Spring has arrived, and so has WGEF’s literacy program in Gulu! This year we are able to provide 216 women with literacy training. This is increase in participation is due in part to our wonderful donors on Global Giving!
We have two training centers (see photos) with women attending classes twice weekly, including lunch and childcare for one child. The program last for 8 months culminating with a debate by students on the critical need and rights of educating girls and women.
Often times in many parts of the world women are not able to access education, skills, and basic human services. While this varies from place to place, village to village and country to country, it is due to inequality and poverty. WGEF is committed to addressing inequality and offer women the tools and training necessary to live dignified lives.
Women take their literacy and communication skills back to their homes, helping children with studies; into their businesses and communities. Becoming more confident and often times leaders and advocates in their villages and districts.
The women we serve were displaced by conflict and violence; many are child soldiers, sex slaves, and all suffered unimaginable violence and poverty. The conflict, over 25 years, left the region struggling and insecure with little to no access to basic human services or education for women who missed out on the opportunity to study. Our literacy program was the first program implemented after microfinance; women told us it was the most important thing to them. They desired the opportunity to learn and understand, to communicate and be an example to their children.
We hope you are inspired and continue to support WGEF’s literacy program; we can’t do it without you.
"Just give people a way to walk so that eventually they can run, and then you'll see them dance. Some of them will even fly." -Rita Bright
We live in a chaotic, tumultuous world, and during the holidays it may seem even more so. One thing is constant: the desire for security, peace and justice. These are lofty ideals, many times clouded by violence, politics and greed, but at the end of the day they are worth fighting for and that is our goal. To work for social justice, sustainable human development, increased food security and women’s empowerment.
Access to clean water and healthy food sources is a human right, not a luxury. For the planet’s poorest 2 billion people, rising food prices means going from two meals a day to one or none. This creates extreme poverty, human insecurity and violence.
WGEF is addressing this critical issue by focusing on our traditional and agriculture loan program, providing loans and tools for women to create a business or agro project. Our focus for 2015 is leadership development heading into the 2016 national elections. We have many women interested in runnning for regional and national officess. Our aim is promoting and training women to become leaders and advocates in their community and a strong voice in policy development.
Attached is our 2014 survey, highlighting our program achievements and words from our clients. As we move forward into our 8th year and beyond, our program continues to be transformative, provocative and relevant. We hope you are inspired and continue to support WGEF and the women we serve in northern Uganda.
Wishing you peace this holiday season!
Women's Global Empowerment Fund
This year WGEF has provided over 100 women with the opportunity to learn basic reading and writing skills. One of unseen benefits of this program is the difference it makes in the lives of the participants and their families. When I had the opportunity to sit in on a class, I was inspired by the sisterhood, joy, and environment of learning and empowerment. This is not merely a 'class' but a life changing endeavor where women are encouraged, supported, and celebrated!
Poverty is the result of inequality in multiple spheres; WGEF is committed to providing clients the tools to address these inequalities and advocate for themselves, families and communities. One of cornerstones of this commitment is offering women the chance to learn basic reading and writing skills.
Our clients lives are challenging, everyday women are providing and caring for their families; often times walking long distances to get water, cooking fuel, and medical care. They are running business, participating in their communities, rebuilding their lives after conflict and all day on Saturday they are attending classes with their friends, colleagues and sisters. It is a 'day off' from the normal everyday challenges. They are offered lunch, eat and share together...this is critical as they recover their lives after a long and brutal conflict.
Our program for 2014 ends in early November, and one of culminating events is our drama festival where literacy students participate and can speak to the public. This is a life changing event, empowerment women to speak out, using the confidence they have obtained by the literacy program.
We cannot provide these opportunities without your support, and on behalf of the 104 women we served this year, thank you! Please continue to support WGEF and all of programs; together we can help women address inequality and acheive a brighter future.
"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.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The first time I sat in on our literacy program in 2008, the women were singing and chanting Mandela's name. At that time I was still learning about Africa, it's history and political landscape, the culture; what I quickly learned was that Nelson Mandela was an important figure for all of Africa. His courage and commitment to his fellow Africans serves as an inspiration and continued light as to what is possible.
The answers for Africa, and northern Uganda, will come from Africans, engaged and informed citizens. A critical component to the future of the people of northern Uganda is education and community participation. When people have a stake, a voice in their communities, futures, amazing things happen.
While in Uganda in October, I witnessed the desire of women to learn. I sat in on one of our satelite programs in a burned out structure sitting on the floor, with 20 or so women armed with pencils and paper, ready to learn, committed to creating a brighter future. It was inspiring and re-invigorated my commitment to our literacy program.
To ensure we are providing relevant and meaningful opportunities, WGEF will continue our literacy program, committed to ensuring women have an opportunity to learn and develop. This year we served over 140 women with two levels of literacy training for 8 months. We are hoping to include even more participants in 2014, but that is only possible with the ongoing commitment of the Global Giving community.
Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to women's empowerment.
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Founder and Director