I work as Executive Director for Akina Mama waAfrika in Kampala, Uganda. I am responsible for monitoring the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. I also provide leadership in developing and implementing programs, organizational and financial plans; as well as maintaining effective communications, publicising activities of the organisation, and maintaining sound working relationships with stakeholders. Finally I represent the organization’s programs and positions to partners and ensure staff management, financial management and direction.
I am not shy to call myself a feminist nor to be labelled as one. I believe in promoting and defending the equal political, economic and social rights for women in their diversity regardless of class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, work, religion etc. These are rights that are enshrined in CEDAW, that seek equal opportunities for women in every sphere of life. Where these rights are denied, it is my duty to fight for their recognition at a personal level and also with others who stand to promote and defend the rights.
The challenges feminists face include the continued vilification of feminism as being aggressive, exclusive, anti men, anti marriage etc. This has resulted in a situation where even funders do not have women’s rights activists in their organizations, or where funders shy away from funding feminist organizations. In addition, the complexities posed by the emerging issues that impact on funding for women’s rights is seeing donors reducing funding for women’s rights to fund gender in government programs to achieve the MDGs. Added to that the emergence of the private sector as an engine of growth which is getting increased funding; this sector rarely is involved in promoting gender equality let alone women’s rights; and the picture concerning women’s rights appear dire.
Being a mother of grown up daughters we discuss women’s rights and how these are actually a feminist agenda. I also from time to time use my daughters’ contacts on face book to discuss women’s rights and how these need to be defended and promoted. I try to relate to current news items that I find in newspapers e.g. incidents of women’s dress, rape, maternal death etc. In my professional life, I am conscious about managing the organization in a way that applies feminist principles to include: participation, building staff, flexibility, transparency and accountability to mention a few.
I am a mentor for three young women from a disadvantaged community in my country whom I have encouraged to stay in school because it is their right. Having found myself in a position to influence allocation of funding to women’s rights I accomplished this task and got the organization to see the importance of promoting and defending women’s rights to address the imbalance in access and opportunities for women. Finally, my activism includes making the decision to work for a women’s organization that is a feminist organization and does not shy away from being labeled.
I am inspired by the love and support I get from my mother, siblings, husband, children and my grandchildren to work away from my home country for the past thirteen years.