Economic empowerment for women

Value addition and women economic empowerment

Nabaale Josephine is a 30-year-old widow who lives with her 2 young daughters in Banda sub-county, Lusaalira village on the shores of Lake Wamala in Uganda.

As a single mother, Josephine found it difficult to provide basic needs for her family without meaningful employment. Her livelihood solely depended on agriculture which was not generating enough income to sustain her family.

In 2020 Josephine had the opportunity to take part in Youth Enterprise Challenge and soon became an active member of the Akezimbira youth group.

josephine’s ability to read and write both English and Luganda prompted the team to appoint her as the team's secretary. Josephine says, “I'm in charge of taking group meeting minutes, bookkeeping, and being a treasurer for the group's village savings and loans association”. After carrying out a successful resource assessment, the group set up a fishing business on the shores of Lake Wamala.

Josephine says that her participation in the youth enterprise challenge has hugely changed her perspective towards business.

Youth Group as a catalyst for local women empowerment

The youth group has built Josephine's confidence, interpersonal skills and improved her approach to carrying out resource assessment and Josephine now acts as one of the local champions in her community.

“I have managed to share learnings from the youth group with a group of 6 female friends who have been able to start up small businesses in the community ranging from making snacks, retail shops, and vegetable stalls.”

“As a woman in business and leadership, I feel good because I'm now able to meet the basic needs of my family. I'm good at problem-solving and my friends approach me for advice on how to succeed in business. In addition, the village savings and loans association group trusts me with loans because they are confident that I will repay the loans.”

Adding value to products

Through learning about market research and the use of local resources, Josephine was able to capitalize on a local opportunity of processing bananas and selling them as flour. By adding value to a product Josephine is now earning a living from her business.

Full of aspiration, Josephine is focused on providing additional services and has established a mini restaurant in her community alongside her banana business. She plans on setting up a small industrial cottage for drying processed food and employing more youths in her community and training them on business knowledge for a fee.

“I'm proud to say that my understanding of financial management has enabled me to understand the importance of record-keeping for the growth and development of my business”. In addition, “ I advise my friends to save to have access to credit necessary to start up a business”, she explains.

Promoting value addition can be such important aspect of local economic development for people like Josephine, supporting them to build a more prosperous future.