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Women Empowerment Program Inspires Hope

56 women recently received seed loans to plant for the season. At harvest, they return a certain percentage of their produce and these seeds are then passed on to another woman/family in the following season. The programs enable families to grow enough food for consumption and sell off the excess for income to support their children in school. Over 200 families and a dozen child headed households are benefiting from URF programs through the crafts, chickens, piggery projects and weekend workshops. The families represent an area of about 33 villages grouped in zones of 3-4 villages each with women leaders and an executive board to oversee the entire program. This promotes leadership development and entrepreneurial skills among the women. We are planning a microfinance training soon to get our women ready to start receiving small loans to start small ventures. A loan of $100 or $200 can enable a woman to start a small business to support her children.

Below is a story of Prossy, one of the women in our empowerment program:

Nakate Prossy, 45, single mother of 7 children:

Nakate Prossy is 45 and an active member of URF’s Women’s Empowerment Program. Born in 1963, Prossy’s father died when she was 2 years old, so her mother and 3 sisters moved to Kallagalla (sp?), where she continues to reside. Kallagalla is a small village in the area, just past Kyetume.

Prossy’s childhood was rough as they didn’t have a lot of money available. As such, she was unable to finish school due to lack of funds. She was married at 17 and had 7 children raging in age from 8 to 23, however 2 have passed away, and has 4 grandchildren. She has been separated from her husband since 1987 and the family’s income is mainly generated from peasant farming and animal keeping, including cows, pigs, and goats. Prossy has been in a women’s leadership role throughout the community for the last 20 years.

Prossy states that the main challenge she faces is that, “I am a low income earner with a lot of financial responsibilities, which include taking care of my nine orphaned nieces and nephews.” Her brother and sister-in-law were killed in an accident a few years ago and school fees are hard to come by.

“URF has really helped me focus on the future,” she says. She also says that the URF Women’s program helps to support women and encourages them to work. She really enjoys how the program inspires the women of the community to better themselves and work together to solve problems and act as a support group for each other.

Some of the suggestions she has for URF regarding the women’s program are to, “encourage and extend the community outreach programs as people are excited to work with the volunteers.” She also suggests that URF continue to organize more informative conferences encompassing the valuable information that needs to be distributed throughout the rural communities. And finally, she suggests that the women get involved in games and other fun activities to build friendship, bonds, and develop teamwork.

Prossy’s dreams include seeing her children graduating and obtaining good jobs when they complete their studies. “I am growing older, but I would love nothing more than to develop a sustainable income in order to generate funds for my children, nieces, and nephews school fees.”