On their exciting journey through Uganda, our founders Alex and Nils did not miss the opportunity to visit some socialbnbs in person to get an insight into the project work. On the one hand, both hoped for an interesting exchange with the local people to see how it can be helped to provide better support with socialbnb after covid times. On the other hand they wanted to check to what extent the quality requirements of the social startup are met. Furthermore they also wanted to identify some potential new cooperation partners. The first stop of their socialbnb visits was at Resilient Women’s Organization and it was a great success! We have an interview with Hope, the executive director and co-founder, for you today. She tells you about RMO’s vision and much more – learn all about women empowerment at this wonderful social project in Entebbe, Uganda.
Hey Hope, please introduce yourself and the project.
Hope: My name is Hope Lydia Ndagire. I am the executive director and co-founder of Resilient Women’s Organization. Our vision as an organization is a community where all girls and young women have equal access to services and resources to ensure gender equality and service delivery. To achieve this vision, we have developed a number of community-led programs to socially empower young girls and women. We support them to go back to school through our sponsorship program.
This program is basically supported by volunteers and friends. At the moment we have seven girls here. Then we provide economic support to our women and girls who have never gone to school; they have no jobs and are looking for a way to make a living. We offer them free training, for example in hairdressing, tailoring and sewing so that they are able to earn some money on their own. And with these skills, we also add on financial knowledge, which is key for anyone who wants to run a business. You have to be able to plan for your money, you have to be able to run that business. That gives them economic empowerment.
But the other thing we do as part of social empowerment is provide information about sexual reproductive health rights. We provide that information in our Community Resilient Clubs. We call them “Community Safe Spaces”, where vulnerable women and girls come to talk to their peers, to talk to our counselors, to be aware about their sexual reproductive rights. To know that they don’t have to put up with abuse. The girls can learn that they don’t have to just dream about being someone’s wife. In these clubs, they learn that they have rights as human beings and that they need to go out into the world with the skills we teach them so they can be truly independent.
Why did you start this organization and how did it start?
Hope: Well, I have a co-founder, and we grew up around here. We grew up in poverty. We were lucky, I personally was very lucky to go to school and get my first degree. My mother had to spend a lot of money to do that, because education is very expensive here. I really appreciate everything she sacrificed, everything she gave me so I could go to school. Not all of my friends were as lucky as I was. Some of them ended up being teenage mothers when I was 14. I was a senior in high school and my friends were already pregnant and having babies.
At that moment, my friends were already parents and we realized that the cycle of poverty was continuing. Because these girls who had children did not finish school and did not work. So it was difficult for them to put their children through school. So it’s going to be the same cycle. So I said to my co-founder, who was in the same situation and had the same background, “What can we do about it? How can we be part of a change that we actually want to see in this community? Can we start doing something about it?”
When we first started, we wanted to address teenage pregnancies and marriages – the number is so high, as is the number of school dropouts. But then the Resilient Women’s project went deeper in counseling to address these problems. We work with families and started because we wanted to be part of a change that we wanted to see in the community. We want a better life for women and girls and here we are.
How can people support your amazing work?
Hope: What you can do is donate. You can either support a girl to go back to school – we have a list of girls waiting – or you can support our trainings. We have to pay our trainers because we try to offer the services for free. So every month we pay the trainers and then we buy the materials for the women. There are many ways to support us. Some people also support the administration. We just have a few volunteers who do that and support us financially. We have a website where you can find these information, so check it out.
The socialbnb concept focuses on raising money from tourism for such organizations. What do you think about tourism in general? How can it be helpful for your work?
Hope: Well, tourists come to see Uganda. Part of our work, the programs, show what Uganda really is. If more tourists came by to see what we do, and maybe to share our work that would help because a lot of travelers have an audience on social media, they have friends. So it would help grow the organization.
You really have a wonderful accommodation here. Where is your favorite place here in the area? What would you recommend tourists?
Hope: The beaches by the lake. I love the beaches in Entebbe. We are not far from Entebbe. If you come to Uganda, you should definitely go to the beaches. I recommend Freedom beach. It’s smaller than the others, there are great fish, there is a good vibe. There is a nice lake and we have a zoo and a botanical garden. There is a lot to explore. In the national parks in Uganda you can see zebras, elephants and even gorillas. You can do activities like biking or bungee jumping.
We are thrilled and touched by the great project and the wonderful work Hope and the team do every day. Not everywhere in the world it is taken for granted to get school education. Don’t miss any more environmental or social projects with a positive impact. Subscribe to our newsletter. If you are interested in the process projects have to go through to get listed on our website, then this blog post might be interesting for you.