With the support of the grant from African Women Development Fund in 2009, Ntulume Village Women Development Association (NVIWODA) built the capacity of 39 women member entrepreneurs, in the use and application of ICTs for enterprise development.
The project was carried out in two Regions of Uganda e.g.Central and Western. Thirty nine (39), entrepreneurs and community based women group leaders benefited from the entrepreneurship and information and communication technology (ICT’s) capacity building workshops, which were conducted in Kabarole and Kampala Districts.
Awareness creation and Training the women in use and application of Mobile phones as an accessible and affordable ICT’s tool changed many women lives.
During evaluation women said the projects demystified technology and improved their self esteem and self confidence. “We no longer fear to neither touch a computer nor manipulate our phones, Sarah commented” after training.
A question rises, as to why we train rural women in ICT’s. On a happy note majority rural women practice agricultural and find it very difficult to market their agriculture outputs.
Introducing women to effectively use their mobile phones in accessing market was another benefit to the women. They now know the price of the crops and gain confidence to negotiate with the buyers.
As an organization, building women capacity in ICTs eases communications with its target via sms, because women have learnt to read their SMS messages.
However on a sad note many women find it challenging to access and use and the tools like computers and internet because of existing poor infrastructure in rural areas and limited connectivity, high costs of the internet also aggravates the situation.
On 29th June 2013, the African Women Development Fund (AWDF), Dr Rudith King- evaluator for AWDF- Ghana and Zeytuna Abdella Azasoo- who is a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist visited Uganda to evaluate the project. NVIWODA invited some beneficiaries to share their experiences and voice out the benefits gained from the grant
Women had this to say:-
Ms. Etheldrada Yatuuha who is engaged in Doll making as her enterprise, said that NVIWODA trained her in ICT’S and, I have benefited quite a lot as I have been able to diversify and access market, gain knowledge on product development and designs at the same time advertise via internet. Today she sells her dolls in Washington DC, through a buyer namely Njamba Kuria, all Business deal is conducted online with reduced costs.
St.Bruno Doll Making Group has also been accessed by Global Vital Voices an NGO based in U.S.A, who have also built her artisan capacity to improve on her products quality standards. “It was my first time to travel to Nairobi and attend the workshop, I received my air ticket electronically” all this is attributed to NVIWODA who built my capacity to use ICT’s.
For orders with in Kampala, we do not loose time to deliver our products because we use a mobile phone to interact with our customers, receive orders and deliver using the quickest means of transport the motorcycle in Uganda, locally known as “Boda Boda”
Because I am empowered to use ICT’s tools, St. Bruno Doll Making Group has created a face book page; we advertise our products for Free reducing the advertisement costs.
Currently I am studying a degree in Theology online and will be graduating next year 2014, from College for Global Deployment.
Regina Batabaire, who is an entrepreneur and a member of Reach out to the Wives of the soldiers Association (RWOSA), is also a beneficiary of the NVIWODA ICT’s project, she had this to say.
“Being a wife of the soldier, I had lagged behind but by joining women I have improved my human potential and after training in ICT workshop organized by NVIWODA, I now have an email address contact. I further trained and perfectly learnt to use a computer. I am now a trainer of other women in my group.
Regina made the evaluator laugh when she said that “I own a business and money is no longer my problem”. Regina runs a canteen at the same time she is an ICT manager at RWOSA Project.
Judith Nsubuga also a CBO member of NVIWODA noted that, she is an old woman, but she is well equipped with technological tool standards. She can also access and apply ICTs in her daily life. Kabaawo Women’s Cooperative Savings and Credit Society, a women group she belongs to, applies ICTs through managing their financial transactions and also has developed a training centre for their members.
Maria Muriisa who is an individual member of NVIWODA, works in hand with her husband under, “Kwetu Africa” the company produces bags, table mats, necklace from recycled paper materials.
Maria says, before she trained in ICT’s they were selling their products through the third party and it was impossible for her to obtain and directly access the market of their products. But after learning how to use internet, Maria is happy to reach her market personally and sales have increased.
Mugalula Jessica says “I am happy to access the internet as this has improved my bakery enterprise. I can now find and learn from various updated cake designs, hence increased customers and sales.
With the grant the organization bought a a Laptop and internet connection too, because it is portable it helped the training of women in both regions. Documenting has become much easier unlike before, when we frequented the internet cafes in Kampala, to type our work and communicate with development partners, members and public. However, the organization seeks more support to acquire more computers for its office.
A lot of testimonials from members were enriching success stories of the impact of AWDF grant support to NVIWODA, and these stories were from few beneficiaries that were reached at that moment.
The entrepreneurs show cased the products, to exhibit their success..
LONG LIVE NVIWODA LONG LIVE African Women Development Fund (AWDF).