Helping Ugandan women to get there
For the sake of this country and its development, women should, and must assume bigger political, social and economic responsibilities. They are more than ready to do so, thanks to the many affirmative-action policies of the NRM Government which have done a lot to raise women to the same level as men.
Through the NGOs I have founded in the last two decades, specifically UWESO (Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans) and NSARWU (National Strategy for the Advancement of Rural Women in Uganda), women have been trained and sensitized and economically empowered to take on these responsibilities. These NGOs, in the main, work with rural women, who tend to be deprived of educational opportunities. After an intensive training package which is part of a microfinance scheme, the women’s perspective begins to expand; they find they are not as limited as they imagined themselves to be, and many of them end up in positions of responsibility especially through the Local Council system. The more women participate in decision-making national fora, the more they themselves will expedite the advancement of women, and this is happening especially in the political and educational arenas.
Secondly, by training women in child care and maternal health, the NGOs in the Office of the First Lady have done much to reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality in the rural areas, and raised the quality of life in rural households. The survival and well-being of women and children are important pre-requisites for the journey towards development.
Challenge facing the Office of the First Lady
The greatest challenge faced by this Office is that it is not an office traditionally recognized as part of the Government structures; rather, it is a voluntary initiative on the part of the incumbent. The work done by the First Lady’s Office is mainly funded and facilitated through fund-raising efforts independent of Government, which is mainly done by the NGOs under that office. There is always a constant effort to raise money to carry on the work.
Promoting girl-child Education
Through the programs carried out by her NGOs which are geared at training women and raising the standard of living in rural households, the households are more empowered and more able to send their children to school, including the girls.
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