Giving Girls and Women Marketable Skills for Livelihoods
Location: Mbale, Uganda
Rockflower is partnering with the Ugandan Women Advocacy and Development Services (UWADS) to implement a project where 70 young women obtain practical and marketable skills training, so that they can participate in the social and economic development of the community and bring about the change that is desperately needed to fight the prevailing extreme poverty.
Located in Eastern Uganda, a green and mountainous landscape with an estimated population of 488,980 people. Mbale has one of the highest birth rates in the country with an average woman having 9 children. Schools are not good, only 2 out of 100 3rd grade pupils can read at the appropriate level whilst 7th grade is the highest level of education for over 3/4 of the population. Women and girls suffer from lack of schooling and the average age for a girls to get pregnant is 14.
Due to many socio-economic factors in the region, Mbale’s girls are especially vulnerable. Mbale has some of the highest school dropout rates and teenage pregnancy rates in the country. The causes range from: cultural beliefs - parents not believing in investing in girls’ education, many families not being able to afford the high cost of education, or parents being disappointed after a teen pregnancy and therefore unwilling to use their meagre resources to send the young women back to school. It is one reason that this part of the country has become a source of domestic worker/human trafficking to local and foreign cities.
There is also a large number of girls who have dropped out of school after attaining some secondary education schooling, and whilst these young women are literate, the parents having already invested at least 7- 9 years in their education but they have no certifiable qualification to either seek employment or further their education. This then exposes them to getting married at an early age or leaving for cities to work as domestic workers. Yet, if these young women got an opportunity to have a practical and marketable skill, they would be able to earn a living and change their lives, the lives of their children, families and the community at large.
This endeavor will ensure young women receive practical livelihood skills in hair dressing, baking, mushroom farming, vegetable growing and other widely grown cereals. All of these have a ready market in the communities and nearby townships and can directly affect income production. Although the direct beneficiaries will be the young women, the ripple effect will include their children—for those that are teenage mothers, their families and the community as a whole.
Women Advocacy and Development Services
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