunities, creating a viable business producing the sanitary pad product. Thru the purchase of a manufacturing unit WGEF will drive economic and socio-cultural changes thru enterprise and education. The first step in this relevant, exciting endeavor will be to launch a pilot project; including workshops, business planning, production, education and assessment. We envision the pilot project to last 6 months.

Statement of Need: Just imagine attending school without toilets or drinking water. Imagine attending a school with a single latrine for all the students, or that the latrine is smelly, with no toilet paper and the door no longer closes. Just imagine attending one of these schools when you have your period.

What is known as ‘Taboo’ in many parts of the world, menstrual health issues affect 26% of the total population each month for 4.5 days (52% of female population is of reproductive age, menstruating each month). In lower income countries (Global South) and areas where there is a lack to basic human services, sanitation, water, menstruation is significantly more challenging to manage hygienically and with dignity.

Because of inequality, gender taboos, and socio-cultural factors, menstrual health can be overlooked. Several surveys* have shown that girls feel embarrassed or ashamed during and because of menses. And often times, during menstruation women and girls are kept from cooking, sleeping in the house, community participation, and are not able to attend school.

Due to the lack of access and affordability of sanitary products, women and girls often use: cloth, leaves, mattress stuffing, and other ineffective and unsafe materials. These materials are unhygienic, uncomfortable, ineffective and unacceptable. Period.

This years Kikopo Pa Mon festival will focus on women's health, equality and justice. On October 3rd and 4th, 2014, WGEF will host our 7th annual event. The festival provides a stigma-free environment in which to talk about sensitive subject matters; promoted unity and team building; and offered women the opportunity to be creative and innovative and highlights the power of theatre.

By encouraging the idea of traditional music, dance, and drama in the local language, the culture of the area would be preserved, and the relevance of these issues to the community would be elevated. Due to the positive response and overwhelming success of the event, Women’s Global hosts Kikopo Pa Mon annually.

Kikopo Pa Mon enables women to challenge their communities to do better, to advocate for social justice and equality, elevating women's voices. Poverty is not just about not having means, it is about having choices and a say in your life.

We hope are inspired and continue to support this important and transformative project! Thank you!

Kikopo Pa Mon 2013
Kikopo Pa Mon 2013
festival guest
festival guest
drama-2013
drama-2013
elevating women
elevating women's voices - 2012 festival

Links:

Apr 28, 2014

First Quarter 2014

growing mushrooms in Gulu
growing mushrooms in Gulu

“Microcredit must not replace the role of the state in providing basic services and traditional forms of aid, which can further help to alleviate gaps in food security, health and education, but a microcredit loan may be the difference between hunger and the ability to feed one’s self.”  KS

To date WGEF has given out over 4500 loans, and this quarter we gave out 277 new loans to 43 borrowing groups. It is planting season, so many of our loans were for agro projects, which is helping to increase food security at the household and community level.

Our traditional businesses include: tailoring, construction, food service, restuarants, poultry, shops, and many other endeavors. The spirals of this are immeasureable; our clients are hiring employees, their families are experiencing increased food security, more consistent school attendance, and a brighter future.

Our average loan size last quarter was $53.00 usd; while this seems like a small amount, it can be powerful, creating opportunities. Before the loan is disbursed to the borroing group, the participants attend several business trainings, creating a viable business plan, savings plan, and electing leadership.

Recently there was a fire in the Gulu market. Eleven of our clients lost their businesses but thankfully no one was hurt. We are restructuring their loans and have assigned a peer counselor to assist.

Along with loan dibursements, WGEF is offering it's literacy training again, with 104 women participating this year at two levels, twice weekly.

I hope are you inspired, we cannot provide opporutnities without support and funding. Thank you for your commitment to women's empowerment.

agro project
agro project
It
It's a famliy affair

Links:

Apr 23, 2014

Literacy 2014 Begins....

literacy participant
literacy participant

"Microcredit alone, without social development programming, is limited in its ability to alleviate poverty. Poverty is a multifaceted issue and must be addressed within this context. Microfinance is not a panacea but a powerful tool that when bundled with social programming, can give women and their families increased control over their lives". - K Sugar

This is the philosophy of WGEF, and the basis of the Credit Plus model. Since the beginning, 2008, we have offered a literacy training program. To date we have had over 650 participate, and with the new year beginning in February, that number will increase to over 750! While we would like to expand the program, funding continues to be an issue, prohibiting us increasing capacity this year.

This program plays an intergral role for women recovering and rebuilding their lives in a post conflict region. Our clients are formerly abducted persons, child soldiers, sex slaves, and IDP's; they missed out on the opportunity to receive even a basic education and desire to learn. Understanding that literacy will help them in all aspects of their lives, business, personal, enabling women to communicate with their community leaders, people in authority, customers etc.

It also creates a powerful feeling of accomplishment, self esteem, and confidence. Thru this empowering program, we have had several women go on to run for public office, become advocates and leaders in their communities. Our goal is to provide meaninful and relevant programming, enabling women to be a force for rebuilding their lives and communities.

Our literacy program this year has 59 participants at the basic level, and 45 at level two instruction. This is the second year we have been able to offer two levels, and are hoping to include 50 additional women over the next few months. The trainings are twice weekly at several community centers, making it easier for women to attend. We also provide a meal, beverages, and child care for one child on Saturdays.

We hope you are inspired and continue to support this critical program, creating a brighter, more secure future for women and families.

Peace,

karen

group literacy center
group literacy center
classroom
classroom
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