On 21st July 2017, a certificate of incorporation was handed to me reading ,”Femme Forte Uganda Ltd ” this was huge, i did a somersault in my head, a physical one was beyond my means. A happy dance welled up in my stomach ,so i texted and called so many people to share this big news .This was so huge a milestone that i took myself out to celebrate . It was a dream come to life .My friends and everyone who i bumped into that cared to listen, had spent so much time brainstorming and trying to name this dream that i was trying to translate from my heart, this baby that was due for birth, but every name we came up with was already taken or reserved by some other ambitious soul out there . And now here we were, finally registered with a name, the baby was finally here!
For as long as memory can carry me , i have wanted work with women. Back then i wasn’t even sure what that meant but i knew i was going to support and work with different women at different stages in my life. On 10th March 2017, i convened a meeting with my friends where we talked about forming a young women’s initiative that would help young women maximize their potential. Allow me skip most of the details between that initial meeting and now because it has been quite the journey! Hearts have been broken, tears cried , parties thrown , memories made and through it all, we have grown and are proud to be turning two. What started as a dream is now a steadily growing entity transforming lives , one woman at a time. Although we are a small organization, as small as the famous mustered seed, we are effective risk takers, we love what we do and we work each minute, every day, to put a smile on the faces of our constituency. It is not just any smile, it is the kind of smile where we hold on to the fact that every young woman matters as a principle, this is the core of our work; that it is not just every woman, but every moment; everything we do that matters.
Today, i am honored to serve with a team of very phenomenal women who are fiercely working to promote, demand and protect the rights and well-being of young women; mostly those who are excluded, marginalized and exploited by being women and living in both the urban and rural areas of Uganda. Our work is anchored by the following pillars: Strengthening young women’s leadership, organizing them and increasing their capacity to participate in national politics, enhancing their ability to understand money and how national resources are allocated, (gender budgets) through extensive communication, and ensuring their well-being and that of their environments through self-care and celebration. We exist to strengthen pathways between young and older women who aspire to meaningfully contribute to the greater women’s movement in Uganda.
This baby’s journey has been amazing. There have been tears , pains that can not be explained , joys beyond measure , failures and wins , battles and celebrations , so many lows but even greater highs and yet through it all, she still gets up and continues to grow. Today , i want to celebrate because i am grateful! Grateful for opportunities before us , for open doors , for sisters and brothers on whose shoulders we have stood . Grateful for the likes, the calls , the visits , the messages you send us to remind us you care. I am grateful for the lives we have impacted , grateful for the grace to do the work we do everyday, grateful for a phenomenal team with whom this work is made possible , grateful for Inspector Derrick and Tom sawyer. I am grateful for growth and the many chances you have all taken on us , Thank you for choosing us .
As we grow older, We are convinced that a small number of people, acting locally and using creative approaches can make a big difference. We acknowledge that we wouldn’t be here without all the #FemmeForte out there. We are at that stage where we need you more than before because when you choose us everyday, you carry us. You do not grow weary of shinning your lights in our paths, you do not leave our corner , you keep cheering us on ,thank you. We celebrate today and many more great years ahead of us with confidence in the power of your sisterhood support and solidarity.
We have a vision to attain a balanced society where there is equal opportunity for both men and women and we are willing to take whatever action the context allows to make the vision real, however dis-empowering the environment. We will take what we have, and not just do the best we can with it but go further and make it fashionable. As we do this, we will continue to learn, share knowledge, catalyze innovation, and mobilize others across the country and the continent. We are embarking on our work with eyes wide open, ears to the ground and hearts on fire. We are not surrendering or leaving our rage, resilience or resistance; they are all here, in our work. We will implement this work deliberately and intentionally and do so with love, hope, trust, gentleness and determination. Here’s to a lifetime of inspiring Strong women to find their voice and rise. Here is to #FemmeForte!