Overcoming barriers to consistent and timely communication; women embrace the use of phones and digital Apps

Katosi Women Development Trust (KWDT) coordinates and works with more than 700 women organized in 30 formalized groups in Mukono District. Over the past 2 years, KWDT has extended its interventions to include more than 350 women from Buvuma, Buikwe, Kalangala, and Wakiso Districts. The women are the entry points into the communities and spearhead change programs. All groups have structures in place that supervise and monitor project activities and as the secretariat, KWDT monitors progress on implementation and changes by engaging with women leaders on various committees that include Production, Loan, WASH, and Women Advocacy committees. 

One of the strategies the groups use, which has been deemed effective is the bi-monthly group meetings. Following an annual schedule, all groups hold meetings where all members register in the group records to mark their presence as proof of attendance. The meetings discuss all affairs of the group, especially those pertaining to work with KWDT as well as emerging issues in the community or those affecting their members. 

KWDT received two mobile phones from WOUGNET  in 2020 and 2022 respectively. One of the phones was handed over to a field officer who uses it to document various program activities for reporting and coordination whilst in the field. The second phone keeps the organization’s official telephone numbers on which WOUGNET sends monthly airtime and internet bundles. The phone is used for all organizational communications by the secretariat. On this mobile phone, a WhatsApp group was formed to include all women from the groups who have smartphones and are able to communicate on WhatsApp.  These women were trained in digital literacy and many have since been demanding KWDT to create a mechanism that will increase their access to smartphones so that they use digital apps. This has greatly eased communication and reporting as the women often use voice notes as an option to share information to and from KWDT where necessary.

KWDT also uses the mobile phone to monitor group activities and progress on their leadership, teamwork, conflict, and conflict resolution skills. During group meetings, KWDT will call at least two groups a day to listen in and where necessary, guide and offer clarification to the groups. This has facilitated cooperation liaison between KWDT and the groups regarding group affairs and has made reporting easy.

Figure 1: A group meeting for Kisakye women’s group.

Figure 2: Ms. Nankabirwa, a representative of the KWDT fisheries cooperative during an online meeting with the Uganda National Fish Organization (UNFO)

Figure 3: A group meeting for Nakisunga women’s group


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