In many regions of Uganda, rural women live below the poverty line, and food is scarce. Women must work on farms simply to keep enough food on the table to feed their families.
With the goal of empowering rural women and helping to address these needs, Action for Rural Women’s Empowerment (ARUWE) was founded in 2000 in Kampala. It offered courses to rural women about food security, income generation, health, literacy, and more—critical issues for women in the region, who had few resources available to them.
“The rural women had issues that were inhibiting them from actively participating in their social development,” says Agnes Mirembe, Action for Rural Women’s Empowerment’s current Programs Manager.
But when the organization began, it had little funding and no international support.
Fast forward to today, 13 years after ARUWE received its first grant from Global Fund for Women in 2004: ARUWE now helps many communities within the central and north-eastern regions of Uganda. In addition to offering trainings on organic sustainability farming and business management, ARUWE teaches the rural women it works with about their rights—health, land, and economic rights.
“Some of the women we are working with have just finished voting election exercises, and we have two that are working on local level councils,” explains Agnes. “There they can represent and talk about the issues that the women are really struggling with. It’s a beautiful thing to have leaders come out of the people that we are working with.”