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Source: Daily Monitor
Eight districts in Acholi sub-region and two municipalities will each receive Shs2.480 billion, according to figures released by the ministry at the orientation meeting held at Mwokka Hotel in Gulu Town on Tuesday.

Vulnerable women in the greater north and West Nile have reason to smile after the Ministry Of Gender, Labour and Social Development, announced a Shs6.7 billion fund to benefit them through the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme.

Eight districts in Acholi sub-region and two municipalities will each receive Shs2.480 billion, according to figures released by the ministry at the orientation meeting held at Mwokka Hotel in Gulu Town on Tuesday.

Government is also expected to advance about Shs1.8 billion to nine districts and two municipalities in Lango sub-region.

The same programme will be implemented in seven districts of West Nile and two municipalities of Arua and Koboko districts.

State minister for Gender and Culture, Ms Peace Mutuuzo, said the programme will be rolled out to all districts in Uganda after a pilot project was conducted in 19 districts and Kampala City.

The five-year project targets vulnerable women, unemployed, women with disabilities, women living with HIV/Aids and women in hard-to-reach areas.

Speaking at the orientation workshop, Ms Mutuuzo noted that the fund is aimed at improving the income of local women at the grassroot in terms of self-reliance.

She said at least 222 women groups in the three sub-regions are expected to benefit, adding that the fund is a revolving fund among the group members and it is free of interest.

Each group will comprise of between 10-15 members aged between 18 and 65 years.

“The group members will agree on an enterprise and they will be given the funds,” Ms Mutuuzo said.

The minister expressed confidence in the project, saying that unlike the Youth Livelihood Fund where some groups mismanaged the money, women are trustworthy and will work hard to repay the money in order to protect their integrity.

Mr Julius Magara, a principal officer in the ministry, who represented Mr Pius Bigirimana, the permanent secretary, warned district officials against asking for kick-backs in the name of helping the women access the fund.

Gulu District chairperson Martin Ojara Mapenduzi said the fund is a milestone in empowering rural women, whose savings have always been swindled by the microfinance institutions in the district.

The Shs43 billion programme was launched by the Prime Minster, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, in February.

By James Owich & Stephen Okello

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