A total of 3,784 girls are set to graduate from the third intake of the Presidential Initiative on Skilling the Girl Child programme, having completed a six months training in various courses at the different training centers in Kampala last year.
In 2017, State House Uganda under the President’s directive, started the project with an aim of empowering underprivileged girls with various basic skills in Tailoring, Weaving, Embroidery, Knitting, Shoe making, Hair dressing, Bakery and Confectionery.
The initiative aims to reduce on the unemployment rates of youthful girls by equipping them with practical knowledge and skills to start up their own business ventures.
“We are equipping the girl child with skills that will last with them a life time and enable them earn a living, by doing this we are reducing poverty by facilitating self-sufficiency. We are teaching them a trade and a way of doing business so that they may earn an honest livelihood and not be forced to dreadful alternatives of holding out their hands for charity or prostitution.” Says the Program Manager, Faridah Mayanja.
The initiative is currently being implemented in six (6) training centers and there are high prospects of expanding to other areas in the country with time. The centers are located in Wandegeya Market (Northern Wing), Nakulabye at our lady of Fatina Catholic Church, Kigowa at Ntinda Catholic Church, Luzira prisons at Prison Training School, Mutundwe and Subway located between UBC TV and Crested Towers.
The program considers vulnerable girls who have dropped out of school, those who haven’t attained any formal education, unemployed girls and orphans. The girls being trained are between the ages of 15 to 30 years. Lunch is provided at the various centers in order to cut down on the costs since most of them come from humble backgrounds.
The initiative has currently enrolled 5,200 girls to study the same programs for the January intake. According to Sande Moses Sserugo the project coordinator, they received overwhelming numbers of students at the different training centers and urged those who weren’t admitted not to give up as they will be given priority in the next intake come June.
“The registration process begun on 3rd January and lasted for a period of one week as the students went through the screening process. The courses are free of charge and the only requirement expected from the girls is their National identity card and recommendation letter from the Local Chairperson” Moses remarked.
When girls graduate, they’re given certificates and capital in form of cash and equipment depending on the course undertaken. Each girl is given UGX 1,000,000 as startup capital for their business.
After graduating, some of the girls decide to combine their capital by teaming up and forming groups to start businesses. This has put many of them at a greater advantage by combining their capital and skills. Through the initiative, the girl child will create wealth and also help uplift others by creating jobs when their business grows.
“So far the girls that have gone through the course are making us proud. We are impressed with the progress they are making in their various endeavors. This is our fourth intake and over 8,784 girls have benefited from the program with 3,784 yet to graduate soon” said Faridah.
Equipped with the right skilling and guidance, girls are a good resource in the quest to achieve economic development in the country since they make about 60% of the population.