By Watchdog reporter
Gender minister Hajat Janat B. Mukwaya says the fruits of the Uganda Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP), channelled through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development are now very evident, with more groups making big strides in fighting poverty among women in Uganda.
Minister Mukwaya alongside the Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana and the Programme line managers are currently in Western Uganda particularly Kisoro, Ntungamo, Kabale, Kiruhura and Isingiro Districts on a Programme’s implementation monitoring exercise.
On Friday, the UWEP team alongside Kisoro District LC V Chairman Abbey Bizimana and the Kisoro Woman MP Rose Kabagyeni trekked the hilly district and were impressed with how the Programme was supporting women through provision of interest-free credit and technical advice on, among other things, value addition, technical advice, for purposes of making women major actors in the micro, small and medium scale enterprises subsector.
Among the groups visited was Gatabo Bacara Bakora women group that got Shs2.5million from UWEP and have paid back in full and remained with a balance of Shs2. 3million as profit.
The group leadership revealed that they had used part of their profits to procure goats or sheep for each member and they still have Sh1.3 million in cash while their business continues to thrive. They however requested for more funding to graduate to another business level.
The Minister also met members of Matyanzo Irish growing group that has paid up its credit of Shs7million and have a garden from which they expect to harvest over 40 sacks of Irish that will fetch more profit. The Gender Ministry, Kisoro District and sub county leaders are exploring ways of supporting the group to graduate into an Irish seedlings producing entity.
Under UWEP, the highest amount that authorities at district and sub county level can endorse for allocation to a particular group is Shs12.5million, but projects requiring more up to Shs25million can still receive funding with the approval of officials from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
The UWEP project is running under the tagline “Unlocking the business potential of the Ugandan woman”.
According to Frank Mugabi, the UWEP Communications Officer, the programme was designed along the same model as that of the Youth Livelihood Development Programme although with amendments in areas where key lessons have been documented.
He added that funding under the scheme is only available to women groups comprised of members within the age brackets of 18-65 years and each group is required to have between 10 and 15 members.
Distribution of funds is based on population of women, poverty levels and land area.