Rural women empowerment with Entrepreneurship and small scale Business start ups

Project Summary:

 The Women Empowerment Internship Uganda will focus on training and mentoring vulnerable women and their families in rural communities of Jinja with basic Entrepreneurship and Small-scale business startups skills.   Uganda is a developing country with a high number of vulnerable women among others including widows, single mothers, women affected and infected by HIV/AIDS, grandmothers, domestic violence victims, and women living in extreme poverty. With a high level of vulnerability, most women are illiterate, have no source of income, can’t afford a meal for their children, and lack opportunities to thrive. Nonetheless, they have the will to work and get themselves out of this situation if supported.

 Women’s vulnerability arises from their unequal social status and from unequal power relations, which accord women less access to and control over assets and resources than men and less right to participate in decision making’ (Keller et al. 2002: i). Therefore, many women find themselves in the informal sector. Unfortunately, the majority of women lack basic entrepreneurship skills, and sufficient access to capital, markets, and collateral, all of which are necessary for helping them start and grow their small businesses.  There is a need to support and aid vulnerable women with entrepreneurship skills to help them reduce their economic poverty. 

By contributing to the women empowerment programs in Uganda, you will be able to contribute to alleviating the poverty out of the many vulnerable women and their families and enable them to create sustainable livelihoods.

 Project Description:

 The Women Empowerment Program will be providing women groups with basic business/entrepreneurship training and mentoring them on managing small startup loans for small-scale business development.  It will involve meeting and interacting with women in their groups within their communities and creating interactive training methods that will improve women’s entrepreneurial and Small-scale business startups skills. The project will also disseminate basic health information to the women alongside supporting them to startup small businesses, managing their small startup loans, and extending mentorship to them.  The ultimate objective is to empower vulnerable women to fight poverty and become self-sufficient and have the capacity to provide a meal, education, and other basic needs to their children and themselves.

 The Volunteer/Intern will learn about the Sustainable Development model of empowering rural women and the dynamics of micro-financing/micro-enterprises for women at the grass-root level.  You will learn about how vulnerable women in Uganda make a living and care for their families while contributing to women empowerment programs in an international context.  You will share experiences with the women and communities.

 Community impact:

 This program will reduce Women’s financial vulnerability and raise their ability to afford basic necessities of life.  Their small businesses will be strengthened by the acquired basic entrepreneur literacy that will help them manage wall the small loans they get from our community partner organization, Sustain Microenterprise (SME).  

 Intern/Volunteer profile:

 The successful student/Volunteer should have a background in Social Sciences, Social Work and Social Administration, Development Studies, Gender studies, Education or Finance studies 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 SME staff. Applicants will be required to submit a CV as well as go through a phone interview for the vetting process before their placement is confirmed.

 Community Description:

 The local community organization you will work with is Sustain Microenterprise (SME).  SME is located in Nyenga, Buikwe District, Uganda in a rural setting with a staff of three. It is 12.5km away from Jinja town. SME utilizes the group model when providing microloans to vulnerable women. The requirement for the women to benefit is to come together and form a group of between 5 and 15 women. A member of the group qualifies to access the start-up capital after attending business training on profit and loss, marketing, customer care, and business diversification among other topics, facilitated by Business Mentors. The loans are given on a revolving basis of 6 months.  Once the small loan is paid back, it is given to another woman within a group.   SME offers full-time Business Mentorship support for all women groups running businesses with SME small loans.