We live in a chaotic, tumultuous world, and during theholidays it may seem even more so. One thing is constant: the desire forsecurity, peace and justice. These are lofty ideals, many times clouded byviolence, politics and greed, but at the end of the day they are worth fightingfor and that is our goal. To work for social justice, sustainable humandevelopment, increased food security and women’s empowerment.
Food security and the rising prices of food staples are,and should be, main concerns for WGEF, NGO’s and all who believe in economicjustice. The past few years, global food prices have eclipsed previous global highs andcontinue to climb. This is a multifaceted issue, which requires a completetransformation of global agriculture policy. Access to healthy food sources isa human right, not a luxury. For the planet’s poorest 2 billion people, risingfood prices means going from two meals a day to one or none. This createsextreme poverty, human insecurity and violence.
WGEF is addressing this critical issue by focusing on our agriculture program, providing loans andtools for women farmers and farm workers. Our focus for 2013 is leadershipdevelopment and food security: growing our agriculture program, supporting thenew Gulu Women’s Agriculture Union, and promoting and training women to becomeleaders and advocates in their community.
As we move forward into our 4th year and beyond, our program continuesto be transformative, provocative and relevant. We hope you are inspired andcontinue to support WGEF and the women we serve in northern Uganda. Pleasecontact me with questions or conversation, 303.520.7656.
Peace to you and your family this holiday season!
Karen Sugar, Founder and Director
WGEF’s2011 Wish List!
During this holiday season, you can support WGEF bydonating the following much-needed items:
1) Help us fund the Access to Justice Initiative, providing critical information on human and legal rights; including addressing gender bias and inequalities, breakages in the justice chain, solutions and resources. (See GG project)
2) Tractor- $2500 to be used collectively by WGEF farmers and union members – owned andoperated by GWAU (Gulu Women’s Agricultural Union). (See GG project)
3) LiteracyProgram - $10,000 – increase our capacity to 200 women, enabling 100 additionalto join this program! (see GG project)
Globally, food costs have risen to their highest since 1990. This leads to unrest, hunger and insecurity. Many things contribute to volatility in food prices, including: climate change creating insufficient harvest, damage and destruction, desertification of land, population pressures, agro business, farm subsidies, agro imperialism, and the list goes on. One way WGEF is addressing the issue in northern Uganda is our focus on agriculture. We support and promote creating small/medium scale women farmers; this ensures that women can not only feed themselves but their communities. The only way to increase food security in northern Uganda is enabling the region to grow/harvest their own food.
Help us create food security, giving women the opportunity to create a brighter future. We gave out over 127 agro loans in 2010 and have 40 clients waiting for disbursements. This program is critical to the health and well being of our clients, their families and the region. Our first harvest cycle in November was very successful, help us continue this vital program in 2011, addressing the inequity of women farmers and providing the tools for sustainable human development.
Having just arrived home from Gulu, I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on what is happening in northern Uganda. But first I want to share a story with you. Grace has been in our program for a little over a year. I took a walk with Grace, because she has been doing so well in the program we wanted to highlight her in a news story. Grace shared with me that she had been abducted and was in the bush for over 8 years where she was repeatedly raped. She has three children. When she escaped two years ago, she returned only to be abandoned by her family and ostracized by her tribe. This is not uncommon for women who have been sexually assaulted, they not only carry the physical and emotional scars of their experience, but are then shunned and turned away from their family. Grace was invited to join an existing group, which provided her the necessary support and safety. Today, she is on her 4th loan cycle, her business as a fruit and produce vendor provides her the opportunity to send her children to school, experience increased economic activity, and food security. I found Grace to be a strong advocate for our program and a very courageous woman. I looked at photos of Grace when she first joined the program, and her photos exposed a sad, scared woman. Our Program Director told me that she had trouble looking you in the eye. To speak with Grace today, you come away inspired and in awe of how well she is doing. Watching her answering the journalist question with a quiet dignity and confidence, reminded me once again of why we are doing this and how critical this program is to the women in northern Uganda. The following are highlights of what I found: * After touring several agro projects, I was impressed by several things: one, the cooperative way that the women work the land together; two, the size and scope of the projects; three, several of our clients also received cows from Heifer International, and have created a diverse business opportunities for themselves, and four the sophisticated knowledge of best practices regarding the land, seeds, soil and crop diversity. * Margaret created a preschool with her loan two years ago; she now has 140 students and has hired 5 teachers. This is a testimony to the spirals of economic empowerment our Credit Plus program are creating. * Many local political and tribal leaders attended the Kiko Po Mon, Creating a Voice for Women, event on Saturday October 2nd. Several of them gave speeches, praising the program and suggesting that the impacts are far and above more positive for the community than other big, entrenched NGO's. One woman leader gave each participating group a cash prize for their effort. This was a very important for the community, our clients, WGEF and staff. Our program is critical to the women of northern Uganda and the overall recovery of the region. Please continue to support social and economic justice for women and families in post conflict northern Uganda!
Women comprise the majority of Africa’s farmers; women provide up to 90% of rural poor’s food and produce up to 80% of food in most developing countries. (UN 2010) Understanding that for northern Uganda to have a successful recovery and lasting peace, it must grow and feed itself.
In response, Women’s Global has made 41 agricultural loans so far this year! Six groups, totaling 41 women, have begun planting green vegetables, cassava, peanuts (called ground nuts), and beans. Due to the time to grow a product to sell, the loans are set up slightly differently, with a longer loan period and all interest payments made up front. The first season is expected to yield a bountiful harvest thanks to favorable weather conditions!
As relief agencies move out, and feeding programs reduce their distributions, there are shortages. The key to sustainable development and increased food security is to support and encourage agriculture production. Our agriculture program is focused on creating small to medium scale agro projects through our loan program women are given a microcredit agro loan, support, and training.
Thanks to those donors who believe in the critical need for food security and women's empowerment!
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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