By Grace Nakajje
Entrepreneurship the hope for Women in East Africa
Bishop Wandabula says that women must wake up. There is a huge need to address the burden of orphans and vulnerable children.
When Esther Nalongo heard about the Micro Finance of the United Methodist Women in Jinja Uganda, her enthusiasm was so high and opted to borrow money worth 50 US Dollars to start a small scale business of selling Charcoal.
Her idea was not bad but she did not put in mind what measures available to protect her business from collapsing.
During the Women’s entrepreneurship training recently, Nalongo announced that her business was no more.
“May be I went in for a wrong business. I injected in all the capital of 50 dollars and instead made losses. At the start the prices for charcoal seemed stable and I was successfully moving at the same pace with my competitors. I had a collection of clients. Unfortunately after three months, the prices at wholesale market elevated. My savings were not enough to meet my target and yet I had set certain standards to retain my clients. The business kept dwindling and I had no idea to convince my clients. Within six months my business was no more with either profits or capital” Nalongo narrated to over 100 women who had gathered at Wanyange United Methodist Women Training Center in Jinja East Africa.
Nalongo however said that she struggled to pay the loan from other sources and now she is just at home looking after her five year twin offspring.
The training was a women’s Division Regional Missionary Initiative.
The Regional Coordinator Sellu Elimira who is based in Sierealone West Africa said the Training was aimed at teaching women skill about starting and maintaining business enterprises as well as the techniques of becoming self reliant.
“Elimira noted that Nalongo’s experience is such a key lesson that attracted her office to help such women from losing hope and to enable others to start.
“We are looking at building a vibrant category of women who can stand to change the economy right from Homes, the Church and the World over”
She said that although the road to entrepreneurship is not smooth, let the women borrow from president Barrack Obama’s slogan of, “Yes we can”
“Look at the world wide credit crunch. The situation is bad. Donors are no longer sending assistance as it used to be. So should we fold our hands and relax?” She asked
Therefore she said that entrepreneurship is the only option to uplift women’s living.
The Resident Bishop of East Africa, Bishop Daniel Wandabula noted that if the church is to grow much attention must be shifted to women, youths and children because they are the back bone.
He said that the high numbers of orphans and vulnerable children that the Church in his area registers has a linkage of lack of empowerment for women.
“I believe this training will enable the women to wake up and be able to take care of the children. Much as you depend on God, consider becoming self sustaining” said the Bishop.
He disclosed that East Africa is in the process of making schools with orphans self supporting and this will not be achieved unless women get involves in income generating activities.
Currently the church has established a number of women groups around the five countries of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda.
They are involved in businesses of crafts, African fabrics, bee keeping, pig raring, poultry, agriculture and foodstuff trade among others.
The skills taught included; how to identify a proper business, how to start, how to sustain it risks, Planning, Budget, Market identification and analysis, how to handle Competition and Customer care