Katutandike - Let's Get Started - Transforming Lives in Uganda

Ka Tutandike support generates significant new income for the Umojja Women’s Group

The Umojja Women’s Group was started in 2007 on a grant of UGX 3,000,000 received from the Kampala City Council. Its founders were 3 female market vendors working in the Nakawa market led by Mudemuki Shamila who is the current focal person for Ka Tutandike Uganda for its project activities at the market, together with Ruka Bako and Achola Betty. Currently this group has a membership of 76 and the majority is beneficiaries of KTU’s Urban Market project in Naguru.

Over the last 2 years Ka Tutandike interventions have enabled these women with knowledge and skills to provide a better quality of life for themselves and their children. Training in organic agriculture has made it possible for these women to grow nutritional vegetables and fruits for sale as well as for their own consumption, thus providing them with a source of additional income. As a result their children are less prone to disease and malnutrition. With the provision of referral services to the Mwana Magimu health centre at the Mulago hospital, the mothers have been taught on how to detect ill health and conditions of malnutrition early and take appropriate treatment. Due to the partnerships initiated with nearby day care centres, the market women are able to go about their vending and earn an income, knowing that their children are safe and cared for instead of having to tie them up next to their stalls while letting them sleep on the market benches which was unsafe since it left them exposed to all sorts of dangers within the market and its surroundings.

This group was set up with the objective of working together to end the stigma and discrimination faced by female market vendors living with HIV/AIDS in and around the Nakawa market by helping to mobilize, guide and train the women in essential income generating skills. These skills included sewing of clothes and making of the paper bead necklaces so as to provide the women with an alternative way to make addition income and also to provide capital for the group upon sale of the finished jewelry.   Apart from income generated from the sale of necklaces and clothes, a group policy was established where UGX100 was collected from every member at each meeting along with the sale of group shares going for UGX2000 each. This has led to doubling their current earnings which enabled them to purchase a piece of land valued at UGX4,000,000 in Jomayi Estates Mukono on which they grow their own food for their own consumption and for sale.

Over the last six months Ka Tutandike has been providing new and innovative ideas and designs to the market women to enable them with the knowledge and creativity to create new ranges of paper bead jewelry. They also took a step further by providing used magazines for making the paper beads that the women previously had to buy from other sources. The Chair of KTTUK, Heidi Kruitwagen and the Development Advisor, Anisha Rajapakse have guided the members of Umojja women’s group to create new and fashionable designs which has significantly boosted their sales from previously earning UGX1000 per necklace to now being able to obtain a sale price of UGX25,000 per necklace when selling in Kampala. As a result of the increased earnings the women have bought a paper cutting machine, and are now earning a minimum daily income of approximately UGX100,000 just from jewelry sales. Due to this significant boost of their levels of income within just six months, more women have been able to pay school fees and enroll their children in day care centres and school, and provide new clothing and buy more nutritious foods for their children. Their levels of confidence and self esteem have increased considerably and the women are most eager to develop themselves further, learn more new skills in order to be self-reliant.

Discussions are currently underway to establish a social enterprise aligned to Ka Tutandike which would enable the female vendors to gain new skills training in other forms of income generation possibilities. Such a partnership would pave the way for greater economic empowerment and sustainability for the women whilst providing a return on investment for Ka Tutandike to sustain its valuable projects and programmes and benefit more vulnerable women and children.