You would be amazed and proud to know that Uganda has the highest percentage of Female Entrepreneurs in the world. 90.5% of Women Borrow and Save Money to start a business here in Uganda!. This is significantly higher than the 52.4% average of other low-to-lower-middle-income countries.Over 13.5 million women in Uganda live in rural areas, of which approximately 5.3 million are of working age. The vast majority of these women sustain their livelihood on farming as per a report by EPRC, 2017. Overall, 64% of non-farm household enterprises in Uganda are in the rural areas (UNPS 2013/14). The challenge that these women face on a day-to-day basis is that, despite their sincere efforts and willingness to initiate income-generating enterprises to diversify their income sources, they lack suitable direction and an enabling environment to achieve their goals. In addition, they are compelled to manage competing domestic priorities and challenges like limited access to finances, limited skills to initiate unique businesses, limited management, knowledge and skills to manage finances further hold them back. All these amazing women need is a helping hand and WDF is committed to support them in their entrepreneurship journeys throughout.
★ One of the goals that we have set for ourselves is to ‘Create access to social and economic opportunities towards empowering Women in our communities of Uganda’. To achieve this goal, WDF has already mobilized and recruited rural women from different villages in Mayuge district. We have further organized some of these women into self-help groups and encouraged them to engage in various socio-economic activities.
★ A major challenge in this, however, is that we are lacking resources to further goals of this initiative.
★ Traditional gender roles of women in Uganda are often considered subordinate to those of men, like all women around the world. Domestic violence and traditional customs have directly contributed to poverty in Uganda, especially in rural areas.
★ Women are compelled to be involved in housekeeping, child upbringing, fetching water, cooking, and attending to community needs as their primary priorities in life. This is especially rampant in places with high rates of poverty, one of which is the Mayuge District of Eastern Uganda.
Women Empowerment Program by WDF is committed to support social engagement and financial independence for women through gender mainstreaming, VSLA-Village Savings & Loans Associations Approach, and skills-development aimed at income generation. We encourage women participation in social and economic activities, by offering a series of trainings in capacity building, financial literacy and boosting self-confidence, among others. These trainings take place in five selected villages in Mayuge district, Eastern region, Uganda. A detailed plan of how we strive towards achieving this is below:
★ Facilitating the introduction of improved skills development and implementation of the targeted beneficial project activities.
★ Building the capacity of the community to provide skills trainings to young mothers & women
★ Community engagements through income generating projects and academic support by networking with partners
● While financial institutions and digital financial service providers continue to increase the reach of formal financial services, offering such services to the rural poor is costly and a great number of them remain unbanked. Without formal financial services such as credit and savings products, it can be difficult for the rural communities to afford major expenses, invest in their farms or businesses, or pay for unexpected events like illnesses or losses in business.
● The introduction of self help groups (Village Savings And Loans Associations) are thought to play a critical role in bringing access to financial services to rural women but also re-uniting the community members to work as one in developing their community.
● These Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) are built on the Rotation of Savings and Credit model in the created groups often led by women and some men who pool their savings to have a source of lending funds.
● Members are always guided on savings contributions to the pool and how they can also borrow from it.