Economic Empowerment Project for Women and Girls with Disabilities

Project Summary:

Women and Girls with Disabilities (WGDs) are discriminated against and excluded from employment and economic opportunities and are among the poorest in their communities. They do not own what they produce because the land belongs to their family members. They lack the required collateral to enable them secure credit for investment, and the majorities are single mothers without any source of income. Their children starve and end up on the streets, hence, a social problem for society. Financial service providers and employers are hesitant to take on WGDs even when they qualify for the job because they equate disability to inability to perform.

WGDs live in a series of unstable relationships because society considers them less eligible partners. Men do not want to identify with WGDs in public; they just crawl to their houses at night only to satisfy their sexual desires. This exposes them to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases; and as such, they cannot engage in productive work because of poor health. This poses a risk of falling deeper into poverty and despair. WGDs do not have legal options when relationships turn violent. The project seeks to promote economic independence and improved livelihoods among Women and Girls with Disabilities in Iganga District.

Project Description:

This project intends to empower economically through entrepreneurship and product value addition skills training in Iganga District of Uganda. The project will include, Conducting an entrepreneurial needs assessment and asset mapping, Developing a project beneficiary selection criteria and selecting them, and Conducting a one-day community awareness meeting. A five-day entrepreneurship skills training of the 20 WGDs, covering saving and credit management, records management, marketing, buying and costing of goods and services plus business planning. The training will conclude with ongoing training on value addition including post-harvest handling, processing of high-value porridge flour, and packaging/tinning of cereals such as maize, millet, groundnuts, and soya beans.

Overall, the intern will have an opportunity to interact with community members and learn about disability, culture, and economic activities in the project area, design the selection criteria forms, draft press releases and engage the media in promoting positive attitudes towards Women and Girls with Disabilities.

The project is in line with IDIWA Economic Empowerment and Livelihoods thematic area, which is a key component that seeks to promote sustainable livelihoods among Women, with Disabilities and other vulnerable groups through agricultural production and value addition, entrepreneurship, and microfinance services.

Community Impact:

The project will improve WGDs entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to efficiently engage in small income-generating businesses. It will increase household incomes; add value to different cereals and crops and reduce wastage and loss caused by post-harvest handling. Beneficiaries will buy cereals and other produce from able-bodied family and community members and add value to the produce. By buying the produce from the community, the trained 20 WGDs will be providing a market and enabling the community to earn from their farm produce. The project has a multiplier effect and is scalable; beneficiaries will pass on the skills learned to other members of their households and communities on a voluntary basis.

Intern/volunteer profile:

The successful student should have a background in Social Sciences, Social Work and Social Administration, Development Studies or Education, with good interpersonal skills, and the ability to work and lead a team. The English language is preferred for communication, and translation will be done by IDIWA staff or any other from the community. Applicants will be required to submit a CV as well as go through a phone interview for the vetting process before your placement is confirmed.

Description of Community Partner:

Integrated Disabled Women Activities (IDIWA) is an indigenous voluntary, not-for-profit non-Governmental Organization established in 2000 by women of different disability categories including physical and sensory disabilities together with parents of children with disabilities from the Iganga District. The establishment of IDIWA came out of the realization that women and girls with disabilities face heightened discrimination on account of gender and disability. They are among the poorest in their communities and efforts to address their plight are hindered by a lack of coordination and sufficient information. This necessitated the birth of IDIWA to design self-help community-based development programs for women and girls with disabilities in Uganda

IDIWA’s mission is to Empower Women and Girls with Disabilities, and other vulnerabilities to maximize their potential and improve their standard of living. IDIWA visualizes an inclusive society in which human rights, citizenship, and potential of Women, People with Disabilities, and other vulnerable groups are respected, the overall goal of IDIWA is to improve the quality of life of Women People with Disabilities, and other vulnerable groups in Uganda.