Katosi Women Development Trust UK & Uganda
Anne Yendell – Volunteer secondment
In February 2018, I took leave from my job (as Director of Fundraising, Communication and Marketing, Canine Partners) and travelled to Uganda as a volunteer with a small charity called the Katosi Women Development Trust UK (KWDT). I was going to be spending five weeks with their partner, Katosi Women Development Trust, Uganda. The visit was to fulfil a long held ambition to use my strategy and fundraising skills to help an overseas charity plan its development and growth.
KWDT, Uganda was set up 21 years ago by Margaret Nakato. The aim was to empower women to engage in economic and social development processes that lift them out of poverty, improve health and give them a voice. Today, this small NGO enables nearly 600 women to learn and work together through 19 women’s groups around the shores of Lake Victoria, in and around the village of Katosi (24km from Kampala). They now have economic independence, sustainable livelihoods and are respected in their communities.
During my stay in Uganda, I’ve written a detailed blog to document my observations and feelings about the inspiring women I met in these fishing villages. The following is a summary of my thoughts.
Summary of my daily blog
On arrival in Uganda, I spent a week with Margaret and her team in their office in Kampala. The aim was to learn about their vision and plans for the next five years, as well as the struggles and challenges they face on a daily basis.
Cycling around the villages – hearing the women’s stories
In the subsequent weeks, I was able learn about the results of their endeavours. I stayed at the training centre in Katosi and cycled between the villages or, if the journey was further afield, went on the back of a moped with Leonard my interpreter, to visit the women and hear their stories.
The poverty I witnessed as I cycled around was heartbreaking, living accommodation was extremely basic and many had no fresh water and no sanitation, cooking was done on open fires in their homes. Young children played with a piece of string or an old tyre. The women (and their children) had so little, but they are determined to make a better life for their families and this would happen through education and personal endeavour – raising money by hard work.
Taking action out of extreme poverty
Some of the KWDT group members were able to purchase cows with micro finance, provided by Katosi. This gives them milk or yogurt to sell, after satisfying the basic needs of the family. Cow dung is used as fertiliser for back yard farming, which leads to surpluses for sale and sometimes a woman is able to invest in a bio gas digester to turn slurry into fuel and light. KWDT marketing and production co-operatives, as well as animal husbandry training ensures success.
Katosi are able to sell and construct rain water harvesting tanks for the families. Women have been trained to be masons and this provides yet another income stream. Clean, safe water on tap provides a significant improvement in the standard of living. As one women said “I’ve moved from very poor to just being poor now”.
Most of the women, who are members of groups, are now middle aged. The challenge is to encourage the younger women to get involved and take responsibility. They’ve seen the older women do it, so it’s important that the work continues and benefits future generations. KWDT also want to explore additional funding streams, so that their work continues to have impact in the area.
Why don’t you donate during Small Charity Week and beyond?
I’ve discussed my ideas for future strategy with Margaret and the team and I’ve developed a huge determination to help raise awareness and funds when I return to the UK. You can learn more and perhaps help us by donating at www.katosi-uk.org during Small Charity Week, when we’ll be working to raise our profile in the UK and encouraging more people to make a regular donation.
How we can all use Small Charity Week
The work of the Katosi Women’s Trust is quite simply inspirational and the stories of the women involved, their determination, courage and resilience has had a huge emotional impact on me.
Help us in Small Charity week – and beyond
If you’re moved by the women’s stories, perhaps you can help us raise awareness; this is especially important during Small Charity Week, as we will be sharing more information on Facebook and through our website. Small donations can quite simply change lives and that is what Katosi Women’s Development Trust all about!