Katakwi women

Gender-based violence frustrating Katakwi women entrepreneurs

(Last Updated On: 8 December 2023)

Katakwi I Despite the government’s concerted efforts to bolster women entrepreneurs through various projects aimed at combating poverty, Gender-based Violence (GBV) in Katakwi district has emerged as a significant impediment, hindering the progress of women in their families.

Unlike other government initiatives like the current Parish Development Model (PDM) Emyooga, Etandikwa, Youth Livelihood Fund, and Boonabagagawale, the ‘GROW’ project is a supplementary initiative to the UWEP program, specifically targeting and supporting women entrepreneurs.

Currently, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MGLSD), with support from the World Bank are implementing the Generating Growth Opportunities for Women (GROW) project.

The project’s primary objective is to expand access to entrepreneurial services, enabling female entrepreneurs to nurture and expand their businesses in targeted areas, including host and refugee communities.

The five-year project funded by the World Bank at a sum of USD 217 million will be implemented nationwide, targeting 135 districts and eleven cities.

Rebecca Kukundakwe, a Gender Specialist at Private Sector Foundation Uganda, talks about the opportunity for women to apply either individually or in groups ranging from 1-50, with grants available between shs30m to shs120m.

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However, during a GROW project sensitization meeting in Katakwi district, Rehema Acom, a women’s representative, voiced alarm over Gender-based Violence, saying it is a crucial barrier impeding the progress of women entrepreneurs.

Acom stressed that fear instilled by violent men has rendered women vulnerable and unprotected, exposing them to attacks.

Acom further noted that women under the Grow project have actively considered enterprises like produce trade, catering, tailoring; Boda-Boda; poultry keeping; animal rearing, hair dressing, and others as ventures to transform their families.

Despite efforts to combat GBV, Sarah Agiro, a Psychosocial Support Officer at Action Aid, Katakwi branch, reported registering 204 cases of GBV within the last six months in the district.

Joseph Ecuman, the Vice Chairperson of LC5 of Katakwi, commended the government’s targeted support for women, acknowledging their pivotal role in family development.

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Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Juliet Cheptoyet, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Katakwi, urged the Ministry to increase the initial beneficiaries beyond the limited 200 slots, considering the district’s sizable population estimated at 225,000 individuals.

Helen Grace Asamo, the State Minister for Disability Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, assured that fund disbursement would commence between February and March 2024, after comprehensive sensitization efforts.

Asamo encouraged women to strive for financial independence, noting that men respect financially empowered women.

She urged the adoption of digital technology, emphasizing its role in facilitating market networking for their enterprises.

Jessica Alupo, the Vice President of Uganda cautioned men against employing rudimentary and violent methods to manage family affairs, emphasizing the role of economically empowered women in fostering strong families.

Alupo noted the importance of effective project sensitization to realize impactful results, highlighting the government’s prioritization of women due to their critical role in community development.

By Robert Edwomu

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