Initially, UWCM trained and supported individual women on how to live positively with HIV/AIDS and these women then went out to encourage and support other women in similar situations within their communities. They offered spiritual and emotional support and friendship, as well as advice on basic healthcare and nutrition.
This then evolved into larger groups of approx. 30 women supported by UWCM. Each group is encouraged to start small income-generating projects (both on an individual and group basis) eg selling vegetables, dressmaking, bee keeping, goat rearing which helps to raise confidence among members. It also increases their household income so that the women can meet some of the household needs and therefore reduce the total dependence on men. In addition, it helps to improve women’s bargaining power in society. They are also trained on issues relating to HIV/AIDS, family life, personal hygiene and sanitation and groups are encouraged to care for orphans within their communities.
Groups can also nominate the most needy families/individuals for funding from ‘Sarah’s Shelters’ and will then mobilise the community to help build a new home (shelter) for that family.
“When my husband died I didn’t know what to do. UWCM gave me the help I needed. I did not waste any of that help. I have been able to take my children to school, build a house and have a cow. I owe a lot to UWCM. Thank you so much.” Grace, Bubirabi District.
Luzzi Church Women’s Group in Luzzi village, Sisiyi Sub-County in the Bulambuli District is a very good example of how working together as a group can really lift individual households as well as whole communities.
They have been trained in group dynamics, home and family management, sanitation and community managed micro finance. Individual members have benefitted from improved family incomes and gained skills and knowledge that have improved their development. At community level, there is noticeable food security, diversification of income generating projects and efficient energy use including the acquisition of solar lighting for over 600 families.
See below for a video of Ramba Shifubi Women’s group greeting us as we arrived to help them build a new shelter for a needy family within their community.