Adult Literacy: Empowering women through words

12th May 2017

Jamie works as Adult Literacy intern for WIL Uganda. Every weekday, he reaches out to women in the community to teach them English. But there’s more to teaching English than just learning new words: empowering women is what our organisation is about. “Mulija Bukonte. Ndi musomesa,” I answer the conductor on the matatu. He asked me where I was going and what I am doing here. I am a teacher and have been working in this community in Busembatia for 3 months now. Today, Joseph and I reach out to Angela in Bukonte. Angela and many women like her on our programme have received little or no formal education. Their levels vary greatly, but what they have in common is their age-bracket. They are all adults, and I am, as of three months, an adult literacy teacher. I have been a teacher for quite some time now, starting as a private tutor. I taught a skills course at my university during my BA and MA. Most recently I have been working with students that had been in conflict with the law, or came from turbulent at-home situations or had had an otherwise bumpy ride in life so far. What they had in common was a healthy dislike for school, class and teachers. Getting them to pay me some attention other than utter disdain was a daily battle. I thought teaching adult women who came to us of their own volition would be a stroll

27th April 2017

We introduced the crafts programme in 2015, after requests from local women to help them gain an income generating skill. Our mission was to teach women and girls a skill, which could enable them to earn an income to sustain themselves and their families.

By Cianne Jones – I struck up a conversation with a businessman recently, about the pros and cons of the new trend in organisations setting up social enterprises in developing countries. Social enterprise can be defined in many ways. A common definition is ‘an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being’. This may include maximizing social impact, alongside profits for external shareholders. Our main discussion was over whether these social enterprises were truly sustainable. The businessman argued that the social enterprises that are set up in developing countries are generally set up by people who lack business acumen. This impacts on the sustainability of the enterprise. The people that the businessman was referring to were the so-called “do-gooders” or western NGO’s. He gave me an example of a social enterprise that he visited in East Africa, which didn’t appear to have a clear business plan. Indeed profit to them appeared to be a dirty word, as if social enterpris

27th March 2017

Written by Zai, WIL Uganda’s office manager Women In Leadership, WIL Uganda, is a registered non-governmental organisation which aims at empowering both girls and women. It was founded and started its operations on 03/08/2014. It has various projects that aim to fulfill its mission of empowering both women and girls. Some of these projects are carried out in schools and others in out of school communities. The organisation had a very humble start: we had no office space, it was operated as a community based organisation, our team was small and it consisted of only five national volunteers and one international volunteer who is the director.

The first year with WIL Uganda

The beginning was not completely easy for me. I had to move from Jinja to Busembatia, a village I had never been to before. Whilst in the village, I taught adult literacy learners every Sunday afternoon between 2pm and 5pm. On other days, Wednesday and Thursday, I was running the Leadership programme at Townside High School. This was my weekly routine schedule. After a while, we got some office space and this was one of our greatest achievements in a very short time. After a year, due to our good combined effort and its effect on the community, we

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

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