The Simple Strategy Empowering Dozens of Vulnerable Widows To Escape Poverty In Uganda

Some of the MOST vulnerable women in Uganda are Widows.

In rural parts of Uganda nearly 64% of women are illiterate.  

What makes widows so vulnerable is that they are trapped in a constant state of SURVIVAL.  

Living in Extreme Poverty where they barely make enough money to eat a small meal twice a day and residing in temporary structures where they could be forced out of at any time.

With no education and no skills, they’re left with the only option of working grueling, hard labor jobs which earn them less than $1 a day

Fortunately, these women DON’T have to remain in extreme poverty because of the simple strategy that’s been proving to help these vulnerable women escape.  

Read on to find out what that strategy is.

Ugandan woman smiling with materials for her artisan business.

Strategy to Equip Widows in Uganda

Although most of the widows in Uganda have never even stepped foot in a school, nor have ever learned any viable skills they could earn from, these women are the furthest thing from being lazy.  

They desperately want to work AND they’ll do anything they can to better their situation and even help others in the process.  Many of these widows take in abandoned children from the street who have nowhere to go and will sacrifice their own meals to help someone in need.  

The very first step in helping these vulnerable widows escape poverty was to address the issue of them not having any marketable skills.  

Understanding that they needed something quick and easy to learn so that they could implement something fast, is where the idea for Wando International’s Vocational Program came from.  

In 2013, we implemented the Women’s Beading Project where vulnerable widows could become EQUIPPED through a Skills-Development program and begin to start producing marketable goods.

The goods produced would then give these women the opportunity to start a business immediately.

Many of the women found the process of sourcing materials, preparing their work tables, and crafting jewelry made from recycled paper with their own two hands to be a real CONFIDENCE booster.

The ladies not only enjoyed the beautiful work they were creating, but were fulfilled by the sense of community they gained from working alongside each other as well.  

In a very short period of time, widows enrolled in the Bead Project grew from just a handful to now OVER 60 WOMEN.

Each one immersing themselves in the development of a new skill they didn’t have before, something no one could ever take away from them.

Strategy to Empower Widows in Uganda

The strategy to help widows escape poverty in Uganda didn’t stop at just Skills-Development.

The next step was to help these women develop a business model for their newly crafted handmade goods.

Helping them come up with a pricing structure for their products was one aspect, but because many of these women resided in either rural villages or the slums of Uganda, their success was dependent on being able to showcase their products to buyers outside of the areas in which they lived.

Their businesses needed to ACCESS THE MARKETPLACE beyond just their immediate geographical location, which is why the strategy to empower these women involved helping them develop into Direct Trade Artisan Partners.

As an Artisan Partner, their Direct Trade relationships with organizations around the world, including Wando International, allowed them to charge higher prices for their products AND sell to customers in every corner of the world.  

No longer being limited by their immediate surroundings, these artisan partners could leverage our network of advocates and start selling their products online in the global market.

In just 2 easy steps, widows living in impoverished areas with no education and no formal professional background, simply learned how to handcraft a good and then turn that good into a highly profitable online Direct-Trade business.

We’ve seen women using this simple strategy go from conditions of not being able to eat every day, to generating enough income to where they can start saving up for their own piece of land and finally be able to build their own homes. 

Widows who had at one time lost hope, are now escaping the slums of Uganda living happier, healthier lives. 

To learn more about how wearing Ugandan jewelry TRANSFORMS LIVES, visit our Handmade Jewelry page!