Many of the local women are unemployed and uneducated, which hinders them from paying the school fees for their children and meeting other basic necessities in their homes. This issues is compounded that the fact that some men have even neglected their obligations to care for their children. To bridge this gap, UBC, through the Women and Youth Economic Empowerment Program trains youth and women to develop hand skills that can generate an income amidst the various activities they do.
Based on each woman’s abilities, they are placed in specific skills groups and trained to make various hand crafts. Among the crafts women make are, necklaces, ear rings, bags, shoes and others items made from wasted recycled materials. Women are also trained in tailoring and sweater knitting.
- Generate income and/or add to the current income,
- Indirectly improve income for other sectors as these women are now able to buy their daily needs, and
- Allow children to go to school and receive an education, which in turn allows them to increase their capability and skills and thereby reduce the poverty rate in the future.
In Bulega village, there is a struggle to find work and to take on the traditional responsibilities of providing for the family’s economic security and physical well-being among men and youths. Restrictions on fishing, lack of entrepreneurial skills and low education levels have caused a backlash among men and boys in playing their traditional roles.
Although interest in working with men and boys has been exponentially increasing globally in the recent past, men in many communities have not been cared for and not considered for empowerment and gender programs.
We have introduced a men empowerment project to develop and alternate entrepreneurial skills among men and boys, and to challenge the traditional gender norms and discrimination in a very meaningful way. The project also aims to train men and boys in the community to be allies in women’s participation in social, economic and political affairs.
Our hope is that both the women empowerment and men empowerment projects will create better outcomes for both sexes and engage both men and women to identify and skillfully approach challenges they both face to build a socially and economically sustainable community.