Empowering women is just one facet of Just Like My Child's mission of improving the quality of life for the women and children in rural villages in Uganda. It gives me great pride and pleasure to share some astounding results I have received from our empowerment expert, Monica Nyiraguhabwa. She did some follow up from an empowerment workshop she did at the Namumira Primary School (Vicki Malinchak School) we just completed. I sat in my office and cried to think that we have helped these girls to see they have a choice about their lives and their bodies.
Here are a few comments made by the girls:
-I gained self Confidence
-I discovered ways of building my self esteem.
-I learnt how to make wise decisions.
-With disappointments you can still move on.
-I unlearned the mentality that men are stronger than women
Don't get me wrong, we still have so much work that needs to be done, but this a really wonderful first step.
Monica's report states the following:
"The emphasis in the training is put on the social survival skills since the young women in Uganda are living in an environment that does not respect their rights and thus the girl child is very vulnerable. For example, 86.9 percent of rape victims in Uganda are between the ages of 9 and 17 and Uganda has the highest percentage of teenage pregnancy in sub Saharan Africa. Therefore the empowerment training is spot on as it aims to empower the young women to protect themselves in the different environment, which do not respect their rights.
"Namumira Primary Schools is one of the schools that has benefited from Just Like My Child who put up classroom structures to ensure that both girls and boys get access to education in a clean and safe learning environment. JLMC went further to introduce the girl power project where 40 girls benefited form the mentoring training in 2010. The two-day training focused on social survival skills, the power of social intelligence, peer pressure, communication skills, puberty and the menstruation cycle.
"Therefore a year after the training, Just Like My Child returned to the school to conduct an evaluation. This exercise was meant to identify the emerging issues, check on the progress of the girls in their individual lives and how they have been able to use the knowledge that they acquired in the two-day training.
"... the young women from the follow-up empowerment workshops have gained self-confidence, learned to deal with troubling situations, built self esteem, learned to choose friends wisely, unlearned the mentality that men are stronger than women, how to make a wise decisions, and that their facial expressions communicate what they felt. Overall, the analysis of the entire process of the evaluation proved significant and the trainees had 'acquired knowledge about the various issues facilitated to them and thus were able to add value to their own lives.' "