Over 700 women in Kampala mentoring walk on, 8th March 2014, from Lugogo indoor stadium through Jinja road, Kololo Airstrip and back to Lugogo indoor stadium. This was one of the 45 mentoring walks that took place around the world. The Guest of Honor was Her Royal Highness, Sylvia Nagginda, the Queen of the Buganda Kingdom who was represented by Hon. Christine Mugerwa Kasule; the Minister of Gender in the Buganda Kingdom. A number of organizations, women, and schools participated in the event. Such as the Buganda Kingdom, Association of Uganda Medical Doctors, Kinawataka Women’s Initiative, Women at Work Initiative, Bank of America, Vital Voices, Star Café, CEDA International etc. The event was organized by CEDA, New faces, New voices and VVLead women. The mentoring walk was aimed at promoting established women leaders and to accelerate emerging women in leadership from all fields.
Hajat Rhema Kasule, the Executive Director CEDA International, the flag bearer of the Women Mentoring Walk in Kampala called it a great moment for her and the women of Uganda. To her, women empowerment is not just a conversation but a foundation to change the world. She also said that the large women numbers is an opportunity to change laws that can change women lives and the communities at large. Rhema acknowledged that Africa is rising, but wondered where the women are. She noted that women are unleashing women talent and economic empowerment but decried countries that excluded women from economic development for they will remain underdeveloped. She therefore called on each and every woman to lead change.
These were the 10 tips she shared: 1. Serve your community. Women should initiate groups or join a group in order to be relevant in their community in order to leave behind footprints. She cited the Holy Scriptures; ‘The hands that serve are holier than the lips that speak’. She said every woman has a role to play at whatever level she is and wherever she is.
Networking: Our social life and networks are important. We need to evaluate people around us and know who they are. If they are winners, you become a winner. If they are losers, you become a loser too. If you don’t have any social network, develop them.
Mind your health: We should mind what we eat and do exercise. Rhema said that women should look 10 years younger and think 10 years older but act your age.
Invest in knowledge acquisition: Women need continuous education and knowledge for progress, you need to acquire it. We need the right information. Women need to read books and watch TV programs that are beneficial. She called on women to equip themselves with competencies, skills, and qualifications.
Personal grooming: The way we present ourselves matters. Therefore as women, we need to dress well and smell well. To attract the right people.
Politics: All women need to participation actively in politics. Women constitute over half of the population. It is our human right to engage in politics and that our votes count. Women should also participate in running for political officers if we are to change the status quo of women.
Economics: As women we need financial freedom, financial independence and financial literacy. Women need to do business if they have to attain financial freedom and be emancipated. This is critical because much of the causes of gender based violence rotate around money matters.
Protect the environment: Women need to take lead in protecting the environment. This is because it is women who are greatly affected by environmental degradation and climate change. The gender roles of women are compromised i.e. water provision, cooking, fetching firewood. She argued every woman and girl to plant at least a tree every year; one tree on her birthday and plant at least one tree for each of her children every year.
Law and justice. Many women don’t know their rights. We need to invest in creating awareness on existing policies and laws that address women issues. But also cautioned women to keep out of crime.
Strive to be leaders. Women must groom women leaders especially young women. Women at corporate level should mentor women to take over from them. We need to get involved in making decisions and laws. ‘The sky is not lit by one star but by billions of stars in the sky’. ‘A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle’. James Keller. So she called on women to light other women through mentoring
In conclusion Women where challenged to dream big because no dream is big enough because ones background doesn’t determine your future. Each and every one has the power to determine their destiny. Ones attitude will determine your altitude. The only limits you have are those you create for yourself.