Over 800 small scale business women in Gulu district have benefited from basic business skills training from the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), a women’s national non-partisan organization.
The women, who belong to 32 women groups taken from different parts of Gulu district, received training in skills like record keeping, bookkeeping, customer care, marketing and resource mobilization among others.
Majority of the participants, many of whom are engaged in farming, groceries, baking and selling of food stuff among others, confessed that they did not know if they were making losses or profits from their businesses since they kept no records.
Joyce Ojara, one of the beneficiaries and the Chairperson of Mon Paco farmers group in Punena parish, said she did not know the importance of bookkeeping and record keeping.
“I have realized that I have been stealing from my own business because I have not been recording the pocket money I give to my children, money to my friends or even what I spend on myself,” she said.
“Now I know why my business has not been growing. I did not know where the money from my business was going,” said Ojara who is also engaged in baking and knitting.
Ojara said she has been focused mainly on selling and marketing her products and sometimes thought an outsider was frustrating her business’s growth.
Akwero Joyce of PeIcar Young Women Group in Palaro Sub County, Gulu district said, “I did not know how much money I was making from my business. I buy things like Posho, sugar and soda and sell but I do not know whether I am making money or not.”
Minallah Adong who is a business mentor to the women advised them to aim at growing their businesses.
“Do not be comfortable with selling for example one basin of silver fish every month. You should work at seeing your sales grow from one basin to one and half the next month,” she said.
Adong also advised the women to find someone proficient in accounting to look at their books to ensure that they account for every shilling invested in their business.
She also advised them to start by marketing their products to friends and neighbors.
“When you go to a meeting, make sure that you talk to people about your product so that you have more customers,” Adong said.
Brenda Aromorach, the FOWODE Gulu Field officer, told theCooperator that the training was being conducted under a three year project dubbed “Women’s Empowerment and Leadership”, worth over Shs 1bn.
“It is being implemented in five districts of Gulu, Kibuku, Luwero, Rukungiri and Amuria.”
Aromorach noted that economic empowerment of the women is a catalyst for the women to take up leadership positions.
“During our baseline survey, many women said they could not participate in leadership because they did not have money for picking nomination forms,” she said.
Aromorach also noted that most women find resource mobilization for their business ventures a challenge.
“Most of our women don’t know much to do with resource mobilization; few of them even think of going for loans to boost their businesses. But now we are empowering them to find different sources of funding including government programs like Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP).”
Jacqueline Piloya-the Gulu District UWEP focal person encouraged the women groups to apply for the funds saying the program has boosted many groups in the district.
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