Kamish, Campbell & Feben were students from Northwestern University who participated on FSD Fall II 2020 virtual internship. They were interested in understanding local communities’ cultures and development challenges while supporting them with tangible solutions.
Based on their interests, the students were placed to work with our community partner organization called United African Orphans and Widows Foundation (UAOWF) which is located in Iganga. UAOWF is a women and children focused organization that strives to achieve lasting improvement in the quality of orphans, vulnerable children and widows through education, material support, psychosocial support, health care and income generating activities.
After conducting a community assessment with support from UAOWF Staff, the students identified a need for hands-on skill development to prepare a community group of women supported by (UAOWF) for a joint business venture. This formed a basis for their project. The goal was to empower the women with personal finance skills and financial literacy curricula so as to launch productive investments. This was aimed to contribute to the women group’s economic development to reduce poverty and promote economic self sustainability and resilience.
During the initial stages of the project implementation, an in depth assessment was done to identify business topics women wished to learn more about before pursuing their joint business venture. The women expressed interest to learn topics covering; business proposal and planning, budgeting, marketing, and indicators of success. The students together with UAOWF staff team formulated a curriculum covering these respective topics and further conducted zoom training sessions along with the women.
The sessions involved, the student led discussions, breaking the women up into sub groups to talk about their ideas. The students also held informational sessions, including definitions, equations, and visual aids specifically tailored to the business needs and interests of the women. At the end of each session, the women were given chance to ask the students and UAOWF staff team questions to clarify their learning. This was to help women group develop a good sense of direction in business once training was done.
On completion of the training, the community was better prepared with skills necessary to pursue their business venture. The business venture interest was a retail store which the community actively secured the location and started operating. UAOWF plans to replicate the business curricula training sessions for other community groups they support.