The mission of the Gulu Women's Resource Center, GWRC, is to create a public space where women and community members are able to access critical information and support.
GWRC's objective is to advance community, equality and social justice by providing information and opportunities in one location, convenient and open to all community members.
To address the issues of stubborn poverty and the challenges women face regarding access to and information on: health, justice & human rights, gender based violence, economic empowerment, education and activism, Women's Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF) is launching the Gulu Women's Resource Center (GWRC). GWRC is a one-stop center that will provide essential support, information and education to women and girls in northern Uganda.
The goal of this initiative is to create a community space providing women current and critical information, community meeting space, and computer and life skill trainings. It is through information and education that self esteem and empowerment is facilitated, enabling women to stand up and lead themselves out of the vicious cycle of poverty that is often presented before them.
GWRC will soon be celebrating its 1 year anniversary, October 1, 2017. Our first year has been eventful, meaningful, and transformative. Since our opening events, the center has been a hub of activity and support for the community and region:
First ever gender conference was held at GWRC; discussing issues around gender justice and parity by WGEF leaders, community members and elected officials and tribal leaders.
Our computer lab offered a 4 month computer class; 27 women received their certificates highlighting their new skills. The lab also supports students and others needing computer access and support.
Our Access to Justice and Peer Counseling teams provide daily support and resources to women and families in the community and region. Helping to navigate challenges thru dialogue, resources, legal aid, and support.
GWRC hosts community meetings and provides space for groups big and small to meet and create solutions to challenges and issues facing families and the community. These issues range from property ownership to gender based violence.
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent
Young Adults (20-25 years)
To address the issues around menstrual health, WGEF has launched the HPI. Just imagine attending school or work without any toilets or drinking water. Imagine attending school/work with a single latrine for all. Imagine the latrine is gross, with no toilet paper and the door no longer closes. Imagine attending school or work when you have your period. This is the reality for women and girls in low income countries. Help us change this reality. Support our Healthy Periods Initiative, it's about equality and justice, period.
To address the issue of menstrual health, and the challenges for women of access, hygiene and socio-cultural stigma, Women's Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF) is launching the HealthyPeriods Initiative - improving health, creating livelihoods.
We aim to drive economic, and socio-cultural change thru enterprise and education.
Through the purchase of a manufacturing unit, WGEF clients will produce a low cost sanitary product. From a grassroots level, we inform, educate and provide resources to assist in the development of successful social enterprises and a philanthropic project providing safe and sanitary resources for all women in their communities. It's about equality and dignity, period!
In November 2015 we received the machine and acquired the supplies and knowledge to begin our pilot project which includes: producing product in our lab, choosing two groups to take part in the pilot, assess and gather data.
August 2016, we are up and running, we have received Ministry of Health approval and our pilot project was a smashing success. Women and girls now have access to a safe, affordable, accessible and locally made product; WGEF clients are now creating and producing the critical product as a microfinance endeavor. In addition, WGEF donates product for the women in Gulu Women's Prison and those in need in the community. As of November 2016 we have two groups producing product in our lab as their chosen economic endeavor, the Ministry of Health has fully approved the product and production methodology. In addition to the economic piece, in 2016 we have committed to supplying two schools and Gulu Women's Prison with product at no cost. Our goal is that 30% of all we produce be given away to the most vulnerable populations. We are doing outreach and educating the public around the issues of menstrual health and dismantling stigma!
"The fighting in our home country separated me from my family, I don't know if they are still alive, I was left alone with no one to tell my challenges, no one to take care of my needs such as sanitary pads I have to use a piece of cloth, but also cleaning it is a challenge because we don't have enough water and soap in this camp"
Christine is 14 years old.
Sadly, 70% of mothers in Bolore and Pagirinya refugee settlements think periods are dirty and 66% of girls and women manage periods without toilets. Having your period in a refugee settlement is uncomfortable, unsanitary and unjust, PERIOD! Influenced by differences in sociocultural norms, without education for young girls on how to manage their periods, whether and from whom they can seek reliable information and help.
When a girl faces obstacles in managing her menses in a healthy way, she is at risk for infection, her self-esteem and self-confidence suffer, she may remain absent from school during her period, or worse still, drop out of school altogether upon reaching puberty. Over time, these negative effects add up, preventing a young girl from achieving her full potential and having a healthy, productive life. It's about justice.
WGEF is responding to this crisis by supplying Lucky Girls Sanitary Pads to young girls and women in Bolore and Pagirinya refugee settlements. These 2 settlements host 36,000 people of which 72% are young girls, women and children between 9 to 18 years.
This month WGEF has provided 300 young girls and women with Lucky Girl Sanitary Pads, and critical information on menstrual health; our goal is to continue making monthly supplies to refugees leaving in resettlement camps.
We hope you are inspired and proud to support WGEF!
Female Young Adults (20 - 25 years)
Women's Global Credit Plus program combines microcredit services with literacy, health, leadership development and basic business education into a single service reaching women in under-resourced areas. This integrated approach has been proven to alleviate poverty and empower women.
Through our Credit Plus program participants receive a microcredit loan bundled with social and educational services, allowing them to create an opportunity for sustainability, increased food security and health and self determination. Each loan recipient attends weekly or bi-monthly meetings. These meetings will entail loan repayment, and other loan administration details. In addition, classes will be offered in one or more of the following areas: business skills, literacy, health, and leadership development. Understanding that Credit Plus is not only an effective tool in alleviating poverty, but empowering women, increasing the health of the family, and creating an environment of self-determination, while addressing inequality.
Our strategy is to provide women with the framework necessary to create viable opportunities for themselves and their families. Through grassroots strategies, marginalized women are given the tools necessary to alleviate poverty thus facilitating sustainable development and empowerment. Our goal is to work for social justice, increased human security and women's empowerment.
Women are experiencing economic and social empowerment, food and human security (see surveys on website) They are leaders and participating in their communities, their voices elevated and have a seat at the table!
Since 2008, Credit Plus has given 10,000+ microcredit loans, basic business training and opportunities to participate in leadership development programs. The program has experienced rapid growth and a positive reputation in the community, indicating the fairness and transparency of this meaningful program and the potential opportunities participants can access and create through their participation. Success of this program includes no defaults or missed payments, multiple return participants, positive feedback and support from community leaders, and growing participation in trainings and events. Our program and clients are driving economic activity, and creating local economies, including food economies, addressing local and regional food insecurity. In addition, our participants become leaders themselves in their communities, some by hiring assistants and employees to help in their growing businesses, others that successfully run for elected offices and are involved in policy development.
Women's Global, has developed a program that is effective and responsive to the needs of our clients. When a woman learns to read and write, her whole world changes; possibilities and opportunities are created.
Our clients expressed a desire and excitement for a literacy program and in response, our literacy program began in July, 2008. We have had such an overwhelming response to the offering, and to date have served over 1350 women. Participants are divided into two levels where they will be provided with materials, books, pens, etc. and attend classes twice a week for six months. Two instructors will conduct training for additional facilitators to become trained instructors. As of July 2017, 3,000+ women have participated in our literacy program; 50 women sat for national exams in September 2014,with 100% passing the national literacy examination, receiving a certificate from the Ministry of Education.
Yearly monitoring and exams. In 2017 we have been building capacity, reaching deeper into the rural areas where women have been marginalized and lack basic services and opportunities; there are already 600 women enrolled for 2017.
Participants report increased self esteem, capabilities and access; literacy skills provide women an opportunity for a better quality of life and transformation.
Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy
Crime/ Abuse Victims
Young Adults (20-25 years)
To address the issue of inequality, gender based violence, food security and other issues facing women in northern Uganda, Women's Global Empowerment Fund hosts a drama festival, Kikopo Pa Mon, amplifying women's voices. Women in our program create original plays highlighting their stories using music, drama, and dance. In September 2015 WGEF hosted our 9th annual drama event. Over 250 women participated working in teams, creating dramas, songs and dances to the community focused on Land Rights and Property Ownership for Women.
The importance of the event is critical for challenging inequalities, maintaining and celebrating culture, and changing the patriarchal paradigm enabling women to use their voice and power.
This year, 2016, our 9th annual festival focused on Reproductive Health Care Is My Right. The event highlighted the challenges around reproductive health care, and the fact that full health care access is a human right. This issue is particularly challenging in a traditional patriarchal community; these events challenges those entrenched notions and require more meaningful dialogues.
Women report better communication within their households, and in their communities; women are empowered to participate in their communities, including policy development, advocacy, and political participation. The 9th annual Drama Festival, with the title Reproductive Health Care Is My Right," saw 350+ participants, including lunch for all (including over 60 children).
Women look forward to the yearly event; they work for months preparing the material, choosing the topic and creating the sets, etc. The topic for 2017 is Property ownership and land title. The topic is relevant as the government is confiscating land for public use and understanding legal rights.
Food, Agriculture & Nutrition
Northern Uganda is a post conflict region, with a temperate climate. While the food agencies have been there for decades, there are shortages; for the region to successfully recover and for peace to continue, the people of the region must begin to grow their own food, feeding themselves, their families and their communities. What we know is that women produce up to 80% of food in developing countries; WGEF is supporting women and farming projects thru our agricultural loan program.
The agricultural project provides women with agricultural loans, training, and support, ensuring that our clients are able to successfully plant, grow and harvest their crops. As of November 2016, WGEF has given out 3000+ agro loans to women growing a diversity of crops, including: cassava, beans, and potatoes. Supporting women farmers is the way to create food security!
In addition, WGEF facilitated the creation of the Gulu Women's Agriculture Union in June of this year and will be assisting them with the necessary filings, recruitment and strategy processes. WGEF has committed to helping with costs for the first year, after that the union will be sustained thru dues and will live with union members and executive committee. This is a critical project, ensuring women have a voice in agricultural policy development and human and food security.
100% repayment of all agro loans, successful harvests with women earning a profit and feeding their families and communities and increased food security at the household level.
Building sustainable farm projects through increased capacity, best land practices, crop diversity and increasing women led projects, and land ownership/title. In 2016, 906+ women were given agro loans to support/create small/medium scale farm projects; they also received ongoing trainings and support.
In addition, local food economies are expanding into neighboring states and regions. WGEF farmers and business women have created a complete local food chain including produces and suppliers.