Celebrating Women’s Day, Celebrating Life!

URF staff and volunteers organized a series of activities to honor our women on the International Women’s Day on March 08, 2012. At URF, we are committed to the empowerment of rural women through our holistic approach involving a number of outreach programs. These include: village banking which gives women access to small loans; arts and crafts for small revenues; seed loans to boost their farming; leadership and business skills training; maternal and child health; and adult literacy.

warm hugs

This report below by Caroline Nanungi is a compilation of the speeches given by staff and volunteers.

“The ceremony started at 2:00pm-5:00pm. It was opened with the national anthems which were led by the school choir and after they presented their first song about mothers.

Painting of the women’s nails was the first activity with the help of (Naomi, Jessica, Stephanie, and Leandrea)

There was a break for drinks and snacks.

Speeches followed after as shown below;

Carols’ speech (I welcomed the women and gave my speech in Luganda)

International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911. The concept was proposed in 1910 at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. Then on 19 March 1911, more than one million women and men attended International Women’s Day events across Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. They were campaigning for women’s rights, including the right to vote, work and hold public office.

Since 1911, International Women’s Day has been held annually on 8 March. It is an important forum because:

  • · It celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women, and their vital role in societies across the world, and
  • · It provides an occasion to reflect on and promote the work that still needs to be done towards true gender equality.

painting nails

International Women’s Day is a crucial opportunity to keep women’s issues on national and international agendas. Despite greater protection for the rights of women – improved access to education; health care and employment – women still do not enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men in many areas.

March 8, 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

  • · International Women’s Day is now observed in 68 countries, in some parts of the world such as Eastern Europe and China, it has a status equivalent to Mothers’ Day, where small gifts are given to mothers and grandmothers. In some countries it is marked by a public holiday. In other parts of the world, such as North America, Western Europe and Australia, International Women’s Day has maintained its strong political and social awareness theme.
  • · The United Nations promotes International Women’s Day every year
  • · 2000 and beyond
    IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
  • · The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life.

Today has been a fabulous global celebration of women past, present, and future ~ the largest gathering of women for International Women’s Day in the history of the world!

Women worldwide have connected to celebrate and honour women past, present, and future, in many exciting ways. Amazing women celebrities, athletes, political leaders, and experts will speak about women’s issues today. There will be live musical entertainment and much more!

On this day women “Celebrate, Commit, and connect.” They’ll celebrate like never before ~ connect as only women do ~ and commit to improve in 3 areas of their lives:

gifts that were given to the women

Personal ~ improve their personal health and well being, and their businesses as employees, business owners, entrepreneurs.

Family ~ help their families be healthier and prepare for the future right now.

Country ~ let their voices be heard: to speak up, to make positive changes in their communities/countries.


JESSICA SANTOS’ SPEECH( Martin translated her speech in luganda)

My name is Jessica Santos and I am a URF volunteer from Australia. In celebration of IWD, I would like to share some information about women in Australia.

Australia is a country that has made good progress in increasing women’s rights to participate in society, e.g. Women receive financial assistance when they have children, there are services to keep women healthy and free from violence and abuse, and there are laws to ensure women have equal opportunities to work alongside men.

chapatis for snacks

However, while Australia is one of the highest ranked countries for women’s education, women still have limited choice when it comes to work; this is usually because of family responsibilities. When they do work, they are often paid less than men for doing the same job

Also, while there are many laws to keep Australian women safe as possible, stil30% of Australian women have experienced physical violence in their lives and 20% have experienced sexual assault.

I have read + spoken to others about the challenges facing Ugandan women, it seems there are a number of common problems that affect women both in Australia and Uganda + in fact worldwide; these include employment problems, violence and abuse.

Most countries have laws to protect women and increase their well-being. However, sometimes they are not properly implemented or supported by the necessary services to make them work. In these situations, greater political commitment or resources are needed to make laws a reality for the women they are meant to serve.

Also, equality for women will not occur simply because laws have been made. It also requires a commitment from men and women across the world, from Australia to Uganda to challenge and stop the beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that lead to discrimination against females.

In closing, while there are arrange of common challenges that affect women, I also believe there are a range of common strengths that bring us together. These strengths can help us continue to increase the rights of women here in Uganda, throughout Africa and across the globe. I have seen these strengths in family, students, my female friends, colleagues both from Australia and Uganda. They include being hardworking, positive, resilient plus working together to produce successful and peaceful outcomes for all. THANK YOU AND HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY.

Hope Academy school choir singing

GREGORY’S SPEECH ( I translated his speech in luganda)

Hello every one,

I am Gregory from Canada, I volunteer with URF, I am happy to be here to celebrate this day with you because I love Uganda, and it’s a beautiful country. I am standing before you to share a few things about my mother.

She is a wonderful woman, she raised me up and my young ones, took me to school. She worked so hard looking after us and herself, without her I don’t think we would have the lives we have now, I love her and am glad that your also mothers; you care for your children and in our lives you play a big role, which role goes up to the families and our communities/societies. It’s your day, enjoy.

Snacks and drinks were served to the guests


Hello everyone,

I am Kirsten from Canada, I am happy to celebrate this day with you, people of Lwengo district .

In Canada, when someone welcomes us ,we respond with a gift just as am going to do right now because am happy that you welcomed us in your community. (She had already given out cards with different numbers which were to be used as barrots. She gave out gifts randomly following which card was drafted, and the gifts included; books, pens, gomesiz, soap, purses, tooth brushes)

She also talked to them about idea of opening up a website for their already made crafts, in order to get for them market for their products in Canada, and at the same time urged them to make baby carriers which she would sell in her home country if they were interested.

Painting of charts followed

The choir sang its last two songs and the function was closed.

We thank Kirsten who offered to organize the ceremony and buy gifts for the women, URF’s collaboration to make sure it all goes well, Gregory who took the  pictures ,Charles and Jehan who prepared chapattis’ for function, Jjaaja who let us have the function at her home, the volunteers  who did the women’s nails, the school choir that sung, and the women who attended.

drawing for the prizes