November 2019 at Café Javas Nakumatt in Kampala. Uganda.
World pulse Uganda meeting took place on Saturday, 30 November 2019 at Café Javas Nakumatt in Kampala. Uganda. Most of the members who had initially confirmed participation were not able to turn up due to unavoidable reasons. It was a perfect moment to reflect, share experiences regarding our personal initiatives, work and forge way forward. It also turned out to be a valuable peer to peer mentoring conversation. I introduced Beatrice Keronga to World Pulse some years ago and we have since continued sharing talks that have built each other in their personal life, career and grassroots development initiatives. It was a blessing having a new member join us Beatrice Aciro) who expressed enthusiasm to be part of the World Pulse Network. Beatrice Aciro is an outgoing and entrepreneurial minded woman, open to sharing and nurturing other women to become economically independent. She acknowledges the power of networks and mentoring as a force we should promote. In a relaxed cool ambiance of Café Javas, we took a moment to welcome our new member and explain what World Pulse is (a platform where women are a voice). We took turns to share our experiences about World Pulse and also reflect. What is striking about the World Pulse leaders is that they are supportive, encouraging and down to earth especially Jansen Larsen, the CEO. Her journey as the leader of World Pulse is one with a lot to learn from how pursuing a vision with focus is key to thriving and worth emulating from. It was also realization that World Pulse brings together a diversity of visions, passions loosely knit but converging on one platform. So the catch is the opportunity the platform offers to raise our voices in that which affects us women, is the breath of life of World Pulse. We need to replicate this concept if the World Pulse Uganda chapter has to thrive. On a personal basis and in the spirit of catching up as peer mentors some of the things we discussed and agreed upon included. Organize coaching and training engagements for young people/students in vacation in the area of decision making, their reproductive health, risks, democratic rights. Networking with member organizations and their networks is important. One such location identified was Purongo in Nwoya district, where girls are engaged in sexual exploitation due to high levels of poverty. It's also a tourist destination. We believe that mapping and profiling World Pulse members in Uganda may boost members visibility through collaborations and references, but also strengthen their capacities. Knowledge of skills and competencies or areas of focus will help in networking. It was agreed that this should be done by April 2020 and updated annually. We want to begin a drive to speak and engage in conversations about women assertiveness in the work place to be able to stand up against sexual harassment in the work place. It was noted that many women were suffering in silence in their workplaces due to ignorance, culture and weak laws. Any helpful materials from members is appreciated. This discussion, with interested members to begin in January 2020. An area we also want to focus on is training young women and girls in leadership. Beatrice Keronga shared a successful innovative model from Kenya where she recently initiated and coordinated a very successful leadership programme with tangible results. We want to duplicate this. Girls are empowered and are able to identify issues affecting them in the community to lead and engage the local leaders and stakeholders (elders, NGOs, service providers) to address the issue. Through our esteemed contacts, we will reach out to key women leaders to seek support for the girls leadership programme such as Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga Speaker of Parliament, the first Lady, area women members of Parliament and Youth MPs for support.
We also re-echoed the critical need as women to be financially stable since we face huge economic challenges and as we give back to community in our various initiatives which don't generate money, it's important to be financially independent. This is key to have more than one stream of income just to have a fallback position, Beatrice Aciro emphasized. She shared her own experience which was eye opening and compelling. Through this discussion we were able to critique each other and pledged to be accountability partners for our individual business projects which are still at infant stages but require attention. Grace Ikirimat also shared the need to scale up the support of vulnerable girls at school since education reduces their vulnerability. She was grateful to a group of women in Canada through World Pulse networks supported one Jesica Akoth who is now in Kyambogo University pursuing a Bachelors degree in Procurement. Living in the slum and out of school had greatly increased her vulnerability.
On a light note we also noted that these meeting was very important as it served to address issues of self-care. Some confessions revealed that it was relaxing too since iIt was really in a long time some members had taken time off their daily busy schedule to relax. We agreed to do this as often as monthly as peers. Aciro Beatrice to lead in reminding members. The slogan Love yourself first was the driver.
Members noted that there are a number of opportunities coming in 2020 events for individual participation and visibility. Such as the 2020 Womens day, 16 Days of VAW activism, etc which requires early preparation and need to take advantage of them. We need to strengthen our networks. We are also open to welcome those who want to join us in actualizing the above action points.
Overall, the meeting was fruitful and we cant wait to follow up on the action points. We also argue more members can participate in the next meeting that will be scheduled in the first quarter of 2020.
1. Beatrice Keronga ED ACREs Community Resources and Empowerment Uganda) 2. Beatrice Aciro Human Resource Manager and Entrepreneur 3. Grace Ikirimat ED (Alias Women Our Roots and ICD)