Our Biswas – Uganda
"The power of parity: How advancing women's equality can add $12 trillion to global growth."
—McKinsey Global Institute
April Stone, Our Biswas, Uganda Lead
Milly Nalukwago, Uganda Country Coordinator
Today, and everyday, we celebrate the moxie of the women who while born into poverty rise up to their potential and reveal to themselves, their family, their community and the world that they are empowered to be the change.
Read here about the many ways these remarkable women of Uganda are rising up!
- Kisoboka Nano Initiative, Busega, Lubaga Division Kampala
- Bliss Feme, Kanyampara-Kamughobe, Kisinga sub-county, Kasese District
- Albertine Rift and Kyaninga Community Conservation and Area Organization, Kyaninga, Kabarole District, Western Region
- ACCESS Uganda, Nakaseke District, Central Region
Woman and girls are one of the most powerful forces for change. This is recognized by the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organizations (WHO), UNESCO, and among the many national and international social sector organizations. On 15 October, 2010, the African Women’s Decade (2010-2020) was launched to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment and to recognizes the potential to bring about a realization of women’s civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights.The Story
As the first program outside of Odisha, India, the Uganda initiative began in April 2016 with mothers from the Busega, Kampala District community. At this time, Ranu Mahanti and April Stone shared with the women living in poverty in Busega how they can help themselves through Nano Finance. Since this time, and as we approach 2019 Our Biswas is providing the spark of interest free small loans to more than 500 women throughout the urban slums of Kampala, and the remote villages of Kasinga, Kyaninga, and Nakaseke, Uganda. The women in these disrupted and disadvantaged communities believe in possibility, and are clearly demonstrating to themselves, their families, and to us that they are on the path to achieving it.
According to UN statistics on women economic dependency in developing nations, a woman’s access to their own cash income is significantly less in sub-Saharan Africa: 45% married women to 75% married men, earned any cash income.
Kisoboka Initiative, Busega, Lubaga Division Kampala
Aminah Nakayiza, Profgram Coordinator
Mary Nakangu, Assistant Coordinator
“Greetings from the Mums.
We are thankful for the work done for us. The nano finance idea has promoted the wellbeing of mums and it is supportive to their families. The mums have successfully promoted their businesses and are able to share ideas on how to improve their businesses.” –– as shared by Program Coordinators, Aminah Nakayiza and Mary Nakangu.
One third of Uganda's young children under 5 years of age live in urban areas, deprived of
at least two dimensions of poverty: education, health, food, water, sanitation, shelter and information. Kampala, Uganda has 62 slums, and in the capital city alone, 60,000 children do not have access to early childhood education, which is needed to prepare them for primary school and continued education. Source: Kampala Capital City Authority, Strategic Plan 2015-2019
Since April 2016, 49 moms of young children in Busega have participated in the Kisoboka Nano (“It is possible” in Lugandan) program of Our Biswas. In just two years, 34% of participating women have benefitted from nano loans a remarkable 5-11 times, when the expectation is that a loan is given at no interest, in trust, to be paid in full with one year. In April 2018, the women participated in a training day including workshops in financial literacy, business skills, and leadership training, as well as community mapping, book making and women’s personal hygiene kits. The livelihoods of the women in Busega include raising chickens, selling vegetables and fish, make clothing and bags, and owning hair salons.
Bliss Feme, Kanyampara-Kamughobe, Kisinga sub-county, Kasese District
Solomon Bukundikai, Bliss Feme Coordinator
Princilla Mbambu, Bliss Feme Local Coordinator
Pelucy Baluku,Assistant Coordinator
(not pictured: Ketty Bwambale, Bliss Feme, Kasese Lead; Jesca Biira, Bliss Feme Manager)
"I never thought that a woman can have money of her own. From that day when I received nano funds, I am no longer begging my husband. I will work hard to make sure that my money expands.” –Faith Kambau
Nano finance launched with 50 women of Bliss Feme in January 2017. Many of these women live in the hills and are illiterate. They engage in subsistence farming to be able to put food on their table and send their children to school. The dire conditions of rural, remote life is at its height in this impoverished community, where communication and information is a challenge. In February of 2018, 100% of the women remain in the program and 75% of these women have already taken second loans. The others in line to reach success, with the support of the coordinators, at the one year mark. From the stories shared, the women participating are grateful to have money for food and clothes for the children. Most of the women also requested that their husbands attend the training meetings on family planning, so that together they can make informed decisions.
Albertine Rift and Kyaninga Community Conservation and Area Organization (ARKCCAO), Kyaninga
Simon Kateeba, ARKCCAO Lead
April Stone, Our Biswas, Uganda Lead, traveled for the first time to Uganda in 2013, when she met Simon Kateeba, a community activist in Kyaninga. They have kept in touch over the years, and when he heard of the success of the nano program in Busega and Kasese, he was hoping to bring the benefit to the moms in his community
Albertine Rift and Kyaninga Community Conservation and Area Organization or ARKCCAO is the most recent Ugandanorganization to partner with Our Biswas. ARKCCAO’s first distribution to 56 women was in November 2017. In the spring of 2018 all 126 women of the community will be registered in the program. We look forward to reporting their successes and challenges in the coming months.
African Community Center for Social Responsibility (ACCESS Uganda), Nakaseke District
Resty Nakayima, ACCESS Program Coordinator
ACCESS Program Coordinator
ACCESS Uganda is a community based organization in Nakaseke District, which is dedicated to working with vulnerable group in resource limited settings through medical care, education, and economic empowerment. The more than 300 women of this rural community are primarily farmers facing the many challenges of living in extreme poverty.