February 28, 2013
My name is Noah Ssempijja, I am the co-founder of Youth Initiative for Community Empowerment (YICE) in Uganda, and the Program Director. I have worked as a Community Facilitator for four years, with Child Fund International as a GBV facilitator, Grameen Foundation as a CKW Lead Facilitator and The Uganda Counselling Center as an HIv/AIDs Counselor trainer. For all these years, my focus has always been looking at how vulnerable women are oppressed in our comminties and what could be done to reduce this marginalization.
While with Grameen, I got chance to travel to more than 50 districts in Uganda, working with in rural communities and interacting with vulnerable women. One thing that I identified has largely contributed to vulnerability of these women, was limited access to knowledge and start up capital to run their small income generating enterprises. For example, I interacted with so many women that had started small retail shops, but because they lacked information on how to manage these small enterprises, had no records for their enterprises, did not have customer care skills, would spend their capital on things they would otherwise not need; all there retail shops could not raise enough income for self sustenance. And as a result, they depended on their husbands income, remained in absolute poverty, helpless, all of which rendered them vulnerable and marginalized in their communities. This is also the case with youths especially young girls that have just dropped out of schools.
This motivated me to start YICE, with a mission of Empowering Vulnerable women and youths with practical knowledge and skills for self reliance. YICE achieves this through interactive trainings in farming as a business, small retail enterprises management, and small women focus group discussions, in addition to providing start-up capital to women that have developed clear small enterprise plans.
I am personally happy to join World Pulse, and I believe I will learn a lot from this community of women activists and supporters.