Do you ever wonder what it would be like to hold serious meetings in informal spaces? what would that look like? Would they be effective or would people be too relaxed to think? Do you ever wish you were in a space that didn’t scream deadlines and pressure yet, so serious it got your mind spiraling with ideas? I love such spaces! I am a very visual human, i love to sing , draw my ideas or even create a story around them so they don’t come off with as much intensity as i envision them, most times they are too big and scary. I love breaking things down, and helping others be on the same page with me. I, in fact miss my elementary and Sunday school Days, where we sang literally every thing and life was so sweet, no wonder we still remember most things we learned then. So, while we were dreaming for Femme Forte, We dreamed about such spaces and we baptized them Equip circles. These are learning spaces committed to conversations with the future.
Femme forte is a movement building entity that is mobilizing and equipping women to become better leaders who change the story towards an equitable society. We are seeking to build effective resilience to break barriers and reach new heights for women in Uganda. Our core areas of work involve mobilizing women, equipping them, Sharing (hearing and telling ) their story and Celebrating them. We love Women and believe in their advancement in the social, economic, political and spiritual spheres and we practice Integrity, sisterhood , Accountability, Feminist leadership and Equity.
We are at a turning point for women , where advances in women’s rights are at threat from rising fundamentalism’s, financial crises, political turmoil and back lash against feminism. Very important gains have been made in many frameworks , policies and laws that protect the rights of women, yet, the power dynamics that drive inequality between men and women remain in force at all levels. We, therefore envision a balanced society that provides equal opportunity to both men and women. So, how do you get young women to have honest conversations in a safe space that is not another boardroom meeting? How do you build trust away from the commonly abused “mentorship word ” How do you link the older generations of women to the younger women to share and learn, and grow? It starts with conversations in safe spaces like the Equip circles.
Femme Forte exists to strengthen pathways between young and older women who aspire to meaningfully contribute to the greater women’s movement in Uganda and the world. It has often been said that, “be careful what inner circle you choose, they are either adding value to you or reducing it” and because of this, some of us have become crippled by fear to engage and network in a bid to safe guard our space and not get hurt. Fear is a lie! Break away from it and be a river that flows into other peoples lives to add value to them. Our Equip Circles are learning spaces where we can overcome our fears and differences by bringing in innovations to support women in their various areas of leadership, be it at home, in the market place or even as they lead themselves. They are designed towards catering for the different women issues and needs which aren’t satisfied by the traditional formal learning spaces (i.e. library spaces, book clubs , board rooms etc)
These Equip Circles provide the type of space that women can drop in and use to discuss ideas, exchange knowledge, sharpen skills ,build on ideas , listen to one another, celebrate and mourn together or even just feel safe. They are a more relaxed environment, typically with soft furnishings. The concept behind the Circles is the learning environment created by these spaces which is very much focused on providing a learning and growing safe circle. Rather than creating formal learning spaces in our boardrooms and offices, our women are free to talk and are often permitted to eat and drink within these Equip Circles to enable them enough comfort to share and deal with real issues affecting their livelihood without shame or fear.
At the Equip circles, we learn, have fun, share good food , recognize and celebrate people’s contributions as often as possible. Laughter renews the human spirit, sharing food creates fellowship and recognizing people’s contributions and sharing credit generosity builds confidence and strengthens long term partnerships which foster candid conversations that enable growth.
We invite you to join us, as we build this movement of women who support fellow women by pushing ourselves to new heights. Our hope at the end of the day, is that we will have told our stories , sparked change and built a movement of fearless women around Uganda who change the stories in their communities by each one equipping and supporting another woman. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter @ FemmeForteUg , or subscribe @www.femmeforteug.org. Let us Mobilize and equip women for an equitable society !!!