This is the story of Rehema Nsanyiwa, a 22-year-old school dropout who is fighting against all odds to promote a society that supports confident and self-reliant girls through her non funded NGO, “The Girl Be Project”.
She is creative, passionate and a lover of complete freedom. Through this project, she seeks to enable girls of ages 6 to 12 and young women of ages 13 to 20 from local communities discover their self-worth through creative arts.
Rehema established the Girl Be Project with the aim to put to an end to the negative psychosocial stereotypes that demean and degrade young women. A non-profit that has been changing lives for over 4 years without any funding. With the vision to create a society full of empowered young women with the knowledge and ability to create positive social, economic and political change, she set out to promote a brighter livelihood among girls and young women using art and crafts.
The Girl Be Project over the years has positively influenced a number of girls in small communities through creating a platform for learning through sharing skills, experience, knowledge and space.
By Boosting self-esteem, building entrepreneurial, leadership and inter personal skills, Girl Be Project has gone as far as to creating employment opportunities for young women, Promoting creativity and effective social engagement within these communities.
As the founder of the Girl Be Project, Rehema acts as a bridge between the young women from local communities and the people or organizations who have the skills and resources for sustainable development. Through these partnerships, Girl Be has managed to help over 100 girls develop skills that have boosted their self-reliance and livelihood.
“Girl Be is based on my personal background influenced by AIDS, broken family, poverty and sexual harassment. Social injustice affects everyone in the community, I identify with girls and young women due to their vulnerability,” she says. “Empowering girls uplifts the entire community. Thus, the need to elevate them to their true worth”
She goes about her every day duties as a leader and role model for these girls with passion and extreme happiness despite the challenges encountered in running a non-funded NGO. “I am not running after Funders, fame or attention. All I live for is the girls. The line between Girl Be and me as the founder is very thin and soon will blur and disappear. My plan is to live with the girls in our house and eat from our own farm”.
Rehema sights technology, poor standards of education, corruption or commercialized religion as no excuse for the increasing rate of unemployment. “People are individuals who share same differences and through the commitment to bridge our in existent gaps, people find themselves and that brings them honest jobs or whatever they want to achieve in life”. She says.
Please visit the Girl Be website www.girlbeproject.com For more information on the great work that is being done with girls and young women in small communities.
How Segawa is advocating for reproductive health through creative arts
No better way of approaching critical subjects like sexual reproductive health rights than with hip hop, ballet, contemporary Latino dances. Bring on these, you have the attention of the young people. What started as a university passion by a group of friends has turned out to impact many Ugandan youth.
Meet Segawa Patrick an energetic, proactive and self-motivated Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) advocate and Public Health practitioner with passion for social entrepreneurship and ICT for health. He works with youth and community empowerment projects, health education and promotion (Music, Dance & Drama), research methods, volunteering, customer care service and developing working relationships between the community and local leaders towards addressing prioritized health needs.
He is the Founder and Programme Manager at Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU) and CEO for Rabbit Factory Ltd; a specialty green business enterprise dedicated to improve the livelihoods of all youths and women through Rabbit Farming in Wakiso district. He is also working as an Advocacy Officer at Community Integrated Development Initiative (CIDI) with the Advocacy for Better Health Project in Nakasongola, Luwero and Kayunga District funded by PATH and USAID.
Segawa is the winner for the Green Business Plan Competition 2014 organized by International Labor Organization and Youth Entrepreneurship Facility. Furthermore, he has participated in the Young Innovators Hangout on UN Day on 24th, October 2014. Recognized for an outstanding exhibition display on innovation that contributed positive change in the community through the School Chalk Making Business Project. He has ventured into school chalk making business as a social enterprise for empowering young people with business and entrepreneurship skills through training and mentor-ship.
Segawa was part of the Ugandan delegates during the High Level Youth Dialogue on Sustainable Development Goals in August 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. The High Level Youth Policy Dialogue on SDGs is an African youth event, open to international youth, with an aim of gathering and strengthening political commitment for governments to support prioritizing investment in youth development in the post-2015 era. These meeting cultivated recommendations made by young people and created political goodwill for African countries to champion the youth agenda at the intergovernmental negotiations (September 2014-September 2015).
He has been selected to be part of the Women Deliver’s Young Leaders Program 2015 and attending the Women Deliver Conference in 2016. Women Deliver seeks to harness the untapped potential and passion of young leaders. Women Deliver works to develop the skills of young advocates in developing countries through our workshops, online learning communities, scholarships to key events, and high-level networking opportunities.
Segawa has also received the “IHSU Health Promotion and Educative Arts Award” for his outstanding contribution in the area of Sexual and Reproductive health through creative and performance arts from International Health Sciences University.
He hopes that in ten years, PHAU will be a global movement and platform for young people who are passionate about making a difference within their countries especially on the issues of Sexual and Reproductive Health that affect youths and communities. This platform will be used to advocate for better health policies address SRHR issues in targeted populations and provide oversight of developed and established public health partnerships, synergies and consortiums at a national, regional and international level for evidence based SRHR interventions in different countries. In addition, provide a joined voice for young people to foster capacity building, research and innovations in the area of Sexual and Reproductive and Rights.
This man has developed a device that enables phones to charge using a dynamo
Meet Elliot Mwebaze a Telecom Engineering graduate, who has made charging phones that much easier by lessening their dependence on electricity. Over a period of 9 months he developed a device that enables phones to charge using a bicycle dynamo. A dynamo is that device that enables bicycles to produce light. His innovation converts that rotating energy from the bike into electrical energy which is more suitable to charge the mobile phones within 120 minutes.
When he is not working for Galooli Uganda, he spends his time looking for opportunities through which he can improve his innovation and make it accessible for all bicycle riders. This technology is ideally based for the rural population of Uganda who use bicycles more often as a mode of transport. Rather than travelling miles to charge a phone in the nearest town centre, their phones can charge on their journey to other meaningful work.
His initial inspiration to create an alternative energy source for charging mobile phones. Having missed a final exam missed because his phone had blacked out in a remote village in Rukungiri and the only way he could get it back on was to move to the next town to re charge. He then devoted most of his free time and energy on finding alternative ways through which phones could stay on even in places without power supply.
He was picked by the UCC to represent Uganda in the East African ICT exhibition organised by the East African Communications Organisation. Where his innovation got more visibility with the East African community.
He has faced very many challenges trying to build his idea into a tangible product, the most significant being difficulty in finding the necessary equipment. But with his knowledge in engineering and extreme patience, he managed to grow his concept to the product that help keep people on air longer. This experience has taught him to have no reverence for failure. “You have to fail before you can succeed” he says. Failure is something that will happen more often than not. But it can only make you better if you do not choose the easy way out and quit.
In a discussion on the increasing levels of unemployment and under employment In Uganda, he puts the blame largely on our theoretical education system which does not focus on technical skills which in turn leads to failure of ideas to develop into something tangible. The lack of manufacturing industry too which could be an opportunity to create thousands of jobs and boost the local economy. With reports of Uganda having the largest number start-ups and failed businesses he points to lack of basic skills such as book keeping, integrity, customer service.
Remit is changing the way money is transferred to Uganda from allover the World
Remit Uganda is most definitely changing money transfers from allover the world into Uganda. It is simple to use, cheap, secure and fast because the recipient will receive the money instantly.
Remit was born out of the need to solve an international money transfer challenge. Stone Atwine the CEO, having worked away from home faced challenges of sending money to his grandmother that lived in Uganda. It was hectic, inconvenient and time consuming. Together with his friends; David Madra, TMS Ruge and Collins Mugume they came up with a solution that led to the birth of Remit Uganda.
Using Remit is very simple –visit the website, sign up, log in, enter amount of money and the recipient’s registered mobile money number. Money can be transferred from anywhere around the world. This process leads the sender to a page where they can enter their card details, money is taken out of their bank account and this will trigger a transfer to the recipient’s mobile number which will be received instantly.
For now, although one can send money from around the world, the only recipient country is Uganda.
Remit has given the recipient the luxury and convenience to receive money on any day, at any time, in every corner of the country as long as there is a mobile money point unlike in the past when one used to wait for banks to open. Uganda alone has over 50,000 mobile money agents and they are spread right across the country.
Remit has won a number of awards; they were the best startup in Uganda at Seedstars World 2014 and represented the country in Geneva. They have been voted among the top 10 startups in Africa at the global competition Get in the Ring and they were recently involved in Village Capital’s Fintech for agriculture program.
For a start up like Remit, there are challenges of regulatory compliance, anti-money laundering, countering of financial terrorism and a lot of money is needed to facilitate the start up to get it to international levels.
“This business is not for the faint hearted. This kind of work calls for resilience.”
“Resilience is a trait that young innovators must possess. Many young Ugandans are creative and they have put their minds to work to see that they use IT to create solutions to these challenges.
While the young people shouldn’t wait for the government to do something, Stone Atwine strongly believes that government ought to set up serious programmes that will help innovators incubate their ideas through providing basics such as space and Internet.
“When kids come up with ideas, they are at a very basic seed level so they need seed stage capital to keep going. Unfortunately, most of them close their businesses because of lack of capital so there must be a system to help them move forward.”
“The ecosystem of Nairobi has gone to another level because innovation is supported.” Atwine says.
Africa is going places in digital financial services. In five years, Africa will be a global leader in mobile financial services like credit, savings, micro insurance and remittances.
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