For the women in the Nakawuka community life had been extremely difficult. Many were struggling to earn enough money to make a living, support their families and send their children to school.
Alcohol abuse is prevalent among the men in Nakawuka and therefore the responsibilities of running a family have fallen on the women. A typical day for the ladies in Nakawuka would consist of cooking, cleaning and walking long, tiring and difficult journeys to collect water. Any free time would be spent out in the fields digging or selling tea and cassava at the side of the road.
That was until the I AM GIRL (IAG) Programme was initiated in their community and everything changed.
The first task for the IAG team was to set up a village health team (VHT) within Nakawuka. This involved training a selection of ladies in sanitation and hygiene, child protection, gender based violence and the empowerment of women. After three months of training the VHT members are now responsible for regularly visiting the homes in their community to provide help, counselling and training to other women and young girls.
The VHT were then asked to invite girls and women from the community to attend further I AM GIRL training. During this time they were taught about menstrual hygiene management, how to make re-usable sanitary pads and clothing like dresses, shorts and jumpers. In total, 29 women and 1 man completed their training and were awarded certificates. This was a huge encouragement and has already made a big impact on the wider community.
Following the training, Harriet and Lydia (pictured) started their own tailoring business which has been successfully running from their home. In a short space of time Harriet and Lydia have seen a number of great successes, for example; they are now earning an income and have been able to pay for their children’s school fees; they have been able to supply sanitary pads for the girls and women in their community who can now manage their menstrual cycle in a safe way and they are helping to produce school uniforms for their local school Jevovah Jireh Primary School.
They now hope to become one of the leading IAG tailoring firms in their district and through continuous growth they are aiming to create more employment opportunities for others. Not only has this project changed their lives and the lives of their family but it has also transformed their community.
“Equipping people with knowledge and the skills to change their lives, and in turn equip their communities, creates a sustainable cycle of transformation; that is our IAG goal” concludes Bridget, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Officer at Fields of Life East Africa.