Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ugandan Woman Jane Rwampunda wins innovation prize

Uganda's leading daily New Vision has awarded Jane Rwampunda, founder of Bugaaki Development Organisation  (BUDO) the Women's vision prize for her "creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, impact on her household income as well as the community"  

Rwampunda was selected for her innovation in making charcoal fridges, which she sells to farmers and traders in markets. The local technology fridges preserve vegetables, fruits and keep farmers’ drinks cold as they await sale. Rwampunda’s charcoal fridges cost sh55,000 or more depending on the size.

She uses the money from her charcoal fridge sales to invest in solar dryers which increase the shelf life of perishable farm produce. This makes her business sustainable. Rwampunda’s charcoal fridges contribute directly to the agricultural sector on which the country’s economy depends. This innovation directly helps the grassroot farmers, 70 per cent of who are women.

Charcoal fridge
Photo: Charcoal fridge

Though New Vision could only make a special commendation to Jane Rwampunda, several other women short-listed deserve mention.

Florence Kabogoza is a farmer in Mityana. Her story was highlighted in The New Vision of July 20, 2004. She makes crude waragi from jackfruit and sells it to Uganda Breweries in Kampala. Kabogoza’s creativity of increasing the shelf life and adding value to a fruit that has always been wasted was commended.

She supplies bigger businesses. The forward and backward linkages are very good. This is what women should learn from her,” said Kitakule.

Kabogoza narrowly missed the award because of the nature of her product - waragi. “The product and its impact on society and health matter. There are too many cases of alcoholic husbands battering their wives,” Sarah Lubega, UWEAL Board member said.

The third candidate, Norah Zawedde (New Vision, May 18, 2004) was short-listed for the challenge she poses to other youths who drop out of school for lack of school fees. “So many youths drop out of school yet there are many opportunities to make money for school fees out there.

Zawedde’s efforts are a challenge to all those who say “I’m not going to school because I don’t have fees”. Zawedde has been vending newspapers to raise her school fees. Other women are Betty Rutare Byanyima of Hope for Harvest, Mbarara (New Vision July 2004). Byanyima was identified as a social entrepreneur.

Betty Byanyima used money she got from selling old newspapers to buy goats for other women in her community. The goats are being reared for income generation. Byanyima’s start-up capital for this project came from the sale of old newspapers, which many people do not consider as a money making resource.

Her children, along with her, combed different parts of Kampala city, gathering and later selling the old newspapers. But her innovativeness and its community benefit aspect did not seem to have contributed much to her own household income nor is she involved in the goat rearing herself. She is a social entrepreneur.

Others on the shortlist are: Rosemary Bahitana Bangirana of Kakyeka, Mbarara who produces about 1,000 litres of wine annually. The 60-year –old retired primary school teacher started the project in 1995 using oranges and lemon fruits. Initially, she produced five litres of wine every day. (New Vision, July 2004)

Mrs Flister Ssekandi designs clothes for men across East Africa. She started a tailoring business with one sewing machine. Today she owns 16 machines and employs 16 people (New Vision, July 6, 2004)

Allen Neumbe a blind woman, aged 27 earns a living by knitting clothes (New Vision, October 22, 2004)

Nnalongo Kacura, a widow from Kabwohe, Itendero Town Council, Bushenyi has been earning a living and maintain her family by roasting gonja (plantain). From the business, she built shops. (New Vision, September 22, 2004).

Nominate your woman achiever

Do you know of a woman whose project or innovation has improved herself and her community in any sphere of life? It could be in health-care, education, farming, nutrition, business, parenting and childcare, they could qualify for Women’s Vision Achiever of the Year award.

It is a non-monetary award given out to one outstanding woman every year on Women’s Day. New Vision will follow up nominated women in the course of the year to profile and consequently give publicity. At the end of the year, your nominee could qualify for the award.

Please, send the name of woman or women’s group, type of project, location, what they do, why you think she/they deserve to be recognised, contact of the nominated woman achiever to:
The Features Desk, New Vision, P.O. Box 9815, Kampala,
Or email to
Or fax to 041 235843 or call 041 337127.
Include your name, phone contact, and address

[via Afrotecnik]

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