Women's Global Empowerment Fund

A nonprofit organization

Your support helps to amplify women's voices in one of the world's most marginalized regions. Denver-based Women's Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF) is a vehicle for creating sustainable human development in this region in an intimate, meaningful way from the ground up.


Your support helps to amplify women's voices in one of the world's most marginalized regions. The more voices are heard, the more progress made on issues of global importance like gender equity, women's empowerment, social justice, and economic growth. Of universal importance, these tenets have long been buried and unattainable in northern Uganda, due to the devastating effects of a bloody 20-year civil war that ripped families apart with unspeakable human atrocities and left those who survived-especially women-with little recourse for earning money, supporting their children, rebuilding their ravaged communities, and reclaiming their dignity.
Staff Testimonial
Beneath the shade of a hulking jackfruit tree in a remote village of northern Uganda, a woman stood up. She was a local, one of many who'd gathered to greet a small team from Women's Global Empowerment Fund. She turned toward WGEF founder Karen Sugar.

"I was blind," she said slowly and proudly, "But now I see."

The woman, a member participating in the literacy program, walked to a blackboard propped against the tree, picked up a piece of chalk, and carefully wrote her entire name across the smudged slate. Sugar watched from a makeshift wooden bench in the dusty clearing with tears streaming down her face. For a minute the she tried to speak, but her voice would catch.

That moment was what her life's work is all about.
Quotes from Literacy Program Survey:
"[I] share ideas with [other] women, which makes [me] feel strong" -Susan O.
"[I am] able to support the family. This has created confidence." -Rosie O.
"I can now read and write basic English words, and also my name." -Okot R.
"I used to fear to associate with other people because of personality, but today [I] can associate with people without any challenges." - Okot R.
"After getting a loan I am able to meet all my demands, and my standard of living has improved. The WGEF program is the only way I can empower myself." - Okech J.
"I have gained confidence and empowered myself, and [I] have been able to forget some of my past." - Mildred
"[I] have more voice than [my] husband now!" - Juliet O.
"My life is easier. I am able to buy what I need. I am less worried about what will happen tomorrow." - Hellen O.
"I make business decisions and can decided to educate my children." -Hellen O.
"[WGEF] made me have more friends, and your friends help you when you need [them]." -Grace B.
"I have learned a lot [of] good things and bad things, and right now as I talk I am very wise." -Florence O.
"Before there was hard life, but after the loan I started feeling good because it became easy for me to start a business with all the strength and I am happy about it." -Everlin O.
"I know how to cooperate with other members, how to use money, and [I] am happy that [I] am paying school fees for my children." -Christine O.
"I have improved my skills and knowledge, and I learn from my group. Also I have less stress and worry." -Betty O.
WGEF Client Testimonial
"My hope is back! And I have no worries now, my children will appreciate and I have started receiving thank you notes from them. Sarah said to me "thank mother for being there for us all the time even when things were hard during the war, Mumy I have learnt a lot from you and I promise I will be a perfect Mum like you in future". I cried because of joy and happiness that my daughter brought into my heart like many other mothers do all over, all this happened when I joined the WGEF credit program, which supported my business. Now I'm a perfect mother
I thank all mothers for never giving up on their children when they went through that dark period, when the hope was no more, when loving them was difficult. And let us continue to spread love, peace and reconciliation among the affected families especially mothers and their children. We the mothers are the greatest solutions to many problems. God Bless WGEF." - Betty O.
WGEF Client Testimonial
"As a mother of seven I had no idea about how my life would be after the impact of the LRA War. I was abducted at the age of six and returned with two children, I hardly knew what to do with my life because my parents were gone. After a few years I met a man whom I thought would provide me with all the security I needed, all was a myth because he kept beating me each time I asked for money and whenever he came home drunk causing even more pain and suffering. With all the pain I wanted to return to the bush where life was much easier but whenever I looked at my children I felt they needed me because no one could look after them after I was gone...


The mission of Women's Global Empowerment Fund is to support women through economic, social and political programs; creating opportunities while addressing inequality, strengthening families and communities.

Our goal is to work for social justice, increased human security and women's empowerment.

Background Statement

Women's Global Empowerment Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that creates innovative economic, social, and political opportunities for women and families in the post-conflict region of northern Uganda. Those opportunities include literacy training, a unique microcredit lending model accompanied by business and leadership training, health initiatives, sexual violence education, social justice programming, and more. WGEF helps these communities transform by becoming their own advocates and creating their own solutions to move themselves forward.

Women's Global Empowerment Fund was founded upon the belief that microfinance can be a revolutionary concept, and when bundled with educational programming, can build social capital and increase the potential for women's empowerment and success.

Our objective is to provide women with the framework necessary to create viable opportunities for themselves and their families. Through proven grassroots strategies, marginalized women are given the tools necessary to alleviate poverty and thus facilitate sustainable development, self-determination, leadership opportunities and empowerment.

WGEF isn't staffed by Westerners sitting behind desks, rather, it employs young and committed Ugandans, who want to work in and support their communities and nation. Our staff in Gulu visit members across the region, in villages, farms, and businesses, launched with microloans that average just $59. WGEF works on the ground to secure local resources and establish community spaces (for example, WGEF opened the Gulu Women's Resource Centre in 2017 to provide a regional gathering space for meetings, rallies, computer access, skills workshops, and more), and to facilitate community-run trainings on topics like Youth and Citizen Engagement and Human Rights and Justice. For WGEF, it's about listening-and providing the tools and access for women to forge their own recovery and success.

A by-the-numbers snapshot of WGEF's achievements:

• 35,190: Microloans distributed to help women launch businesses (more than 8,000 loans are focused on local food security).

• 6,100: Women who've participated in literacy training (more than half of those in the last two years).

• 8+ Million: Locally made sanitary pads distributed to 24 schools and three refugee camps through the Healthy Periods Initiative (HPI), giving girls and women a way to manage menstrual hygiene, stay in school, and fight social stigma.

* In 2022, 368 girls prevented from being forced into early and forced marriage thru our Family Mediation Program.

• 572 women to date who are leading in their communities as elected officials; at the village, district and regional level. This is truly an inspiring example of sustainable human development and women's empowerment.

WGEF staff are constantly working with members and community leaders to develop responsive programming. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and growing food insecurity in the region, WGEF is supporting women farmers and local food supplies; ensuring that farmers have access to capital and ensure the supply chain for the region and S. Sudan will continue. Additionally, through our Gulu Women's Resource Center, staff register cases of domestic violence as a result of social isolation; facilitate dialogue between community, families, and leaders; create awareness campaigns; strengthen community-based advocacy and activism around human rights and justice, and more.

Organization Data


Organization name

Women's Global Empowerment Fund

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, Education, Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, Health Care

Organization Size

Small Organization


PO Box 6283
Denver, CO 80206

Service areas

Denver County, CO, US

Gulu, Northern Region, UG

Limonade, Nord Department, HT


303 520 7656



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