WOMEN'S BUSINESS COOPERATIVES
Our cooperatives teach women employable skills and financial basics that open economic opportunities. In turn, the women invest 90% of their earned income in more nutritious food for themselves and their families, healthcare, and education for their children.
Following training, we provide initial seed grants that are used to purchase necessary inputs. The women then reinvest the profits to further sustain and grow operations. With time, the groups become financially-sustainable and are completely run by the women.
In addition to creating economic empowerment, our women’s cooperatives provide Ugandan women a safe place to share with other women, where they support and encourage one another. Forming this sisterhood within their communities helps to increase their self-esteem as they gain skills, start their own businesses, and further provide for their families. As a result, these women have gained a louder voice at the table and increased decision-making power in their households and communities. This is changing cultural norms and behaviors toward women and young girls in our communities.
Read more about our craft cooperatives below and our food security cooperatives here.
MULUNGI UGANDAN CRAFT PROGRAM
In the 2010, a group of 54 enthusiastic village women approached us with a request: they wanted to learn how to sew. By learning to sew and by having access to sewing tools and supplies, village mothers can properly clothe their families for a fraction of the cost of purchasing newer textiles. They can also use their skills to sell handmade items. What started out as a small initiative is now grown into a full tailoring school at our Community Center with 20+ foot-pedal sewing machines.
The curriculum, which runs for 5 months, has taught over 300 women. The women graduate with an array of tailoring skills that allow them to get jobs and earn income. Many of the women have seen their income increase as much as 300%! With the income they earn, many have been able to purchase their own sewing machine. Additionally, they have developed a greater sense of personal accomplishment and pride.
Moving forward, we seeks to expand the program by increasing its product offerings and its outreach to more rural areas.
The tailoring group is always in need of sewing supplies. If you are interested in donating, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lokia, a widow and single mother living in a Ugandan village ingeniously crafted beautiful handbags and jewelry out of hand-rolled paper beads to earn an income after her husband passed away. Soon after, we partnered with Lokia and her rapidly forming group of skilled bead makers to create the Mulungi Beaded Bag and Jewelry Collection. Originally having formed as a single mothers' and widows' group, the founding members began to train other women in their community and continue to play a vital role towards self-sufficiency and economic empowerment.
The line offers distinctive and eye catching beaded bags and necklaces, each piece a work of art representing many hours of skilled crafting. The colorful beads, made from recycled magazines and posters, are individually hand rolled and coated, and then strung together as totes, clutches, cosmetic bags, coin purses and necklaces.
The Mulungi African Basket group formed when Margaret, the group's leader, realized she had untapped creative skills. She began using natural materials in a cost-effective way, using readily-available durable banana leaf fibers to create beautiful hand-woven African baskets.
She then invited other talented mothers and novice craftswomen and join her. The women formed a cooperative and cohesive community environment and empowers women to earn a living from the beautiful artwork they create out of inspiration from their native land.
Since those early days, Margaret's group has been selling their beautiful African baskets within Uganda and now across the world with the help of its partnership with us.