How PENHA economically empowered the women of Rwamuranda
From Bull Fattening alone to a number of Income Generating Activities
PENHA has worked with the pastoral women of the Lake Mburo Resettlement Scheme in Kanyaryeru Sub County since 2002 and has been supporting them through different activities like sensitization on gender issues, capacity building in business skills for economic empowerment and providing productive assets like Boer goats and tailoring equipment. The pastoral people of this area were victims of the Luwero Triangle civil war of 1980-1986 which followed the removal of Idi Amin from power.
One of the women’s groups, Rwamuranda Bakyara Tukore, had as their main activity, bull fattening. The group’s leaders Edith Garebire and Jane Mwesigwa then became involved in several capacity building workshops organized by PENHA. These included the Business Skills Training Workshops organized under the three year DANIDA funded Women Economic Empowerment Programme (WEEP). After each workshop, the group leaders, with support and in collaboration with sub county leaders, would organize meetings to disseminate the lessons learnt from the trainings. Between 2008 to 2011 the group was also supported with productive assets in the form of cross bred Boer goats from PENHA’s Nkoma demonstration farm;. The Nkoma farm itself has been mainly supported over the period by Open Gate and by a number of small grants from the Harbinson and the Eva Reckitt charitable trusts. The goats have reproduced and the women have sold them and used the proceeds to buy a plot of land. They were also able to construct a semi permanent wooden building with an iron sheet roof. The main purpose of the structure was to use some of the space as a store for their events management and handi crafts businesses. The events management business involves chairs and tents for hire to weddings and other social events. The women also saw a need for basic health services in their community. So they have hired out space in their building for a small pharmacy and health centre.
Today the women are enjoying the income from their events management business and from hiring space to the health service provider. They also continue selling their fattened bulls and goats for their family welfare.
The Rwamuranda women are very grateful to PENHA Uganda for all their support. However there is a need to improve their wooden building to a permanent level. The health service provider in particular complains that the wooden building is destroyed each year by termites. This means that the building has to be rebuilt annually. At present PENHA Uganda does not have the funds needed to build a termite resistant structure.
Elizabeth Katushabe & Louise Nassuna