“I feel more at peace. Before I joined [WGEF] my life was not easy, now, I feel more comfortable and have peace in my heart.” –Hellen O.
Greetings!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 increasing our loan program and 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
While the cornerstone of our program is economic activity thru microfinance, WGEF has focused on key social capital programs in order to ensure success of the program supported by GG funding. The first objective entails enabling women and their households in post conflict Gulu District to engage economic edeavors and productive small-medium scaled sustainable agriculture. WGEF has given out over 277 agricultural loans women our first quarter and 127 so far in the second.
The second objective is to improve food security and nutrition for women, children, and their households in the Gulu District through the production of high yielding crops, as well as access to nutritious food. Thru recent survey data, WGEF’s economic and agro data suggests there have been significant increases in food security at the household and community level, as well as more diversity and nutrition in participants diets
The third objective is to increase income through trainings and support. WGEF's trainings in business skills has informed and empowered over 250 clients in the villages that have taken part in the program. These women have become well-equipped through their training to maximize their businesses, thereby securing their food quality, increasing their income, and empowering themselves to become sustainable business entrepreneurs. In addition, all loans are on track and participants having successful harvests, with zero projects at risk.
The final objective of the agricultural project is to provide opportunities, tools and support to empower women and elevate women's voices. Thru our literacy, leadership development and health initiatives, women are becoming advocates and leaders in their households, and communities. We believe that women are natural leaders and must have a voice in policy development and a place at the 'table'.
Based on your answer above, how would you describe the project’s measurable impact so far on the people you serve?
The skills and knowledge that women receive from our program are invaluable toward sustainable human development. They express hope and enthusiasm through testimonials (see below) of their growth into becoming self-sustaining business entrepreneurs, empowered leaders, and policy makers. In a post-conflict area, these women have stated that they are able to feel secure, strong, and active in their community's recovery from conflict. Clients are able to be a beacon of hope as well as a source of encouragement by providing for their community and families with food, financial security, and positive decision making.
"My name is Betty Ocan a widow and chairperson (Pie-Tek Women Group), I joined the Women, s Global Empowerment Fund in 2008 as a client to receive loans it was my first time and I was just been inspired by my neigbour who was getting the services too. I used to stay and sell tomatoes at home and have to suffer with my stress and all the problems in silence, I had no one to share with, and hardly solved problems that I had. Since I joined the WGEF my life changed, since I have my own group members whom we can sit and share with any issues partaining our lives, infct what I used to think they were impossible, they are! With the help of other group members (women).
I thank God for this program that provided me with the opportunity of being a peer counselor Imargin Im a leader who is recognised in the community not only by the women undergoing into the program but even other women in the community, now my home is ever full with visiters (women) who come to share and seek advise from me (who did not attend school) and now I fill I must contest in the upcoming elections to become a political woman, why not? There I will struggle to extend my services and make women more aware of their potantials."
“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.
WGEF's Credit Plus program in Gulu, northern Uganda is successfully creating economic activity and social capital opportunities for women and families! This year we have given hundreds of traditional and agriculture loans providing women a way to rebuild and recover their lives. Our program is unique among interventions; we offer our clients literacy, leadership development, and health initiatives, at no cost enabling them to fully participate in their communities, building self esteem and confidence. Below are client quotes from our 2013 survey:
While in the program life was much easier because my children had enough food, my capital was bigger and I did not have to ask other relatives to support me
WGEF's loan is much more better compare to others; WGEF also does not give loan but important educational programs and through these, her life has changed.
I have learned how to do business (keeping records) how to stay with people, save money and I was able to build some courage to making good decision in my family.
The loan and the training I got from the office has really helped me to increase in my business and able to decide for myself when problems arise.
Other than improving my economic status, through the literacy program I learnt how to read and write, the event also made me discover my talents in drama and the other performances which made me very happy and in the end my health was also improved.
Our program is critical in this post conflict region and even more so now, due to the crisis in S. Sudan; northern Uganda is receiving many refugees, creating more need and pressure on services. Increasing economic activity and our loan portfolio is more important than ever, and we appreciate your support and encouragement!
Our average loan size is $55; we continue to have a 100% repayment rate, and our farmers a doing outstanding work at increasing food security at the household and community level. We hope you are inspired by our clients and what is possible....
Peace and love in the New Year!
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