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CLICK AND PROSPER: NAKAWA WOMEN GO DIGITAL FOR PERSONAL AND BUSINESS GROWTH.

The women of Nakawa, Kampala-Uganda lack skills to access and share handy information and are therefore unable to enjoy the benefits of the power of information and other social media.

Digital empowerment is one of the key focus areas as we continue to drive the Nakawa women's development agenda. In my leadership role, I am affiliated to several initiatives such as the Nakawa Blessed SACCO (NBS), the Nakawa Division Women's Council (NDWC) and we have immensely benefited from Information Communication Technology (ICT). For instance the NDWC has in the past competed in several on-line applications for local and international awards and has won several bids, for instance the project titled, "Empowering the Nakawa Division Women's Council Leaders for effective participation in legislation and decision making under a multiparty political dispensation in Uganda'' ,funded by the African Women's Development Fund in 2007. Recently, on 31st July 2014, Uganda launched the Beijing Platform for Action +20, at a function presided over by the First Lady Hon. Janet Museveni. The grassroots women of Nakawa were able to attend and be a part of this high profile function only because of minimal internet intervention, since as their grassroots coordinator, I was able to relay the necessary details and communicate back and forth with the main organizers of the above function. Attending this function was inspirational for the Nakawa women alongside the learning, sharing and networking opportunities offered. In addition to this, individual NDWC and NBS members have reported participating in on-line courses and earning certificates- all enhancing career and business opportunities. I successfully completed two international on-line courses in Family Planning/Reproductive Health and HIV Management in 2011 and these supported my subsequent opportunities/qualifications for consultancy services. Furthermore, my two most recent jobs resulted from internet application. A few other members have also reported earning jobs and assignments on the internet. One Ms Nanyonga, Director of an NGO dealing in producing goods out of waste material, has expanded widely and internationally; including recording award achievements. One of her strong points is web existence; hence computer compliant members of NDWC have recorded huge gains as a result of this technology.

Going forward, NBS will train women, and equip them with the requisite digital skills. The proposed training will in addition introduce women to and or expand their e-business opportunities and influence the careers of girls and women in technology and other areas hence create employment. Training will be offered in both English and Luganda, a local language commonly used for most community meetings. Internet skills provided to the wider, underserved women community, will increase opportunity in running businesses activities that include crafts, petty trade, market vending, fish farming, poultry, mushroom growing; this will result into improved livelihood. Providing computer and internet skills to the women leaders and other women will empower them to mobilize others through providing and sharing social and business information such as prices of goods, sources of goods at competitive rates, hence the underserved will access goods at fair prices or sell at competitive rates, maximize profits, consequently advancing their goals. Women will be empowered to advertise products and services, get their businesses known at the click of a button. Nakawa Blessed SACCO, a women led cooperatives initiative will in addition provide women user friendly and accessible internet services at fair and reasonable price. NBS will partner with NDWC and other organizations that will utilise this service. Aside from bringing the service within reasonable physical access to the local community, NBS will offer special rate loans for modems, phones and computers as an additional loan product for members who need this service to enhance individual access to the internet. Above developments will counteract the low level of computer literacy among women and NBS as noted also by the Kenya’s Minister for Cooperative Development and Marketing who lamented the inconsistent level of ICT adoption in relation to the fast growth of the Savings, Credit and Cooperative Organization SACCO movement and the serious challenge this posed to the movement. (Henry M.Bwisa, October 2010).

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

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Tam's picture

Such Good News

Dear Miria,

You have outlined so well the connection between digital empowerment for women, and economic development. The information you have shared here is inspirational to repeat everywhere. It is so encouraging to learn of the different Women's Groups that have been forming and taking action in Uganda to address the needs of underserved women. That there is such a strong grassroots movement of women now able to be heard, is a huge leap forward. The photos make it all the more real. Your descriptions of making inroads into the vast areas of online training, work being done on health, and creation of jobs using recycled goods, shows breathtaking depth to what you and sisters there have been busy creating. It is empowering to know that you are there.

With Love in Sisterhood,

Tamarack

Bheki's picture

It's happening in Uganda!

Dear Miria--

thank you so much for sharing about what is going on in Uganda. I love hearing about the use of the internet for entrepreneurial development among women. I recently came back from 5 years working in rural South Africa. There are many talented craftswomen there, as well as women raising beautiful vegetable gardens. The biggest challenge for them always is finding a market. It sounds like you all are several steps ahead of them in terms of the workshops you are offering.

It is inspiring to read about your journey as well. You are an amazing leader and beautiful example to other women of what can be accomplished through dedication and hard work.

Thank you for all you are contributing to the world. I have a little star on my world map in Uganda that has the name Miria on it!

Bheki

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