Empowering women in Karamoja (Uganda)

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1st December 2019 - 31st May 2022

Direct beneficiaries: 513 inhabitants of Napak District (mostly women)

Why this project?

Because in the four targeted villages:

  • 9 women out of 10 are illiterate

  • 6 children out of 10 are malnourished

  • 8 children out of 10 are out of school
     

The objective of the project: Four women community groups in the Napak district (Karamoja) come out of extreme poverty thanks to an empowerment programme.
 

The training programme has four components:

Literacy

The four community groups follow an adult literacy programme to learn writing, reading and simple math calculations. The beneficiary women will use the acquired skills to educate their own children and to sell their products on the local market.


 

Food security

The beneficiaries will attend a basic agricultural training programme, including modern techniques. Each location will have a community field to practice the teachings and to produce staple food (maize and sorghum). An agricultural advisor will help the groups in the community plots, where the harvest will be shared among the beneficiaries.

The surplus will be either exchanged with the other groups or sold in the local market (to purchase different food and hence diversify their diet, or to make a profit and reinvest in the next seeding).

One of the community fields will be equipped with an irrigation system, a water tank, a greenhouse and a protective fence. On this field, we will grow different varieties of vegetables to enrich the beneficiaries’ diet.


 

The four community groups will become members of local agricultural cooperatives to benefit from:

1) an access to community storage locations;

2) renting machinery (tractors, etc.) at reduced prices;

3) selling their products at better prices;

4) protection from fraudulent acts.


 

Community saving and credit schemes

This training aims at creating VSLAs (Village Savings and Loan Association). It has two components:

  1. Managing a VSLA

  2. Managing a business plan

The theoretical programme is supported by a practical follow-up:

1) creation of VSLAs;

2) individual follow-up of the borrowers in designing and executing their business plan.

Every group has maximum 30 members. Every member participates in the capital with small regular contributions. The project will contribute with 120€ per fund per year.


 

Mentoring programme

Often, the women of these villages experience violence mainly within their families. Their rights are often violated because of extreme poverty, social exclusion and violence. Yet, women are their families’ pillars.

Hence, this programme aims at creating support groups facilitated by female mentors. The objective is training the women, making them aware of their rights and supporting them in dealing with their family issues.

Thanks to a safe and confidential environment, the participants are able to openly discuss and share their problems. Solutions are sought as a group through reciprocal assistance.

The participants learn to work as a team: every group has internal roles such as team leader, secretary, task manager, etc.

Through the training and the workshops, the rights of the women will be protected, and their social reputation will be uplifted.

This project contributes to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2 and 4:

Goal 2: Zero Hunger
"End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture"

2.1 By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.

2.2 By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.

2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.


Goal 4 : Quality Education
"Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development."

4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship

4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy

This project is supported by: MAEE, Fondation NIF, Fundsquare, Commune de BeckerichZonta Club Luxembourg.

Final Results

Objective: Four women community groups in Napak District are empowered and come out of extreme poverty

Indicator: By the end of the project 300 families have a sustainable livelihood

Result: 426 families achieved food security (Final external evaluation)

Output 1: The illiteracy rate among the beneficiaries is drastically reduced

Indicator: By the end of the project, at least 300 beneficiaries are able to read simple texts, write short messages and do simple math calculations

Result: 282 women are now literate (the Covid pandemic and local violence caused prolonged interruptions of courses)

Output 2: The malnutrition of the beneficiaries’ families is drastically reduced

Indicator: The targeted beneficiaries having only one meal per day is reduced by at least 50%

Result: 477 families (93% of participating women) can now afford at least two meals a day (only 12% at the beginning of the project); 91.5% of their children are now well nourished (against 40% at the beginning of the project)

"We have learnt and gained skills in Agriculture, especially in growing vegetables and other crops, and as a group this has provided us with extra income and food for our families, we and our children are now very healthy because of eating our own locally cultivated foods." 

(a woman from Kangole village)

Output 3: Efficient and effective community savings schemes are up and running among the target groups

Indicator:  At least 300 beneficiaries have access to community revolving financing, with sufficient skills to manage savings’ funds as community groups, and sufficient skills to manage simple business plans as individual borrowers.

Results: 496 beneficiaries actively participate in legally registered Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA). All the 17 women groups have received VSLA training.

"VSLA groups have provided our families with an opportunity of saving and borrowing the money whenever need be, we use this money for purchasing food, paying schools fees, accessing medical services and clothing’s for us."

(Beneficiary, Kalokengel Village)

 

Output 4: The beneficiaries have acquired the necessary skills to deal with family issues

Indicator: At least 50% of the beneficiaries declare that they feel stronger in dealing with family issues.

Results: All beneficiaries expressed great improvement in dealing with family issues (conflict mgmt, sharing of responsibilities, self-esteem and dignity)

"I have now witnessed many women being capable of showing mutual respect for each other, and we are resolving problems affecting us most times through dialogue. Importantly, we now want to advocate and champion the course of all other fellow women because of the strength, will and the capacity we have received from this initiative."
(Beneficiary in Kautakou village)

"The group dynamics approach has empowered women to work together […] to discuss with their men freely without feeling inferior and contributing to decision making in the family." 
(Evaluation Report)

"Last but not least, the project has facilitated the registration of the four villages’ Women Empowerment Groups as cooperatives at the Napak District. This way, their community groups are officially recognized in case of any support provided by the government to local cooperatives." (Project Team in Luxembourg)