Challenges of women NGOs in empowering rural women: a case study of ACFODE and ISIS-WICCE
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The study is about the challenges faced by women NGOs in empowering rural women. It tries to find out what such NGOs go through in their drive towards empowering rural women and in trying to equip them with the necessary skills in order to properly suit in the current environment. Empowering women is all about giving the rural women the capacity and ability to economically be productive and to socially be capable to fully fit and suit in society as well as competing favourably with men in all aspects of life. Although women organisations like Isis-WICCE and ACFODE have been trying to bridge the development gaps in women related situation through their activities and by trying to empower them (Women), it has not been clear whether such activities realise positive results and the challenges such organisations face that hinder the real empowerment process of rural women have not been known. The study was aiming at establishing the roles and activities of Isis-WICCE and ACFODE towards empowering women, the approaches such organisations use in this process and the ethical considerations they put into account as they under take their roles. The study focused on the activities of Isis-WICCE and ACFODE in empowering women. It took the form of a case study design and focused on Nakawa division where the organisations are located but it drew respondents from Luweero and Soroti where these organisations are implementing their rural programmes. The study sampled one hundred and twenty respondents mainly administrators of the organisations in question and the grass root women from Soroti and Luweero where such organisations are operating. Acquisition of the data was through the use of the Interview method, the Focused Group Discussion method and Content Analysis with the help of administering questionnaires and interview guides to acquire such information from different groups accordingly. Data was written and coded at the end of each day’s work and with the help of the statistical package for Social Sciences (SPSS) it was properly tabulated and analysed. It was then summarised and presented in frequency tables, pie charts, percentages and graphs. The study found out that women have low economic status, majority have dependants due to the nature of extended families, very few have acquired higher education, a big percentage of married women are struggling to earn a living and many have joined NGOs thus need for their empowerment. It also found out that majority of the constraints of women empowering NGOs were poor transport and communication, low literacy levels and inadequate funds. The approach of empowerment raised by the study included giving out loans to rural women, training then in various skills, promoting gender equity and self help groups The study concluded that most of the activities and objectives of ACFODE and Isis WICCE are somehow similar although the former is mainly oriented towards getting women to acquire leadership skills and the latter is oriented towards Peace building and economic empowerment but all a re geared towards women empowerment. The study made a number of recommendations for the benefit of the organisations in undertaking their duties but also for the wider benefit of the women and the wider citizenry. It called upon government funding support to these women NGOs, extra sensitisation to change people’s attitude especially men, educating women, NGOs repackaging their programmes to attract the young women as well as some other means to improve the situation.