Grant awarded to the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF)
In 2018,the Foundation will continue to partner with the WGEF for two programs: The expansion of the HPI and the Literacy Program. To address the issue of menstrual health, and the challenges women face with regard to access, hygiene and socio-cultural stigma, WGEF created the Healthy Period Initiative (HPI). WGEF plans to expand the program to the Lwengo District in southwestern Uganda. The goal is to create local economies that will provide resources and economic opportunities to women and communities thru manufacturing and microenterprise. The strategy is to create a local supply chain that can deliver sanitary products to the most vulnerable populations at little or no cost: school girls, refugees, displaced persons, and those who lack access to affordable products. Each individual center in the expansion will assess and determine a philanthropic strategy to serve the specific community. A percentage of product produced will be given to identified programs and households every month to ensure women and girls have what they need to manage their menstrual health with dignity. The Lwengo District has a population of 281,400 people of which 36% are school age girls. In the district, young girls are married off before they complete their primary school classes; this is due, in part, to lack of access to sanitary supplies and sanitation. A total of 20,656 young girls are at risk of dropping out school every year, yet for every year a girl stays in school, her future income increases with 10%-20% translating into a better future for herself, her family and community. The grant will also support of the Literacy Program. WGEF, in consult with the Ministry of Education, has developed a literacy program that is effective and responsive to the needs of its clients. The program is not solely about basic skills of reading and writing, it is about providing women with the ability to understand their lives and social environment as well as equipping them with problem-solving skills, family planning, nutrition and parenting information and resources. In 2017 WGEF provided 1,643 women the opportunity to attend literacy training for 8 months, twice weekly; including meals and childcare. The Foundation will fund 500 women for the year.
The Foundation has been pleased to assist WGEF with its programs since 2014. Funding from the McQuade Foundation over the past two years has helped to build the Gulu Women’s Resource Centre and computer lab which has helped provide essential training, support, information and education to women and girls in Northern Uganda. Funding in 2017 also supported the Health Periods Initiative (HPI) which is a microfinance and educational endeavor to address the critical issues around
menstrual health for women and girls and is now moving from the start-up phase into expansion and capacity building.