On Wednesday 3rd February 2016 Cabinet approved the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP). This programme is aimed at improving women’s access to financial services and equipping women with skills for enterprise growth, value addition and marketing of products and services.
The programme has been included in the Public Investment Plan and Medium Term Expenditure Framework with a Government commitment of 53 billion Ushs for each of the next three years starting, in July 2016, with FY 2016/17 to FY 2018/19.
Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda
The Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) is yet another landmark initiative in implementation of the NRM’s national transformation agenda. The NRM Government is committed to uplifting the status of vulnerable groups including the Women, the Youth, the Elderly and Persons with Disability (PWD). It is the NRM’s policy to empower these disadvantaged groups so as to create wealth and contribute to the process of leading Uganda into middle income status by 2020.
Under the leadership of His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, our country has made commendable progress towards gender equality and women empowerment. Uganda earned recognition at continental level with an African Union award during the 25th ordinary session of the AU in South Africa in June 2015.
This was in recognition for having performed well in the political sphere with 35% women representation in Parliament which is above the 30% target set in the Beijing Platform for Action on women.
The gap has been in the area of women economic empowerment and this programme, that we launch today, will go a long way in bridging this gap. Women form the majority in the informal sector (86.2%) which largely remains excluded from formal financial services. This limits women’s access to finance and therefore the capacity to grow and expand their businesses.
The Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme will therefore focus on providing affordable credit, technical advice and information on value addition as well as market access for their products and services. Under this programme, women will access interest free loans to start income generating enterprises.
This will enable women create wealth by boosting their entrepreneurship capabilities. The targeted beneficiaries are women of 18-65 years. Those beyond 65 years will be catered for under the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) Programme.
The programme will promote the integration of unemployed women; and vulnerable groups such as single young mothers, widows, survivors of gender based violence, women with disabilities, women living with HIV/AIDS, women heading households, women slum dwellers, women living in hard to reach areas, and ethnic minorities
The programme will cover all the 111 Districts in the Country and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) over the 5 years of implementation starting in Financial Year 2016/17 – July this year. The programme will be implemented through existing structures of Government at the Central and Local levels.
The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is the policy coordination and implementing agency. The funds under the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme will be administered as an interest free revolving fund to ensure sustainability.
The funds will be accessed by women groups who fall within the targeted categories, and group membership will range from a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 15 members.
I call upon all Ugandans to embrace the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme and actively participate in the implementation process. The success of this Programme will largely depend on the women, who are the beneficiaries, political and technical leaders, and the supportive role of the media.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY
RT HON. RUHAKANA RUGUNDA (DR.)