Gender (in)equality | Teen Voices: Student Article

20th March 2017

Ssesanga Nasser Shafatinho is a student participating in our Teen Voices programme for boys. In this programme, students learn to think about gender (in)equality, women’s empowerment and issues regarding this in their daily life. By writing articles, they learn to elaborate their thinking and reflect on their situation. Teen Voices articles are currently published on Teen Voices New York and FeministWednesday. My mother was a Musoga from Luuka. She married a Muganda man from Mubende. And that man is my father. When he married my mother, my father already had two wives. My father was a boat engine mechanic on a certain Island in Mayuge. I was born in 2004. My mother was a nurse on the same island. The time came when my father didn’t get enough money, and there were some prostitutes who were begging him for money. My mother became angry when my father stole my mother’s engine and sold it to build a house and put another wife in it. My mother divorced him but it was not a serious divorce. She worked and worked and she got money. She bought many houses and bought a plot in Iganga and built a nice house there. However, because she was busy she didn’t have time to be in that house – so she found a wife who

14th March 2017

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On the 2nd of March, WIL Uganda celebrated International World Book Day. If you mull that sentence over for a couple of times, it begins to look strange. World Book Day is not a holiday proper. It is on a par with World Pet Day. Far from everyone knows of its existence and, I submit, fewer remember the date. Reactions are usually ‘ah, is that today?’ instead of ‘Happy World Book Day!’

Not so in Uganda. Together with Noraly and Joseph, I picked up a group of students from Townside High School. I preach my love of books and reading here during the weekly book club that is part of the Literacy programme. While walking back to the office, I wonder. Is WBD really for us? For them? They hardly have books, there is no reading on the curriculum in schools. Could they name one Ugandan author? We make it to the office a little before 11 and show them around. Even though our event is outside, it is worth the slight delay to show them the inside: some of their pictures are on our walls. There is a mixture in the air of stolid concentration and elated excitement when they find a picture of themselves. Outside, where we have decorated the outer office with banners that Joseph whipped up, and an easel with Poppy’s delightful summary-in-drawing of Harry Potter, we explain the day’s objective. They are to read a story, in groups of 5, sum

9th March 2017

“Football! We really want to play football,” was the unanimous response of both teenage girls and grown-up women to the question what they wanted to do on International Women’s Day. Football and sports are generally a man’s thing, here. But on International Women’s Day, March 8, women decide what the festivities look like. [text continues after photo] International Women's Day Football At 11:30AM, the girls and women lined up at the football pitch. The girls, all from schools where we run our programmes, played in sporty shirts and stretchy skirts. The women, all participants on our community programmes, wore festive traditional dress: bold dresses with pointy shoulders, bright colours and the occasional glitter. Barefoot, laughing, yelling and screaming, they ran across the football field. An energetic match followed by a dramatic series of penalties eventually resulted in victory for the girl’s team.

“I am very happy to be part of these women on this day”

The International Women’s Day festivities continued at WIL Uganda’s office in the center of the village. Girls from local high

1st March 2017

Rehmar is a 15-year-old student at Townside High School. She loves to eat rice, and her favourite subject is English. Rehmar is a passionate advocate for education, and she is a current member of the Teen Voices Programme. Articles are published online at this website. Rehmars advice to other girls would be to “take education as a serious thing”.

“School helps me to know and understand more about the world.”

Rehmar loves going to school. She likes to learn and explore things she doesn’t know about. Rehmar wants to be a doctor, and she aims to achieve this by reading sciences and concentrating on her studies. School is very important to her as she believes that, were she not studying, there would be no good future for her, and she would end up getting married at a young age. This is an all too common problem in Uganda; 40% of girls under the age of 18 are married, and consequently many of them drop out of school.

“[My community could improve] by educating people.”

Rehmar believes that if the whole community is educated then there would be easy access to everything. If people are not educated, then they can’t earn enough money to send their children to school. WIL Uganda empowers women in the community by educating them in l

24th February 2017

My name is Vincent Zinunula. Zinunula is a language proverb that goes: “E Zinunula Omunaku, lugaba azituunga kiro.” This would literally be translated in English as “The money which redeems a poor man is minted by God overnight.” The Luganda proverb is meant to always give the Baganda people hope whenever they find themselves in desperate situations.

“If you educate a woman, you educate a nation”

I joined WIL Uganda at the request of Cianne Jones. She visited the project I was running at the moment. Then she asked me to work on the Adult Literacy program because of my experience in working with adult learners. At the time I was very ready to help. It felt right because I had the experience, and my organization had had many volunteers over, while I had never volunteered before. Now it is my turn, I thought. From the beginning I supported the mission of WIL Uganda. As far as I’m concerned, if you educate a woman, you educate a nation. For me it was very important to give my input on how we can elevate the women of Uganda. Now, I’ve been with WIL Uganda since the beginning in August 2014. To me, Women in Leadership can mean a lot of things. You can look at it from many angles, but the primary meaning is always this: women are our mothers. We get our first education from them. By helping them and te

13th February 2017

My name is Mugole Joseph: social scientist, aged 27 years and community mobilizer volunteering for Women in Leadership – Uganda (WIL-Uganda). I am fortunate enough to always work in an environment with colleagues representing many different countries or nationalities. I would like to share some of the great things that I have observed from working with people from a diverse mix of countries.

  • The close team working culture at WIL Uganda means that the opportunities to experience the benefits of working in a multinational and a multicultural environment are particularly prevalent.
  • It increases my value to employers The fact is that, if you have international experience, you are more attractive to employers and more likely to be involved in interesting multicultural environments and expansion projects for your employer. It has typically given me a broader experience, working with people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, especially working with people from different parts of the world. You get a chance to learn different cultures and perspectives as you experience diversity over time.
  • Insights and creativity thrive I am not a psychologist, but I do have a keen interest in behavioral psychology. There are countless studies proving that creativity and new insights thrive in environments where people have diffe

16th November 2016

Arriving in Uganda as Women in Leadership (WIL) craft volunteer I didn’t really know what to expect of my six week women empowerment adventure ahead. But being my third time visiting Uganda I was excited to integrate myself into the community and share my craft skills gained from years of experience in the UK. One thing I knew for sure was that swapping the cold of an English October to help empower women in the warmth of the Ugandan sun seemed like a rather good deal! Crafts play a crucial role in Women in Leaderships work here in Busembatia Eastern Uganda and their work has already touched many women and girl’s lives since they began two years ago. In Uganda women and girls face many hardships throughout their lives, hardships that many western women couldn’t even imagine. Due to cultural norms particularly in rural areas some parents feel it is a waste of time and money to educate girls. These girls are often left behind but skills such as crafts can be a life line, giving them access to invaluable skills and knowledge to help them make a better future for themselves. The women who come to the sessions can use their craft knowledge to help them generate their own sustainable income. They can sell their things individually in the village or stay as part of the group making crafts for sale on WIL’s etsy store: (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BaNyaboand in the UK.) Susan

16th November 2016

Have you ever considered volunteering in Uganda? You should! The ‘pearl of Africa’ is a beautiful, smiley, exciting country and working for a woman’s empowerment NGO is both important and fulfilling work. For the past 6 weeks I have been teaching both in school and adult computer literacy classes for Women in Leadership Uganda and these are a few of my highlights so far… My first week in the village was a blur of friendly faces, scorching sun and colourful market scenes. As I walked down the dirt track to Townside Secondary School, where I would be teaching my first computer class, I was excited and apprehensive to meet the girls. Something I was not prepared for was the lack of equipment to the number of girls. I had 14 girls to 4 working computers, but what struck me the most was their eagerness to learn despite this. Half way through the session the power went off, another obstacle I had not anticipated! All was well though as I took the opportunity to sit them down and talk to them about why they choose to use their free time after school to attend WILs programmes. Their answers were insightful and inspiring. Without computer skills passing the exams to get into university is just a distant dream and these girls dreams are big. Politicians, doctors and bank manager were just a few of their aspirations yet they were also all too aware that without these invaluable sk

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15th November 2016

Compared to my life back in England, volunteering for a women’s empowerment NGO in Uganda is an everyday adventure. With a desk set against the lush backdrop of the Ugandan tropical terrain, and Tesco meal deals replaced with local cuisine – working 9-5 has never been sweeter. 8AM: The group awakes to the sound of alarm clocks and cockerels. After a tussle with a mosquito net and a few ‘good morning’ grunts, everyone gets on with their morning ablutions. Walking out into the courtyard for an obligatory trip to the squat toilets requires a few moments to adjust yourself to the searing brightness of the morning sun. 8.30AM: Everyone is dressed in their ‘Monday Smart’ as we consider, arguably, the hardest decision of the day – which chapatti man to buy breakfast from. Of course, you can’t deny the sultry goodness of Alex’s but the nameless elderly man’s stall does look more hygienic. To spice up our breakfast the English way, we generously apply marmite and tuck in.             9AM-12PM: We arrive at the WIL Uganda office in a breakfast chapatti haze, armed with our bottles of water and work for the day. I get out my laptop and begin planning for the afternoon’s one to one sessions. Today I will be teaching Janet ‘emotion’ vocabulary, so I begin the crafty task of making flashc

1st October 2015

I arrived in Uganda, ready to make a difference! I had a head full of ideas and lots of enthusiasm. I headed to Busembatia village on my 4th day in Uganda. It’s a small rural town about 2 hours taxi ride from Jinja town.  The NGO runs all of its women empowerment programs from here so I was really excited to see the set up and meet the other volunteers.

Rain, Rain, Rain…. About 4pm the skies were swallowed by great grey thunderous clouds and a fast downpour. In the rain we headed to Townside School where we hold our girls computer literacy class. It’s an after school class which the girls come to voluntarily. We took down an attendance sheet and got to the business of setting the computers up for our class. The first obstacle we encountered was that the computer passwords had been changed, so we had to go on a man hunt for the teacher who could let us in. Crisis over, we were all set up and raring to go! The lesson was about getting the girls familiar with using all the different formatting functions on Microsoft Word. They had to make a poster about something they liked and use bold, italics, borders, different fonts etc. About 10mins into the lesson, there was a power cut and it showed no signs of coming back on in the relentless rain. I was frustrated but the girls seemed very used to it and busied them

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