Microfinance & Empowerment Programs In Gulu

by Women's Global Empowerment Fund
Vetted
Gulu Women
Gulu Women's Resource Centre

Fall is a busy, meaningful and productive time for WGEF and our clients. The farmers have harvested their fields and are selling their products nationwide and into S. Sudan. We have several women who have created a distribution business enabling our farmers to sell and distribute food focused on economy, fair trade and efficacy.  

In October, WGEF openend Gulu Women's Resource Centre: 

To address the issues of stubborn poverty and the challenges women face regarding access to and information on: health, justice & human rights, gender based violence, economic empowerment, education and activism, Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF) is launching the Gulu Women’s Resource Center (GWRC). GWRC is a one-stop center that will provide essential support, information and education to women and girls in northern Uganda.

The goal of this initiative is to create a community space providing women current and critical information, community meeting space, and computer and life skill trainings. It is through information and education that self esteem and empowerment is facilitated, enabling women to stand up and lead themselves out of the vicious cycle of poverty that is often presented before them.

Please see the photos of the opening celebration!

Also, in October, we hosted our 9th annual drama festival, Amplifying Women's Voices. The topic this year was 'Reproductive Health Care Is Our Right'! This topic is chosen by our client leaders every year, and as usual the topic is an important issue and challenge for women and girls in northern Uganda. The Festival is an all day celebration, featuring dramas, plays, monologues, songs and dances, celebrating the local Acholi culture while addressing sensitive and relevant issues. 

We had an outstanding turnout, with hundreds of community members and elected officials in attendance. This years presentations were really brilliant with new set design, costumes, and substantative and meaningful dialogue. We included school girls who held a debate on menstrual health. 

Our Healthy Periods Initiative (HPI), is now fully operational, after extensive testing, assessment, government approval, we are now up and running! This project is critical to the health and well being of all women and girls. Girls miss an average of 70 days per year because of lack of adequate resources; schools often don't have proper sanitiation or running water and because of poverty, women are forced to use rags, mattress stuffing, newspapers, etc, creating the increased possibility of infections and other health related issues. Please see our website for more information on this transformational and amazing program. 

To date we have given over 2500 loans, enabling women to start a business or build capacity in their exisitng endeavors. Our average loan size is $87, with about 1/3 of loans being used for agriculture projects. The business and ag projects are becoming larger and more sophisticated as the region fully recovers and women have access to capital, and other important social programs. This year we were able to provide 411 women with literacy opprtunities. 

We hope you are inspired and continue to support our programs! Thank you for your commitment to women's empowerment! 

Peace, 

Karen

Opening Celebration!
Opening Celebration!
Preparing a large shipment of food for S. Sudan
Preparing a large shipment of food for S. Sudan
the HPI lab - inspiration
the HPI lab - inspiration
Product production and participants - Lucky Girls
Product production and participants - Lucky Girls
Drama Festival Photo
Drama Festival Photo

Links:

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:

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

Attachments:
A literacy participant shares...
A literacy participant shares...

Women are on the move in Gulu. This has been an inspiring 3 quarters, with over 1000+ loans given thru October of this year & 216 literacy participants. While in Gulu I was able to visit many clients on their farms, at their businesses and in the new market, which opening while I was in Gulu in early October.

We have a group of women in Acet who are operating a dairy; Josephine has a tilapia farm, others are growing rice, cassava, beans, and raising livestock. I was delighted to see the scope and sustainability of these projects, which are not only addressing food and economic security at the household level, but at the community and regional level as well.

In addition to the economic activity, I was inspired by other critical aspects of our program.  The Access to Justice Team is creating a viable and meaningful operation. Since our training last fall, they have implemented a 24/7 hotline for women experiencing a breakage in the justice chain; created a referral system for accessing legal aid, medical and other vital services.  They spoke to me of cases they have been involved with, including cases concerning children and sexual violence.  See the attached photo of the AJ office (featured are Chairperson Prisca and Secretary Sylvia).  WGEF will continue to provide office space and support in 2016.

WGEF is proud to report that 7 of our clients are running for political office in February 2016. As a direct result of our Leadership Development Initiative and the courage and resiliency of our clients, women are leading in their communities and contesting for a ‘seat at the table’.  The offices range from local council to regional council offices. WGEF continues our LDI with a training in Citizen Journalism in October 2016. We believe that women are natural leaders and agents of change for peace, justice and equality.

This year our 8th annual drama festival, Creating a Voice for Women, focused on Women and Gender Equity in Civic Participation. This topic, chosen by our clients and leadership, reflects the desire of women to rebuild their communities and lead their nation.  See attached photos and video clips, enjoy!

Our hope is that you’re inspired by our clients, program and what is possible. We know that we cannot do this work without you, so thank you for your support and encouragement.

Peace,

Karen and Bukenya 

community meeting with WGEF and clients...
community meeting with WGEF and clients...
first day in the new Gulu market..
first day in the new Gulu market..
lunch at the dairy...
lunch at the dairy...
Josephine
Josephine's tilapia farm project...
Singing group at the 8th annual drama festival...
Singing group at the 8th annual drama festival...
Training
Training

Greetings!

Each new season brings a renewed sense of hope and possibilities. In 2015, Women's Global clients are seizing every opportunity to rebuild and recover their lives. Women are busy planting, whether it is in the family or community gardens or agro projects providing a diversity of food, economic activity, and addressing food insecurity within the region.

A new market recently opened in Gulu, with better infrastructure and security, enabling businesses to grow and thrive. The new facility brings an increased cost of doing business; our staff have been busy providing trainings and support to women entering this new market, making sure they have the tools necessary to meet the costs and expand opportunities.

We are proud to share that through the first quarter of 2015, we have given outover 230 new loans to 23 borrowing groups. Your support helps us to provide more loans to the women in our program! 

 

This year 216 women will participate in our literacy program. We have two centers to serve our clients, with classes being held twice weekly, including lunch, child care and materials. Once again we are able to offer two levels, providing a more comprehensive opportunity! 

In addition, we have 7 women contesting for regional poltical office in February 2016 and our leadership development initiative this year is Citizen Journalism and Engagement. On October 2 & 3, we will be hosting our 8th annual Creating a Voice for Women Drama Festival and Community Events. Stay tuned for details and information. 

 

We hope you continue to be inspired by our work and accomplishments; we have new initiatives beginning this year and look forward to catching up with you again soon.


Thank you for your support and commitment to women’s empowerment!

Literacy participant
Literacy participant
Training
Training

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Women's Global Empowerment Fund

Location: denver, colorado - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.wgefund.org
Project Leader:
Karen Sugar
Founder and Director
Denver, Colorado United States
$7,020 raised of $15,000 goal
 
126 donations
$7,980 to go
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