Alumni Ventures Fund is Empowering Young Women in Uganda through Skill-UP Project
30 women and girls in Uganda will be supported through a women-led self-help group to develop the skills they need to secure reliable incomes by training them in community bakery skills.
This is one of the critical issues addressed by the Skill-UP Project, which contributes to women’s empowerment in the country, thanks to the financial and technical support of the Alumni Venture Fund of MCW Global.
Ibrahim Kakinda, a youth, and human rights activist committed to gender equality who initiated this project, speaks thoroughly about how it will positively impact his community and how being engaged with MCW Global strengthens his leadership skills.
The Skill-UP Project adopts a skill-based empowerment model that empowers disadvantaged women and girls in rural communities to drive their economic transformation process through a learning-by-doing approach engaging them in direct production and income generation schemes.
This includes learning to produce hand-made cakes, snacks, and pastries using locally available materials.
In addition, the project also provides them with leadership, entrepreneurship, and workforce skills training and mentorship to start businesses through training, mentorship, and clubs.
In this piece, Ibrahim speaks about how this project serves as a platform for action and unity to improve the living conditions of women and girls in the Butambala district in Uganda.
An Initiative Responding to Community’s Needs
Ibrahim elaborates that the project started because of the need to improve sustainable employment opportunities for marginalized women and girls in this district.
“The project empowers marginalized women and girls through business, in basic bakery and pastry production alongside training in marketing and financial management skills to improve their income and business management skills.”
He further explains that the central strategy lies in building avenues for economic empowerment, resilience building, improving livelihoods for teenage mothers and adolescent girls, and enhancing family and community mobilization for economic empowerment.
“We used a contextual analysis tool alongside gender equity measures to guide the identification of the most vulnerable and marginalized women and girls.”, he adds, while also saying that they conducted a Situation Analysis for identifying those in need.
Importantly, the project will also enhance self-employment and self-reliance among marginalized rural women-headed households in the Butambala district.
A fundamental part of his activism in ending child marriage is possible through his organization, Access Youth Initiative Uganda.
Multiple Benefits from MCW Global Network
Being engaged with MCW Global improved Ibrahim’s communication skills and served as a unique opportunity for him to master the art of negotiation, influence, and conflict management.
“With the skills gained [from MCW Global], I can now face challenges in my community from an informed point of view.”
“As a leader, I improved my organizational management skills by being forward-looking and mastering the art of creating a vision for the team and how to inspire others to achieve it in addition to delegating tasks, building trust, and handling conflict.”
As we have seen in previous articles, connecting alumni and supporters and building networks are essential to MCW Global impact.
“My teamwork and problem-solving skills were highly improved by learning to effectively connect to people, developing the ability to give constructive feedback, and critically seeking feedback from the team,” he says.
For its alumni, MCW Global is a journey and continuing support.
On this note, Ibrahim brings to our attention that while implementing his project, he recalls many sessions and connections from The Fellowship program he participated in last year at MCW Global.
“The fellowship strengthened my diplomacy skills, mastering aspects of handling sensitive issues, navigating tricky conflicts, and looking at the facts objectively, without biased interpretation.”
“As a fellow, I organized different programs and have been a facilitator at various programs like the school enlightenment program about career choice and the rights of a child.”
So far, Ibrahim believes that both financial and technical support from MCW Global helped him and his team change the narrative around girls and women in Butambala rural community.
“We are changing the narrative of girls and women - from victims and the vulnerable to agents of change and critical drivers of progress.”
In our previous pieces, we have heard stories about how supporting MCW Global means empowering a whole community.
Ibrahim’s initiative continues this circle of support as it reaches more marginalized women and girls and promotes progress for them so that the ripple effects can spread further in the community.
“We all need to work together and build a movement to fuel concrete action and apply a gender lens in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals stretching from rural level and country to global levels,” he adds, giving in this way an even greater perspective on the importance of this initiative.
In conclusion, Ibrahim strongly believes that we can always do better in making the world better.
“It is a collective responsibility. This is our home where even the smallest girl should stand equal without violence. Together we can!”
READ HERE the piece with Leon Gojani, Young Leaders Program Director, on how MCW Global provides qualitative opportunities for its alumni.