Zadock Amanyisa

Countryside Reports, Buhweju

Mrs. Katwesigye speaking during the belated Women’s day celebrations in Buhweju district on Friday, 29th March 2019. PHOTO BY ZADOCK AMANYISA

On Friday, 29th March 2019, hundreds gathered at Bushozi play group in Nyakishana sub county, Buhweju district to celebrate the belated International Women’s Day under the Theme: Empowering women through innovative approaches for social protection: A pre-requisite for inclusive and sustainable development.

The Parliament of Uganda Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanya who was the Guest of Honor stated that called for a need to use the day to assess how government policies, rules and budget helping Women to raise above several challenges on their way.

“Today we commemorate the international women’s day, the time we assess the policies of Government, the time that we assess the laws that we have put in place, it’s the time we look into the budget  to see how we can transform the lives of women in Uganda, because the woman is that who is born a female, not the big one who is getting married.” Said Oulanya

 He added: “On a day like this we should ask questions of how policies, rules and budgets of government are holding the hand of this little girl in this country and walk with this girl through maturity, school, health, education until she becomes a responsible woman in Uganda because the woman is our daughter, the one, men marry as wife, our mother, grandmother. We use this day to remind us altogether that we should respect the women of this country,”

Oulanya’s speech rotated around helping the Woman to grow into a responsible being in the country right from the day she is born to the time when she is an old woman of value.

The Buhweju District Woman Member of Parliament, Mrs. Oliver Katwesigye Koyekyenga has participated in changing the lives of Women in Buhweju district through empowering them to develop despite the prevailing social challenges including domestic violence, maternal mortality, poverty and high levels of illiteracy.

She has recently encouraged women to form Women Savings and Credit Groups, which will be pivotal in boosting financial inclusion and empowerment among women accorss the district.

Over 233 groups have been formed at village/cell level and in these groups, Women will be pooling money for saving and borrowing. This will in the long run increase business investment and beneficiaries will be able to access financial services.

According to Mrs. Katwesigye, the scheme will encourage financial inclusion, boost household income, nutrition and food security and also elevate women in their communities as well as empowering them to stand for elective leadership positions come 2019 when they have gained power in their households.

Different teams have been deployed in different parts of the district to take the groups through financial literacy sessions, so as to facilitate success, and sustainability. During the sessions, awareness of the women own human rights is made to equip them work against all forms of gender inequality in communities.

“The program has been incited by the critical levels of poverty surrounded by other challenges including illiteracy, maternal mortality rates placing the women in underprivileged positions and disadvantages working against them in Buhweju.” Mrs Katwesigye said during the launch of the savings scheme.

The scheme was launched by Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanya during the Women’s day celebrations at Bushozi playground.

Open to all women regardless of religious and political affiliations, the formation of groups is also intended to rally women get to work for their livelihood instead of being used in political rallies only according to Mr. Jerome Mwesigwa, Mrs. Katwesigye’s political assistant.

He told Countryside Reports that their target is making these groups turning the groups into village banks when each group has at least more than 200 million Ugandan shillings.

Mrs. Katwesigye is a member of every group, and she is also focusing on lobbying support from government and external organisations.

At the function, the visiting Members of Parliament from the districts of Kamwenge, Lyantonde, Kabale, and Kisoro contributed 500,000 each towards the saving scheme. The Buhweju County MP, Mr. Francis Mwijukye also contributed 2 million towards the project.

The saving scheme comes at a time when Buhweju has already received about 349 million Uganda shillings for the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP), which is a deliberate intervention to uplift the status and income of women in Uganda.

Women have been advised to the development programs in a proper way since the money they are getting is a seed so that they can harvest at the end.