Kampala- The African Development Bank (ADB) has given $50,000 (about Shs139.250 million) grant to Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited to build the capacity of rural women in enterprise development.
ADB officials said the fund responds strongly to the bank’s gender and private sector development strategies with emphasis on the role of women in business.
The fund also aims to empower women entrepreneurs, in particular Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), through better access to finance.
Speaking during the grant agreement hand-over ceremony at ADB offices in Kampala early in the week, the programme officer African Development, Mr Sebastian Okeke said: “The grant will enable the bank contribute to Uganda’s aspiration to diversify its exports base by providing the required stimulus training and employment in agro- processing and manufacturing. This will also increase exports of locally available products at a critical time when Uganda aspires to become a middle income country.”
Mr Okeke said the project will support building Uganda’s human capital skills by equipping rural women with practical skills in line with demands in the labour market and ensuring that standards of their products meets acceptable market by adding value to them.
He further explained that the project’s alignment to gender strategy is intended to support economic empowerment by increasing productivity of women farmers and facilitate inclusion in the market by providing the women with skills training in value addition.
“These skills will enable women groups to leverage locally available products, add value, package and market them regionally across borders,” he said.
ABOUT 90 WOMEN TO BE TRAINED
The board chairperson Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association, Dr Gudala Basaza, said the grant that has been given under the two-year project is going to cater for about 90 rural women in three districts of Bugiri, Masaka and Mpigi with each district having about 30 women being trained.
“By increasing their wealth skills, the women living in selected regions in the rural Uganda will be equipped with skills to build profitable, competitive and sustainable business,” Ms Basaza said.
She added: They will be able to create employment in their communities and improve the standards of living for themselves and those they employ who in the end contribute to the national development.”
Training: The proposed project intends to provide hands-on training in value addition in agro processing of products that will be identified through a situational analysis exercise.
Enterprise: It will enable women to utilise locally available agricultural products such as vanilla, Shea butter, fruits, and vegetables to create successful enterprises.
Value addition: It will also bridge the skills deficit in value addition required for transformation of available raw materials using appropriate technologies, and link the product to the market through networks.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor