The presidential initiative on skilling girls has fought poverty-Faridah Mayanja

By Tonny Akankwatsa

The presidential Initiative of skilling the girl child started in March 2017 by the President of Uganda to empower the girl child. The initiative is focused on equipping girls aged between 16 – 30 with hands on skills such as in Tailoring, Knitting, Weaving, Bakery, Confectionary, Shoemaking and Hairdressing.

Faridah Mayanja, project manager

Since its inception, the program has benefited so far 17,309 girls. Currently 4,292 girls have been admitted in the 6 different centers where the program is being implemented. These centers include; Wandegeya Center located at Wandegeya Market Northern Wing, Subway Center located between UBC TV and Crested Tower, Nankulabye Center located at Our Lady of Fatina Catholic Church, Kigowa Center located at Ntinda Catholic Church, Luzira Center located at Luzira Prison Training School Mutundwe center located at Church of Uganda and the recent addition Katanga center.  

Its purpose

The end goal is to reduce the unemployment rates of female youth through creating jobs and a realization of dreams as the girls start up their own businesses and uplift others. By using the acquired skills, they are able to earn some money to sustain themselves and their families, thereby reducing the dependency syndrome.

When women are empowered the whole community stands to benefit as they are in a position to contribute to the economic development of the country.  “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, and you feed him a lifetime, this is a common adage we subscribe to as a program,” says Faridah Mayanja, program overseer.

Faridah handing over facilities for self-start up businesses to graduates

“When women are equipped with the right skills and given capital, we believe they can revolutionize their lives and will no longer be slaves to poverty” she added.

According to her, “we are equipping the girl child with skills that will last with them a life time and enable them earn a living, by doing this, we are reducing poverty by facilitating self sufficiency. We are teaching them a trade and  a way of doing business so that they may earn an honest livelihood and not be forced to dreadful alternatives of holding out their hands for charity or prostitution.”

Level of impact

Looking at how many girls have so far benefited from the project; those that have graduated per intake.  By far,” 662 graduated in the first intake, 4289 in the second and third intake, 3785 awaiting graduation, they did exams in December, 4,281 last year and 4,292 currently enrolled.” 

Some of the beneficiaries

Only “Ugandan Nationals are considered for the program,” especially girls aged between 16 – 30 years. All girls are admitted, whether you have attained any education or with no formal education background as long as you show passion and are willing to work hard.

“Upon graduation, the girls are given capital inform of Cash and equipment to start up their own business depending on the course pursued by the student. One million (UGX1, 000,000) is given to each individual girl, for example if a girl pursued tailoring, she is given a tailoring machine,” Faridah explained. The centers have program coordinators and administrators who follow up with the students offering them guidance and support according to the identified need. The girls also endeavor to check in with their trainers to report on progress. 

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