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Transforming Rural Women/Girls’ World For Positive Change Through ICTs

NVIWODA creates resilience in the social and economic empowerment of women/girls at the grassroots/semi-urban areas in Uganda.

Rural women in Uganda are poor and their livelihoods depend mostly on agriculture, producing less from farming and this increases their vulnerability to increasing risks of climatic changes. The girls drop out of school due to lack of school fees, and early pregnancies and their adult life miserably begins.

NVIWODA has intervened with many social and economic programmes. This integrated and holistic approach has given birth to innovative ways of empowering women/girls to transform their livelihoods. The empowerment programmes range from entrepreneurship development, product development, group formation and leadership development, human rights, prevention of domestic violence,  land rights awareness, and financial literacy, aiming at increasing capacity to address resilience to shocks of climate change and enhance their knowledge in agriculture, develop and empower women through the use of ICTs for positive change. 

NVIWODA cannot leave rural women behind in this digital era; it also empowers women and girls in Information and communications technology (ICTs) basics and relevant skills that could enable them to positively change. All these interventions are geared towards the overall transformation of the grassroots women and girls to enable them to tackle poverty, and be resilient to improve the overall well-being of their families and communities. In this way, NVIWODA contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs) Agenda.

NVIWODA partnering with Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) under the “Strengthening Women’s Livelihoods and Magnifying Resilience to COVID-19 Emergency by Promoting Effective Use of Digital Technologies in Uganda (SMILE)” Project, on 25th October 2022 the organization was able to mobilize thirty (30) rural women comprising of small hold farmers and young girls from Mpigi and  Gomba Districts and semi-peri urban area of Kampala Districts together with NVIWODA staff and they were conducted through a one day workshop to address issues that cause a digital divide by empowering them with  ICTs skills, and proper use of a smartphone and empowerment-related applications that enhance their capacity to effectively utilize the ICTS in their daily lives and enterprises. They can access agriculture and development information, and enhance communication among themselves and outside their communities to increase their visibility and network, thereby increasing women’s movement and global networking.

NVIWODA targets rural women, girls and young mothers who are victims of teenage pregnancies during COVID-19 lockdowns. These women and girls are of low literacy levels and are unable to access information and empowerment opportunities. 

During the long day’s learning, women/girls testified that they enjoyed the training and gained the practical knowledge facilitated by WOUGNET staff namely Saitoiti and Esther: 

The training had the following content: – 

  1. Use of Google for different enterprise/business information 
  2. Opening of Business whats app accounts
  3. Use of the Pinterest app 
  4. Application of Zoom 
  5. Conference calls, e-marketing
  6. Making orders and delivery via online apps

The training was quite participatory and addressed the needs of women that are applicable to their daily use and were happy with the knowledge imparted and they hope to improve their communication and benefit more from their smartphones to improve their livelihoods.

In Uganda, the internet is very expensive and its connection is still limited to some areas. In other areas, it is slow and difficult to access. This poses a challenge to rural communities. However, “Knowledge is Power”, and we are optimistic that the Information and Communication Networks will improve in years to come. Bridging the gap of digital divide among women and girls in rural areas can expand their sense of self-esteem in the world because it raises their awareness of human rights, breaks the bondage of poverty/vulnerability and involves the rural woman. A rural woman understanding digital knowledge empowers her to access knowledge and information, allowing her to self-awareness networks outside within her community and outside resulting in expanding the feminist global movement.

This is who NVIWODA is, this is what we do, this is my success stories of change

Figure 1: Women farmers sharing experiences and effects of COVID-19

Written by Cissy Nyarwa

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