To empower the women we need to empower the whole community
We believe that empowerment - be it women's empowerment or economic empowerment is the responsibility of the whole community. Today, men hold the power and until they are empowered to empower the women to become empowered nothing will change.
We work with the whole community, educating and encouraging the men to work together in partnership with their wives and families.
Through teaching men to be carpenters (and girls and women if they want) and women to sew and make beads (and boys and men if they want) we are seeing a positive shift in attitudes.
Men and boys now share the workload of fetching water and firewood, working in the gardens and sharing responsibility of the money they are earning from the crops.
"Go back to the UK and tell the world about the challenges that face women in northern Uganda"
This was the message given to Seeds for Development Founder Alison Hall in 2015.
At an impromptu village meeting The Twenty Club was born. There were 20 women there wanting to make a change in their community.
They had nobody to turn to and felt increasingly isolated as their families (often their sons) would force them from their homes, following the death of their husband.
The women were banished to the bush where they had to rely on kindness or forage for food and water. At that meeting we decided to start a group to give them a collective voice.
You can hear them deliver the message in the video below.
That simple act of solidarity, and some new T-Shirts, has transformed these women from victims to leaders.
The group holds regular meetings (no men allowed) and membership has grown to around 50, but they are still called The Twenty Club!
They now feel empowered and move around the community, visiting women, families and schools. They talk to girls and parents about the importance of staying in school. They explain about periods and how you get pregnant. They educate families and classrooms about basic hygiene and sanitation, helping prevent diseases such as Malaria. Their confidence is contagious and we can see how their own lives have improved as well as the lives of everyone they meet along the way.
Everything they teach was taught to them through the Community Workshops that Seeds for Development fund and we look forward to more Twenty Clubs being set up in the region.
The background to The Twenty Club
Margaret and the women of Parabongo share the challenges they face around domestic violence, the role of girls and boys and their ideas of what needs to be done.
From this impromptu meeting came The Twenty Club. These women now feel empowered and move around the community educating girls and women on health, sanitation and income generating activities. They are key to preventing Malaria and child pregnancies and the results are evident.
We are doing everything we can to empower them further by running workshops and giving them ID badges to visit schools.