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Women get intellectual, life skills

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Lilian Nantume Mubiru is the director and founder of Grooming a Successful Woman with Intellectual Mind (GISWIM), a Non-governmental Organisation empowering women with intellectual ability through changing their mindset.

Nantume attended Seeta Church of Uganda Primary School, before joining Greenville High School, Mukono for her O’level. She completed her A’level at Bishop’s Senior Secondary School, Mukono and later joined Uganda Christian University, where she pursued a Bachelor of Business Administration.

In 2014 she graduated at African University in Zimbabwe with a Master’s Degree in Intellectual Studies.

The start

  Growing up, Nantume struggled to raise school fees and was always struggling to keep in school.

 “I used work in the school garden, wash utensils and clean dorms while at Greenville High School, in order to get money to pay my school fees,” Nantume says.

Through this she learnt that there was no other way for her to survive, than to work hard.  She grew up in an extended family and being the first one to attain formal education was a big achievement. 

She was inspired by the need to empower women to meet their needs and eradicate poverty.  

How they work

Nantume says her organisation equips women with creative knowledge, through first changing their mindsets and teaching them entrepreneurial skills. 

These skills include making various items like shaggy mats, sandals, liquid soap, paper bags, chalks, mats, bags, earrings, and many other skills.

Most of the women they train women are single mothers and also young women who are vulnerable. These women work in teams of 10.

Nantume says: “The teams come up with a business idea, we train them and give them funds to start.  We also provide materials to use and also help them to market their products.”

She adds that the organisation also lends money to the women at no interest, which they are free to pay back in instalments at no pressure. 

Caroline Matovu, Nantume’s work colleague, says it is incredible to see women come from vulnerable positions to better positions, where they can financially support themselves and their families.

 “It is an unexplainable warm feeling because some of these women are vulnerable and seeing them come from zero to something is something great. I will continue to support and encourage women to be creative and work hard to make money, besides their professional work,” Matovu says.

 Beth Namirimu, a fashion designer  says ever since she joined GISWIM, her life has changed for the better.

“I had limited funds to keep my business going but when I heard about GISWIN, I decided to join. They gave me money, which   I used to buy more stock and boosted my business.

She adds that she has acquired more business skills especially in the field of marketing.

Achievements

Nantume says she has acquired a physical address in Bugoba Zone, Seeta, Mukono district. 

The organisation has also signed memorandums of understanding with various churches in the community, and local government.

They have also worked with Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) to train women in town under the project of gender equality.

The organisation has so far empowered over 200 women to start businesses, which have changed their ways of living.

They have also trained over 100 women from different countries like Zimbabwe through online trainings. Through this, they have also been recognized in Zimbabwe and Geneva.

Challenges

Nantume says they have a challenge with some women who do not to use the money they are offered for improving themselves.

She also says some of the women that borrow money from the NGO fail to pay it back. The organisation also faces a challenge of limited funds and thus are not able to meet some women’s anticipations.

They also face concerns of limited manual labour. Nantume says they cannot employ more people because they cannot afford to pay all of them. 

Future plans

Nantume has high hopes that GISWIM will be one of the biggest women empowerment organisations in Uganda and Africa, in a few years to come.

She plans on extending her services to other districts outside Mukono. She also plans to work with the United Nations and other international and local organisations, in order to get more connections with different countries to support women.

Nantume advises women to be creative and get involved in entrepreneurial skills and improve their lives financially.

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