On Time [Adult Literacy Programme]

28th July 2017

Time passes slowly up here in the daylight We stare straight ahead and try so hard to stay right Like the red rose of summer that blooms in the day Time passes slowly and fades away

~Bob Dylan, Time Passes Slowly | New Morning, 1970

  Throughout my placement here in Busembatia, Uganda, time has been central to the entire experience. There is something quaintly and quietly off about the time here, in many ways. People keep time differently, even tell time differently than I am used to back home. Moreover, time passes fast and slowly. Days pass fleetingly and weeks last for months and months last forever and are out before you notice it. It has now been six months, almost to the day, since I arrived. Time ground to a halt for the first weeks, when everything was new. I would arrive a little before 2 in the afternoon, fully prepped for my introductory sessions with the women I would be spending months with. Knowing I knew not what to expect, I expected at least that my eagerness would be met. It was, even if it did not take the form of punctuality and a nervous energy to match mine. Joseph and I sat, as we would sit

18th July 2017

Every year, WIL Uganda celebrates International Women’s Day on 8 March. We invite women and girls from the community and our programmes to celebrate with us, promoting women’s empowerment. In this article Rebecca (part of our Teen Voices programme) shares her view on this festive day. In every year all Ugandan’s and the world at large remember and celebrate this day. The reason as to why they celebrate is that women are the owner of this country, so, because of this, the President of Uganda Museveni Kagauta Yowert decided to give the women opportunity to have recognition in the country and world at large. Every woman is celebrated, and everybody is in interested in the day. So many women are now members of parliament – ministers – and they always support this day because they have it as their pride from the government. Its good because it helps the younger girls know their rights, makes people aware about what women go through.

“The celebration of this day promotes equality in the country”

When Uganda joins the whole world in celebrating this day, states like Britain, USA and others can give financial assistance to Uganda. This can help Uganda to construct good roads, hospitals and school hence contributing to the economic development of the country. The celebration of thi

29th June 2017

written by Leah Kenny I take a short boda ride from Busembatia to Bulogoda every week on a Wednesday morning. I have been living in Busembatia for one month now, where alongside Meg, I have been running the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) programme. Part of our programme involves delivering sessions to women at health centres, before they attend their antenatal clinics. We do not need a lot for these sessions, aside from a plan and a large box of condoms. As we pull away from the slightly hectic main street of Busembatia, it gets quieter and the houses increasingly sparse until much of what you pass are large fields with women and children busy working on them. Bulugoda Health Centre appears to our right. It is a small two-roomed Level II Health Centre. This means that it is supposed to serve up to 5,000 people and provide preventive, promotive and outpatient services. Although it does not provide maternity services, we are told that sometimes emergency deliveries are performed here. Ruth shows us where the placentas are disposed of, out back. As you pull up to the health centre, you are distracted by a large tree

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

5th May 2017

“Many women here are not married and are finding it hard to live a good life.”

Ruth is a mother of 7. She is proud to be. Ruth is happy here in Busembatia. She is glad to be able to further her education. Her mother lives in nearby Namatumbe. She’s still alive and for that Ruth is thankful. “I am happy with my family. I am happy to be married and have a home to live in.” Many women here are less fortunate. They have to raise a lot of children alone, says Ruth, because men chase them away.

“If someone fails to marry, that’s a very big failure. Then you are not a good community member.”

It is a common problem. Ruth has seen it happen to women in her community. Women will have children with a man and believe that to be enough prove of marriage. Men, she says, are desperate and often unsatisfied with their wife. “When he sees a beautiful women he tries. In that desperation he produces a lot of children without self control.” He will then ignore his responsibilities. The women are left to fend for themselves. They will not have a marriage certificate. “They have nothing to fall back on.”

“Women should know how to go into marriage. They should know they are not supposed to be

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

30th March 2017

Alice Knights, former intern for WIL Uganda’s Crafts programme, is now back in Uganda. We interviewed her about her experience as an intern, her motivations and the challenges she met during her stay.

You interned for WIL Uganda. Now you’re back and working in Jinja for another NGO. What brought you back?

I interned with WIL Uganda in October 2016 and had a really great experience with them. And yes, now I’m back. This time it’s more permanent. I’m working for Soft Power Education, who work to improve quality of life for children in Uganda through education. I had actually been to Uganda twice before interning with WIL Uganda so I knew the Jinja area quite well and after interning with WIL I knew I wanted to find a job using my International Development degree there.

Where it all began: WIL Uganda. What made you choose this specific NGO?

I found the internship with WIL Uganda on idealist.org while I was looking for jobs. I literally could not believe my luck when I saw the job description for the Crafts internship. It encompassed four of my biggest passions in life: women’s empowerment, crafts, development and Uganda. I remember ringing my sister straight away and telling her a

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

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

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