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 7, 2016

Rebuilding families and communities...

The Healthy Periods Initiative group photo
The Healthy Periods Initiative group photo

Greetings, 

In 2016 our goal is to build capacity in our microfinance and literacy programs. As the region continues to recover and build we are moving forward with the opening of Gulu Women's Resource Center (GWRC), a one stop center providing support, information and referral services to women, families and the region. This center will house our Access to Justice team, Citizen Journalists, and our Peer Counselors. GWRC will provide the community with public space, enabling community members to gather, discuss and find solutions to challenges and inequalities. 

Our Healthy Periods Initiative (HPI) seeks to address the challenges and injustice around mentrual health. We have created a microfinance and health initiative around the creation of a sanitary product which will be affordable, accessible, and relevant for women and girls. Our pilot project is underway (see photos) with the goal of being fully operational by mid-summer. Our pilot project group is made up of young mother; 16-18 women in need of economic opportunity and support. This project has incredible social and economic implications, and is one of our most important new projects. 

This year WGEF will provide over 400 women the opportunity to participate in our literacy program. To date we have had over 1150 women go thru our program and we seeking to double our offering this year. Literacy and basic education is a human right, this is not 'charity' but a life changing program that addresses the right of all people to an education. 

First quarter of 2016 saw WGEF provide 812 new loans, including 317 agro loans; these loans enable women and families to lead dignified, productive and creative lives. Our robust agriculture program is addressing food insecurity in a meaningful and highly impactul way. 

While microfinance is the cornerstone of our program, we believe it is only one component in addressing the complexities of poverty and injustice. In the latest national elections WGEF had 10 clients contesting for elected offie with 5 of them winning! What makes our program unique is our focus on literacy, leadership development, and a 'rights based' approach to development. We hope you are inspired and continue to support WGEF! 

Thank you for your commitment to women's empowerment...

Karen

In the HPI lab, May 2016
In the HPI lab, May 2016
The new home of GWRC
The new home of GWRC
WGEF client at her business
WGEF client at her business
"I was blind, but now I can see" literacy impact
"I was blind, but now I can see" literacy impact
10 WGEF clients ran for elected office in 2016!
10 WGEF clients ran for elected office in 2016!

Links:

Feb 18, 2016

Lofty Goals...

Sharing
Sharing

Greetings! 

In October of 2016, I had the privlige of visiting with a large group of our clients. About 40 women come together for a community meeting a a village just outside Gulu. While the distance was challenging the roads were, and what should have taken 20 minutes or so, took an hour to get into this village. 

When we arrived the women were rehearing for the presentation in the upcoming drama festival, held every year in Gulu. We host this annual festival to enable women a stigma free environment to challenge their community to listen and recognize the role and issues facing women and families. It is also an important cultural celebration. 

When everyone was seated, the leader of the group, Vicki, welcomed us. I then had the chance to ask women about their lives, work and how the program has impacted them and their families. Many of the women shared their stories of creating successful businesses, agro projects, enabling them to send their children to school. They also spoke about increasing food security, participation in their communities and increased respect at home. 

Several women mentioned the importnace of the literacy program; suggesting it has improvied their self esteem and capabilities to run their businesses, interact with the public and pariticpate in their communities. 

One women stood up and said, "I used to be blind, but now I can see." Her name was Anek, and she told us she had just learned to write her name. It was a hubling and emotional moment for everyone. I then asked her if she would mind sharing with us; there was a chalkboard nearby. Anek rose, walked to the chalkboard and wrote her name. 

While seemingly simple, it was life changing for her, and many others. This is the power of our literacy program; the Credit Plus program and what is possible for women recovering and rebuilding their lives. Apprciating the small steps as well as the big, understanding that empowerment comes in many ways. 

This year we want to provide 400 women the opporutnity to read and write, and while this is a big undertaking, I believe we can be successful. We hope you are inspired and support our literacy program in 2016. 

Peace, 

Karen

Rehearsal
Rehearsal

Links:

Feb 9, 2016

2015 Overview

WGEF client and candidate for office!
WGEF client and candidate for office!

2015 was an important year for WGEF and the womena and families we served. We were able to provide over 1800 new loans and business training, enabling women to create and build sustainable businesses and livelihoods. Thru sustainable economic development women and their families can access basic human services and education.

We were able to provide 216 women the opportunity to learn to read and write. This basic human right, creates empowerment and self confidence. Women report this program is critical and meaningful, allowing them to live with dignity. 

We empowerment women thru our leadership development initiatives; fully funding our Access to Justice Initiative and supporting women to become community leaders and candidates for office. WGEF is proud that 10 women are running for elected local and regional office across northern Uganda. Ugandan elections will be on Feb. 16th, 2016. 

While we have given our 6000 loans to date, we still believe that change is created one woman at a time...every donation from Global Giving helps us provide not only an average loan of $48 but includes literacy and leadership development training. We believe that women are natural leaders and must have a seat at the policy table. 

In 2016, we are moving forward with our Healthy Period Initiative (see www.wgefund.org for more info); provide larger loans for groups with bigger dreams and business ideas. We are going to work to open a regional resource center for women in Gulu, Uganda, ensuring women can easily access the critical information needed to live with dignity and equality. 

We hope you are inspired and want to be a part of our revolution...

Peace, 

Karen

Business training
Business training
agriculture project
agriculture project
New literacy student
New literacy student

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