Why I am a volunteer | by Vincent Zinunula

Why I am a volunteer | by Vincent Zinunula
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 teaching them we create better homes, and we create better leaders. Leadership starts at home.
I want the women to be confident and not shy away from challenges. If they can do that their leadership skills will shift to places of work, the groups in the community, church. Then we will have women in leadership.

A good leader should be well educated, should be knowledgeable. A leader should have the relevant skills. If I want to teach someone about agriculture I should know about agriculture myself. Listening skills are important too. Leaders should be able to communicate well. They should have vision.

“These women should not have to stay in Busembatia. They should be free to move all over the world.”

That is also what I want for the women we reach out to. I want them to speak and write with confidence. They should be able to go to the bank alone, write up contracts, write letters, give speeches. We want to give them an all-round training. We should elevate them to the next level.

We are working hard to achieve these goals. Maybe in the future we will be able to allocate more time to our learners. Perhaps there will be more people working for WIL Uganda and we can all generate ideas on further development. I hope by then we are a place where many people like to come. By then we should have expanded our computer literacy program. Nowadays computers are very important. The women should have the opportunity to communicate with their friends that are faraway. By then we will have achieved a lot.

“It is a long process.”

The challenges today for women in Uganda are many. The solutions start with education. Schools and organizations should keep on delivering programs that benefit women and the girl child. We should educate men as well, and teach them that women are equal to men, that they have the same rights. The challenge of equality is a part of the culture as well. I don’t believe in a lady sitting and eating on the ground while I sit at the table. In my house you can find me doing chores, washing and cleaning up. This is not the same everywhere. There are men who will take their wife’s money and go out drinking.

We need to make people aware of their roles in the culture. We can affect this through outreaches and workshops. We’ve come a long way from a time where women were told they were not allowed to eat chicken. It is a long process.

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