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HN 22 | Empowering Women, Sustaining Life

BY MOSES MWALYE

Moses Mwalye, FH Area Program Manager for Mbale, has worked to empower rural Ugandan communities for over 17 years.

On March 8, 2017 the national Woman Member of Parliament, Hon. Connie Galiwango, presented FH Uganda with the Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Contribution in Uplifting the Lives of Women and the Girl Child. This was awarded during the 2017 International Women’s Day celebrations in the Mbale district headquarters.

FH Uganda has been an active development partner in Mbale for the last 17 years. We were particularly singled out for championing the needs of women and girls who are, in most cases, considered the most vulnerable in our Ugandan cultural context. 

Women and girls in Uganda face many obstacles. 

First and foremost, there is a religious belief that ranks women differently. For example, women can be seen in public, but are not supposed to be heard. This kind of teaching and belief discriminates against women so much so that it denies them an opportunity to exercise their God-given full potential as they ought to. 

School girls in the community of Nashisa, Uganda.

Secondly, some cultures in Uganda believe that women are meant for wealth creation and not education. They are seen as property to be inherited and traded, and so they do not deserve what boys or men deserve in society. This kind of belief has prevented and denied many girls and women an opportunity to access school in order to equitably compete with boys or men. 

Thirdly, women are discriminated against owning land which is one of the biggest factors of production. This limits their ability to adequately grow food for domestic use and external sales. Very, very unfair, indeed! 

FH Uganda has remained diligent in its work in Mbale to give women and the girl child a reason to believe in their God-given potential. One way we have done this is by supporting them with dairy cows for milk production, not only for generating income to improve their home situation, but also for improving their nutritional levels. This has worked out so well. 

Another way FH has supported women is by openly advocating for the equal treatment of both the girl and the boy child in all spheres of life in all communities of operation. 

Both girls and boys were created with unique potential and ability, be it in academics, farming, arts and crafts, or leadership. In contrast to before FH came to Mbale, today, women are respected in most of  these areas. Women have been elected to leadership in various forums including Savings and Loans management committees, water user committees, local councils, and church councils, among others.

The Hon. Connie Galiwango sportsfestive face paint as she presents the Women’s Day award.

In addition, FH Uganda has equally empowered women in the area of creating a saving culture. 

Today, women in FH Uganda communities are proud of their Savings and Loans group associations that enable them to support their children with school requirements like books, school fees, and clothing, without only waiting on their men to provide. 

This has consequently reduced the cases of domestic violence that were very common in the past. Most domestic violence in the past was centered around money. The moment women are empowered to earn money for themselves so they are not entirely dependent on men for every domestic need, it very much reduces domestic violence.

Personally, I believe the saying, “educate a woman, and you will have educated a nation.” Women are the biggest producers of any economy. When women are empowered, they are capable of sustaining lives at all levels. 

As a Christian, I certainly think that God endowed all of us with great potential—both women and men alike. It was his good intention and plan that both men and women live to exercise these potentials freely, to complement and support one another for better coexistence. 
Genesis 1:28 says, “God blessed them [man and woman] and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”

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Food for the Hungry: HN 22 | Empowering Women, Sustaining Life
HN 22 | Empowering Women, Sustaining Life
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Food for the Hungry
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