From a Pilot Project to a Partnership Programme: A Success Story from Uganda

Since 2008, KIOS has supported NAWOU in seeking to promote women’s rights in Uganda. NAWOU’s projects have increased the knowledge of human rights, women’s participation in decision-making, and their leadership skills. As a result of a successful cooperation KIOS and NAWOU will be starting a partnership programme in 2010.

The National Association of Women Organizations in Uganda (NAWOU), the umbrella organization for Ugandan women’s organizations, was registered in 1992 and has more than 70 national and over 1500 community-based organizations as its members. NAWOU strives to strengthen women’s movement in Uganda In addition, it seeks to support women’s movement’s work to promote women’s rights and improve the socio-economic situation.

KIOS started funding NAWOU in 2008. NAWOU received 28 400 euros from KIOS in 2008 to a project aiming to train grassroots-level women leaders on human rights and leadership and thus increase their capacity to act as human rights activists. The project also aimed to activate communities to take part in promotion of human rights.

Photo: KIOS

Photo: KIOS

The project was executed in remote areas with the focus on the promotion of the rights of poor rural women, one of the most vulnerable groups in the society. In rural areas, state structures are often weak and people are not aware of their rights. Women become victims of domestic violence and rapes. They do not have proper possibilities for education. Customary law is especially strong in rural areas, and it discriminates women in questions concerning e.g. marriage, divorce, inheritance and property ownership.

“We call on you women of Uganda – Wake up if you’ve not yet embraced your role” (Uganda Women’s Anthem)

The project started with a planning meeting of the representatives of the organizations and public authorities, in which the need for training was assessed and training and information material (manual, posters and brochures) was drafted. During the project, more than 60 human rights activists, both women and men, were trained. The trained activist continued campaigning in their communities. New human rights groups were formed, and human rights education was started in one school. Through campaigning, approximately 600 persons were reached. In addition, meetings between the activists and local leaders were organized.

Photo: KIOS

Photo: KIOS

After the project, human rights knowledge has increased not only among women but also men and community leaders. Women have been able to participate in decision-making in their communities and they have been nominated as candidates in local elections. Thanks to the training, women’s leadership skills have improved. Besides women, also men have actively participated in the implementation of the project, which is very important for the realization of women’s rights in the long run. NAWOU as an NGO has benefited a lot from the project: it has become more known and respected, its network has increased and it has got new members.

Elisa Mikkola and Sari Naskinen from KIOS took part in the launch of the project in April 2008, and they visited NAWOU’s office again in September 2009. NAWOU Secretary General Peace Kyamureku visited Finland in October 2008 and participated in KIOS 10th anniversary seminar.

Photo: KIOS

Photo: KIOS

This project was meant to be a pilot that can be expanded elsewhere in Uganda. Based on the good experiences from the project KIOS and NAWOU continued their cooperation in 2009 as KIOS granted NAWOU 79 100 euro for a project including the training of new human rights activists, observation of the realization of women’s rights and a broader information and advocacy work. In the beginning of 2010 KIOS and NAWOU started a partnership programme which aims to increase the cooperation and information sharing of Ugandan human rights NGOs.


Related organisations

  • National Association of Women Organisations in Uganda