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Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization

Stories of Change from the Field


Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization (GWED-G) is a women’s rights organization in Northern Uganda that was founded in 2004 as a non-profit, non-partisan and non-governmental organization. We implement short and long term sustainable development programs inline with Health, Human Rights, Peace building, Economic and Social Empowerment, Psychosocial support for children and youth, Research, and Advocacy. We envision a healthy, non-violent environment free from poverty and discrimination. Our mission is to strengthen the capacity of grassroots communities in Northern Uganda to become self-reliant agents of change for peace and development through training and education for them to make effective decisions concerning their rights, health, and development.


Table of Contents About this Publication | 5 Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #) Story ## | (Page #)


Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization

www.gwedg.org

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Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization

About This Publication

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MPOWERED: Stories of Change from the Field is a compilation of success stories from all of GWED-G’s current programs in Northern Uganda. GWED-G has been working with grassroots communities, civil society organizations, and leaders at local and national levels since 2004. We have worked with over 150,000 beneficiaries and have recorded hundreds of community achievements resulting from our interventions. Until now, we have not been able to package these successes in one place to be shared with our constituents and supporters. This publication is a presentation of our work and the real stories that have emerged. And there are many more similar accounts that could not fit into this small booklet or that have not been officially recorded. And while the stories here are classified under idistinct programs, often times our beneficiaries take part in one program and lead another. GWED-G’s presence in our partner communities is rarely one-dimensional, allowing us to build strong and comprehensive relationships with grassroots communities and local governments alike. In one sub-county, we may hold an HIV testing event, a community justice dialogue, an income-generation training, and a gender-based violence awareness session in the same week. We are also very active in district and sub-district government meetings and celebrations such as Women’s Day, World Water Day, and International Peace Day just to name a few. Our partnerships with other non-governmental organizations span from Uganda to Norway and from East Africa to North America. We hope to use this publication to share our practices and successes with donors, community members, local and international supporters, and policy makers. But overall, we want to shed light on the incredible communities that we have the privilege of working with. These grassroots leaders are at the forefront of community development and peace building. Without their commitment to health, human rights, economic empowerment, peace, and advocacy for themselves and their communities, no program would be successful and no positive social change would occur. We encourage our readers to discuss and share the issues and the stories presented here. We are looking forward to continuing our work and expanding our programs on the ground. Sincerely, The GWED-G Team

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Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization Women’s Rights Project info… All parishes of Bobi and Koro sub-counties (OSI) GBV

Carol Abachi, 29 Women’s Group Leader, Bobi Sub-county WOMAN DISCOVERS HER LEADERSHIP ABILITIES Carol Abachi 29 is married to Charles 46 of Kalamomoya Village, Paidwe Parish in Bobi Sub County and has been blessed with four children in their marriage. She used to play full time housewife role whose daily roles and responsibilities were confined with the four walls of the house. Trained by her parents and influenced by culture, Carol was denying herself various opportunities such as freedom of association and expression in meetings, gatherings. She testified fearing to attend even family meetings and at worst even expressing her opinion was a farfetched dream that would never come true in her life. In 2009 at the onset on the women rights project, during mobilization, selection and formation of women groups in Bobi Sub County, GWED-G went through the Sub County to help in the process and fortunately the sub county assigned her husband Mr. Charles who is the Parish Chief of Paidwe Parish as the focal point person for the process. Mr. Charles jokingly passed on the information to Carol to attend the meeting for the selection and formation of women groups at the Sub County. She fought the cultural attitude and went to attend the meeting and during the formation of the women groups, the women selected her as the women group leader for Paidwe parish in Bobi Sub County, a role she did not like. As women rights activities rolled on, the women groups 6


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were trained in many aspects including human rights, human rights violations and abuses, Gender based violence, group dynamics and leadership skills, community mobilization and campaign strategies, Business skill training among others. Upon receipt these trainings and realization of existence of women rights as justified under provisions in international human rights laws and instruments such as CEDAW, UDHR and above all article four of the constitution of the republic of Uganda, 1995 she was motivated to break out of her confinement with the four walls and take on leadership.

“I never imagined being a leader at any one time and thought that my greatest role and responsibility was take care of children, cook food, fetch water, wash clothes. But now I am the leaders of all GWED-G women groups in Bobi Sub County. I don’t only attend meetings but actively contribute in discussions where men and women are participants. I speak confidently in public gatherings. I am also now respected by men and women because of the work that I do in helping them solve conflict. I am friends to police, health center III personnel. I can afford to bring food on the table because of the economic empowerment received from GWED-G. My life has improved in the 3 years of this project positively”

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Susan Akello, 22 Beneficiary, Bobi Sub-county Woman Saved From Breaking Marriage and Inability to Access Antiretroviral Treatment Susan Akello, 22 lives in Kalamomiya village, Padiwe parish, Bobi Sub County with the husband one Okello Lutwa 30, from the same village. The couple has been in a happy relationship for over two years. During they have been working together to ensure sustenance of their basic needs through digging, small scale micro business enterprise. However, the couple did not know about their discordance status for all this time they lived as a couple On the 15th February 2012, Susan and the husband picked up a quarrel which seemed endless and threatened to end in physical violence. Okello in the end confiscated her wife’s antiretroviral treatment because they had gone for HIV test and the results indicated discordance among the couple. This state of affairs denied access of antiretroviral treatment to the affected couple for a week. Concerned about her daughter’s health, Madelena Auma, 57, approached Lokokwo Peyot women group leader Abachi Carol and narrated to her the state of events between her and the husband on 22nd February 2012. She was concerned because Okello had thrown Akello and her properties out of the matrimonial home, making her stay with Madelena. Filled with compassion for Akello and with trainings received in basic counseling techniques and mediation, the women group with help from the leader Carol Abachi advised the mother to report the case with the local council one of the village and latter on the women write a letter inviting the husband to attend a meeting at a nursery school the next day aimed at ironing out the case in point. The husband had prior information of the tremendous work being carried out by the women groups in Paidwe parish as testified by 4 men who had fallen victims On the 23rd February 2012, the couple both appeared for the meeting and each party was given time to present their sides of the story for analysis. The husband argued that his actions were as a result of the HIV test outcome which indicated that he (husband) was negative and the wife was positive and this had caused him a lot of pain and suffering. 8


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The women group supported them emotionally and explained that their separation will not help the situation but just worsen it further and since the wife is pregnant, this could cause miscarriage. Upon understanding the situation after thorough counseling of the couple, the husband agreed to take his wife back and he apologized to the women group and local council one leaders. He signed an understanding that he will never chase the wife from home and will support her in every possible way to ensure they live happily together. Follow up on the 11th March 2012 indicate stable relationship with the husband supporting the wife through ensuring that she takes her antiretroviral treatment.

Lawino Nancy, 17 Student, Bobi Sub-county SAVED FROM ACTS OF EARLY MARRIAGE AND SENT TO SCHOOL In the village of Kulu Otit, Paidwe parish, Bobi Sub County lives a couple Mary Ajok, 38 and Ameny Joe, 40. The couple lives solely through peasantry and ensures that they make ends meet through supporting a family of five members including the provision of basic needs such as food, shelter clothing and education for attainment of brighter future opportunities. This family was blessed with a girl called Lawino Nancy who is now 17 and in Primary six in Bobi P.7.School. However, due to influence from peers and bad neighborhood exemplary life, Nancy was discouraged from schooling with persuasion that by the time she completes her schooling she will already be too old and nobody especially men will marry her hence being laughing stalk and joke. Satisfied by explanations advanced by peers and bad neighbors, Nancy was convinced to give up on schooling and enter into marriage at 17. She even began dating and abandoned school because she believed that she was dull to attend school. Concerned about her daughter’s unbecoming behavior coupled with the fear to talk to her Mary Ajok 38, contacted Lokokwo Peyot women group and Paidwe women councilor and in charge of education in Bobi Sub County council Hon Fatuma Awaa for assistance. The ever ready women group trained in conflict 9


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management, mediation, GBV prevention, awareness raising including human rights concepts, documentation and monitoring of Human rights violations and abuses scheduled a meeting at the couple’s home in Kulu Otit without the consent of Nancy In the morning of 18th February 2012, Hon Fatuma and Carol Abachi visited the couple’s home at 7:30 AM before the girl had left home. She was surprised and in fact shocked to learn of the councilor and Carol’s visit. However, the two played downed the significance of their visit to routine checking on girls and boys who are not attending school despite the existence of Universal Primary Education. A meeting was organized and Nancy given time to explain why she absconds school and opts of early marriage. She explained that the reason she was not schooling were: she had failed to perform well in classroom test and was not allowed to go back to school and also added that she was also being misled by married women including chairperson of Child Protection Committee that schooling would make her get old and hence fail to get a man who will marry her since most of the women got married even before her age. Convinced by the explanations given by the women, she also decided to abandon school and get into early marriage. However she repented and apologized for the pains and suffering she had caused to the family and the women groups and vowed to go back to school if given an opportunity The women councilor and Carol sought her opinion after counseling and guidance about her future; where she said she wanted to join a technical college to enable her pursue a course and she thought that her qualification would enable her join the technical college. She was advised to finish Primary seven so that she could join the technical college and taken to school where the two women pleaded with the head teacher to readmit her so as she continues schooling. She was considered by the head teacher of Bobi P.7 School and now she is chasing her dream of joining a technical school.

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Ajok Betty, 42 & Akulu Grace, 32 Community members, Bobi Sub-county When asked what the cause of gender-based violence is, the women’s groups of Bobi sub-county all agreed that alcoholism is one of the primary culprits. The story is all too common: a grassroots woman is beaten and tortured by her drunken husband, who sells foodstuffs and household items meant for his family to fund his daily alcohol consumption. This is not new for the women of Bobi sub-county, but GWED-G’s Paidwe Women’s Group is working tirelessly to uphold the rights of women in their community. Ajok Betty, 42 lives in Paidwe parish in Bobi Sub-county. She had been a victim of wife battering for many years. Her husband liked to drink a lot and would steal items from their home in order to buy alcohol. The violence climaxed when her husband came home one night, picked up an arrow, and tried to shoot Betty. Luckily, the arrow went in a different direction. Betty ran to GWEDG’s Paidwe Women’s Group for help and together, they were able to start the process of family mediation to educate Betty’s husband on the dangers and rights violations of his theft and drinking habits. With the hard work and dedication of the Women’s Group, Betty’s husband has stopped drinking all together and has not stolen anything from his family since. Betty has been empowered to transform her family and she has no words to appreciate the commitment of the Paidwe Women’s Group. Akulu Grace,32 lived with a wild husband who had a habit of drinking. He would fight her often and would chase her around the house with an axe. Grace is HIV positive and after she was hospitalized because of his abuse, he even confiscated her medical forms that gave her access to life-saving ARVs. She knew the Paidwe Women’s Group had come to the 11


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aid of other women in her community, so Grace, weak without her ARVs, went to them to interfere. On the day that the group members came to Grace’s home for the mediation, a discouraged Grace was planning on taking her own life. But with the help of the group, Grace is hopeful again and she has reclaimed her life. Grace and her husband are still working with the group to solve their problems, but Grace’s husband drinks much less and their situation has greatly improved. Most importantly, thanks to her strength and the commitment of her fellow women, Grace is alive and is a productive member of the community.

Women’s Rights Fast Facts -

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Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization Community Justice Project info…  HRVs 

Olweny A. Chris, ## Human Rights Volunteer, Lamogi Sub-county

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Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization

Akello Florence, ## Human Rights Volunteer, Lamogi Sub-county Akello Florence, ##, is one of GWED-G’s Human Rights Volunteers in Lamogi Subcounty, Amuru District. She lives in Awer Parish with her 3 children. Florence was born with a condition that has never allowed her to walk, so for the majority of her life she has had to crawl in order to move around

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Obiya Samuel, 67 Human Rights Volunteer, Lamogi Sub-county

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_____ Lucy, ## HIV Positive Mother and Counselor, Lamogi Sub-county

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Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization HOPE Project info… 2,450    

econ emp Social emop Rehabilitation Legal Assistance

Lakica Irene, 29 Restaurant owner, Patiko Sub-county Lakica is a former child soldier and a current beneficiary under the HOPE project and belongs to Kica Ber VSLA group. She lives in Binonga village in Kal parish of Patiko sub-county. She was abducted in 1991 from Atiak subcounty during cross fire with the UPDF soldiers and taken to the 4th division barracks .She stayed in captivity for 16 years and 9 months. She was later relocated to GUSCO for rehabilitation program which runs for 3 months. Lakica was then resettled back to her home in Patiko where she engaged in crop cultivation to earn money. With her little savings, she started baking bread for sale out of which she was selected for 6 months catering course at St. Monica Girls Tailoring School under the HOPE Project. After completing her course, she returned back to Patiko and got a job in one of the restaurants from where she worked and made savings. 20


Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization

In February 2011, Lakica started her own restaurant where she has been able to win many customers. She narrates that her business has greatly impacted on her because during ordinary days she makes profit between 15,000 to 25,000 shillings while during festive seasons, she earns profit of 25,000 to 50,000 shillings. Lakica is generally a happy woman because of the following achievements:  Her business has enabled her sustain savings through VSLA scheme.  She is able to pay school fees for her children  She has been able to meet medical bills  She has been able to buy household equipments  Bought pigs and chicken that have multiplied Inspite of her achievements, Lakica faces the following challenges:  High cost of rent  Expensive charcoal  Labour shortages  Sale on credit to some customers who may fail to clear their bills. She therefore request for support from the organization especially in marketing her business.

Ayaa Joyce, 35 Small business owner, Awach Sub-county Ayaa is a formerly abducted person and a resident of Paromo bunga village in Gwengdiya Parish of Awach sub-county. She is married with 6 children. Joyce was abducted from her village in 1992, stayed for two weeks in captivity. She returned home and was taken to Gulu town to stay with her uncle from where she got married to a man who did not like her children. This was a turning point in her life because she couldn’t reject her children for the interest of her husband. In this scenario, Joyce was so stressed and did not have food to eat, no business to sustain her family, no garden to cultivate food, she could not afford school requirements for her children, and above all, she was isolated, discriminated and stigmatized against. This situation traumatized her though fellow village mates approached and advised her to go for counseling. It was from this that she got access to psycho-social support from GWED-G under the HOPE Project. 21


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Joyce testified that after receiving counseling from the HOPE project counseling center, her life was not the same because she got engaged in income generating activity (selling cassava) in the market. From this business, she has been able to afford;  Household needs (food)  Medical bills  Clothes for the children  School requirements for her children  From her savings, she has been able to buy chicken and pigs that have multiplied to 15 and 10 respectively. She is grateful for the services rendered to her by GWED-G because her life has socially and economically changed.

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Anenocan Irene, 26 Tailor, Lalogi Sub-county Anenocan Irene is a former child mother and a resident of Otal village in Lalogi sub-county. She is married with 3 children. Anenocan is one of the beneficiaries under HOPE project who was supported in vocational skills training. In February 2002, she was abducted from Aparowiya village and escaped during a battle in August of the same year as she was six months pregnant. After one year, she resumed studies but stopped in primary six because she did not have support for uniforms and other scholastic materials. In 2009, Anenocan got married to another man in the same village whose influence enabled her to be identified by the HOPE project for skills support. She was then admitted at St. Monica Girls Tailoring School for a one year tailoring course. After completion, she was supported with a sewing machine to enable her start an income generating business. This was not easy at the beginning because customers were few and with her little capital, she could not afford to buy materials. With experience, she managed to win more customers where in ordinary days she makes up to an average of 15,000 to 30,000 shillings while during festive seasons, she earns up to 40,000 to 50,000 shillings. Anenocan testified many successes from her business because of the many customers she gets. This has not only increased her daily savings but it has also developed her skills. Besides, she is able to;  Pay school fees for her children  Provide household basic necessities  Afford medical bills  Saved and managed to buy one goat and one pig that have multiplied to five (5) and nine (9) respectively. 23


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In spite of these successes, Anenocan faces the following challenges;  High charges on rent(15,000 shillings per month)  Expensive spare parts and materials for sale  Working on credit as some customers do not make timely payments She therefore requests the organization to strengthen her capacity through linking her to a wider market, loaning institutions to empower her financially and increase her production.

Odoch Lawrence, 43 Formerly Abducted Person, Lalogi Sub-county Mr. Odoch Lawrence is a primary school teacher by profession. He lives Ayomlony village in Jaka parish, Lalogi sub-county with his wife and seven children along with other six relatives. He was abducted in 2003 from Lagude village in Gem parish from Lalogi sub-county. He was hurriedly trained as a soldier and detained in captivity for two months where he got involved in battles with the UPDF soldiers. This exposed him to bullet injuries though he got some minor treatment from the bush. After two months, Mr. Odoch escaped and reported to the local council I of Lagude village from where he was assisted to report back to his village. Mr. Odoch was for a long time not able to walk long distances, do petty work and cultivate his garden. This caused his family some serious financial problems as he was the bread winner for his family. In 2006, he up-graded his qualification to a grade three teacher but unfortunately the inflicted bullet injury pain started again. In August 2011, Mr. Odoch accessed physical rehabilitation support through GWED-G HOPE project after being referred to Watoto Rehabilitation Centre and on the 25th of the same month he was 24


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admitted at Watoto Comprehensive Rehabilitation Hospital in Entebbe where he was diagnosed of ostemomylitis complication (bomb splinter in the bone) that had for long exposed him to sleep on only one side and also severely weakened his general health conditions. He is now free of pain and feels much better though still weak to move since he lacks energy and strengths as he is unable to do productive work like teaching, cultivation to sustain and support his family. He will return for physiotherapy exercise on 8th November 2011.

Adong Evelyn, 46 FAP and Business owner, Patiko Sub-county Adong lives in Anyadwe village in Patiko Sub-county, a mother of 12 children (7males and 5 females) and also fosters 4 orphaned grandchildren belonging to her daughter. She is an LRA survivor (FAP) who returned home in 2002 after she lost her first husband and four other children. She started her small business of buying beans, vegetables such as tomatoes and cabbages with shillings 20,000 to generate more income. In her commitment, she joined the VSLA group where she was able to borrow money to expand her business. Her borrowings were 20,000/=, 50,000/= and 30,000/= respectively. After gaining enough profits, she decided to withdraw from group borrowings and instead concentrated on self-financing to increase stock. With her current business, Evelyn makes between shillings 70,000 on normal days to shillings 100,000 on market days. From her daily sales, she is able to meet household necessities such as buying food, soap, milling flour. She has afforded treatment for her sick children, paid bride price for her daughter in law, paid school fees and procured oxen for farming. Despite her achievements, Evelyn is challenged by:  High cost for stock transported to her sales premises  Lack of ready and available markets  High school fees charges especially at secondary level, this has rapidly drained her savings.

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However, she narrated that being in a group has positively changed her life as follows: 

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She has been able to access free counseling from group members, which has enabled her forget her past experience of suffering she had while in the bush. She has been able to borrow money to expand her business. Being in a group has enabled her and her colleagues to access benefits from organizations and other institutions, for example, they have been able to get free groundnut seeds from GWED-G. Group formation has also enhanced collective responsibilities.


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Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization HIV Prevention and Maternal Health  This program is part of a partnership between GWED-G and GlobeMed at Columbia University that began in 2009. Our health program focuses on increasing access to quality health services related to maternal health and HIV/ AIDS. Much of what we do is based out of Kaladima Health Center III in Lamogi Sub-county. Since 2010, our partnership has provided 17 HIV positive mothers with goats as a form of capital, established income generating activities (IGA) and Village Saving and Loans Associations (VSLA) with HIV positive women’s groups, formed youth groups to promote reproductive health services with the youth of Lamogi Sub-county. Additionally, because many of our communities are in hard to reach areas we organize outreach events for HIV testing and Antenatal care  VHT  Maternal and newborn death rate  Paraleglas helping to mediate with families

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By-law Combats Domestic Violence Awach Sub-county, Gulu District Awach Sub-county is situated in the Northern Part of Gulu District. Awach is 36km away from Gulu municipality. The sub-county has a population of approximately 31,000 people. GWED-G has been working in Awach combating violence against women through preventive approaches and using human rights education methodologies. These included training of women groups, conducting community meetings and dialogue with local leaders and working closely with sub-county councilors. Initially In the sub-counties of Awach, Palaro, Paicho and Unyama is no by-law against selling of household items which makes men sell food stuff and use the money for drinking alcohol which later leads to domestic violence especially physical assault. In these sub-counties, over 10 cases of physical assaults with severe injuries have been reported to GWED-G offices from each sub-county monthly.

During the 16 days of Gender Activism GWED-G held community dialogue meetings with stakeholders/ duty bearers in the S/county of Awach including villages and parishes. Over 36 councilors coming from 7 31


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Parishes attended. After the dialogue the community leaders had already started formulating by-law against GBV perpetrators especially on people who sell House hold items in their sub county .The LCIII chairperson and the speakers had pledge their commitment to table the draft copy of the by law in full council meeting in February 2012 for the committee to review and present their views so that the law will be pass in march 2012. The step taken is in the right direction for community local leaders to recognize the need to joint hand in the fight against GBV in their areas. In one of the village called Bolipii in Paibona parish the village leaders had already drafted by laws which they had sent to Awach sub county council for approval in the next council meeting slated for February 2012 for them to start operational in Paibona. Through effective human rights education and awareness campaign, and working with the grassroots leadership, this project started increasing awareness on women’s rights and sensitivity of gender issues amongst men and women. HRE has become a powerful tool in encouraging grassroots local leaders to further be able to analyze women’s human rights challenges based on international and regional human rights standards and principles that puts forwards the issues of accountability and respect for gender equality. It’s envisaged that by the end of the 3years program, women and men in the targeted constituencies are empowered to participate on an equal basis in decisions that affects their lives.

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Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization      

GBV SASA training ARC Palaro, Paicho, Awach

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Gulu Women’s Economic Development & Globalization P.O Box 1257, Gulu Plot No.2/3 Opok Oyaru Road, Pece Division Gulu Municipality Gulu District, Uganda +256 04714 36460 gwed-g-uganda@hotmail.com www.gwedg.org


EMPOWERED