RWIDF empowers hundreds of women and youth in 22 years of existence

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Rukungiri Women Integrated Development Foundation-(RWIDF) has for the last 22 years been focusing on empowerment of grassroots women and youth living in rural areas of Rukungiri district.

RWIDF believes that economic empowerment of women not only positively impacts their own life situations but is also central to mobilizing their potential for sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

Many of the grassroots women and youth are now involved in small businesses such as selling liquid soap, craft shoes and bags, jewelry made out of beads, locally made half cakes, chapatti’s, making of tie and dye clothes, selling agricultural produce, among others.

The project enhances networks of women through intense training programs that equip them with skills to help them earn a living, vital for survival in the competitive globalized environment.

RWIDF is a Non-Governmental women’s organization based in Rukungiri District Uganda with a mandate to enhance the skills, livelihoods and well-being of women and youth in order to mobilize communities and increase awareness of water, sanitation and hygienic standards, income promotion/credit scheme, reproductive health, food security, education, good governance and human rights advocacy.

It operates in two districts of Rukungiri and Mitooma in Sub Counties of Bitereko, Kyiyanga, Kanyabwanga, Ruhinda, Kebisoni, Buhunga, Nyarushanje and Bwambara to improve the skills, livelihoods, and general wellbeing of women and young people.

The organization joins forces with local community leaders and government leaders so as to create powerful coalitions to advance the interests of women and girls.

Thanks to the UN Women and the Supreme Council for Women that is led by Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa for this initiative.

Vivian Ninsiima, the Gender and Advocacy Manager for RWIDF spoke with over 500 women and young girls in Bwambara Sub County in Rukungiri district whereby she expressed her gratitude for zeal, attitude and determination the women have towards transforming their lives.

She also noted that RWIDF's efforts are now yielding impressive results; she added that RWIDF is determined to continue supporting them.

“We believe that these trainings have given you the much-needed hands-on training experience to enable you been economically independent” Ninsiima said.

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As an organization, Ninsiima added, they keep an eye on case management, for instance, noting that this year, the number of domestic cases rose from 300 to 500, and that the proportion of reported cases of violence against women and children that were successfully resolved increased from 15% to 30%, marking a significant accomplishment for the organization.

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RWIDF Programs Manager, Anthony Byamukama, explained that the organization’s goal is to increase the income of rural women and girls.

He added that by recognizing and eliminating gender inequalities there is great potential for women to act as a powerful resource for development in the region.

As an organization, Byamukama said that they have been leading a transformative movement in Rukungiri that aims to uplift women, strengthen communities, and pave the way for a bright future for these communities.

In the meantime, Ms. Hellen Kabajungu, the Executive director (ED) of Rukungiri Women Integrated Development Foundation (RWIDF), told our reporter over the phone that RWIDF’s objective at the time of formation in 2002 was to uplift the status of rural women by achieving economic dependence for the wellbeing of their families.

She added that RWIDF has empowered over 1000 women and girls today and has taken reforms to give men and women equal rights and opportunity to economic resources, and improved access to control and ownership over productive resources, land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance, and natural resources.

She said that they have also included men in fighting violence against women and children; this has strengthened the relationship between men and women to work hand in hand together for development.

Ms. Kabajungu revealed that with great work, cases of domestic violence have been adjudicated in courts of law, local council ones among others, as this has been a significant accomplishment.

According to Hellen Kabajungu, RWIDF is devoted and determined to create a nation of women and girls who would boldly contribute to the development of Uganda.

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Since it began in 2002, hundreds of individuals have already profited from it, and they are now running enterprises that are providing for their families and way of life.