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Girl child empowerment has become a key issue that governments and other development
actors across the globe continue to address. Despite several ongoing efforts,
girls in many societies don’t still get the same opportunities as their male
Those in technical and vocational education in Uganda for instance are often limited to pursuing courses considered ideal for “females”. This prevents them from achieving their full potential.
Enabel to the rescue
The Belgian development agency, Enabel is changing this trend by subsidizing the training for girls in previously male dominated courses such as welding, aluminum fitting and motor vehicle and motorcycle mechanics among others.
28 year old Yudita Akugizibwe from Kansingo Busiisi Division in Hoima Municipality, Hoima District is one of the beneficiaries. At the age of 17 while in primary seven, Yudita’s sister got pregnant. This was the beginning of her despair.
The pregnancy upset her father who decided that he would no-longer “waste” his money to pay fees for any girl.
Yudita turned to her mother and sisters who in difficulty managed to support her education up to senior three.
“In the first term of senior four when I was supposed to register for the national exam, I was forced to drop out because they no longer had money. I have been at home idle since 2008,” Yudita says.
Skills development renews hope
One day when listening to a local radio station, Yudita learnt about a training opportunity at St. Simon Peter’s Vocational Training Centre. She applied and few days later, was informed that she has been admitted.
“I have always loved welding. My entire village of Kasingo has only one welder. I always see him busy and guess he should be making lots of money.” Yudita says with a smile.
Yudita adds that she also chose welding because of the many houses being constructed in her area. The buildings, she says will need metallic doors and windows which she will be able to make at a fee.
Upon completion of her course, Yudita plans to find a job and save part of the earnings from it to open her own workshop.
“I also want my newly acquired skills to be a lesson to my father that it’s valuable to educate the girl child,” she says.
Yudita is one of the 40 girls who have benefited from the training which is part of the support to skilling Uganda programme implemented by Enabel and the Ministry of Education and Sports with funding from the kingdom of Belgium.
The programme aims at equipping vulnerable youth such as child mothers, school dropouts and extreme poor with the skills needed for employment and job creation.