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Women Global Empowerment Fund

Rating: 4.98 stars   103 reviews 13,747

Address:

PO Box 6283 Denver CO 80206 USA

Mission:

The mission of WGEF is to reach poor and underseved women in northern Uganda thru microfinance loans and education programs, creating opportunities while strengthening families and communities. Our goal is to work for social justice, increased human security and women's empowerment.

Geographic areas served:

Northern Uganda

2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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303.520.7656
www.wgefund.org

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Reviews for Women Global Empowerment Fund

Rating: 5 stars  

I interned at WGEF last summer in Gulu, Uganda. Not only did it change my life, but it significantly helped those in the community. Women's lives, as well as the lives of their families were bettered in every way. Children were always in school, and women finally had autonomy over their lives. The non-profit worked in a very efficient way where every employee was involved from the field work to working with corporate partners. An amazing crew of employees and an amazing set of clients!

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

In fall of 2015, I had the honor and privilege of accompanying Women's Global Empowerment Fund on a trip to Gulu District in Northern Uganda to observe field visits, meet some of WGEF's most inspiring clients, and attend the annual drama festival, which is WGEF's innovative and original capstone program to elevate women's' voices—to a place of social, political, and economic empowerment—through indigenous song, dance, and storytelling.

I became acquainted with WGEF when I covered the organization for Denver's city magazine after our readers voted it (as they have multiple times) Denver's top humanitarian organization. Since then, I've found myself at fundraisers, performances, and collaborations that highlight the organization's work. In other words, I was familiar with WGEF's mission and accomplishments. But not until I witnessed the following in Uganda, did I truly, truly get it:

“I was blind…but now I can see.” It was a short statement, but spoken slowly, with intention, directed toward WGEF founder Karen Sugar. A group of women in a rural village in Northern Uganda—participants in WGEF's literacy trainings—had gathered beneath the shade of a hulking jackfruit tree to greet a small WGEF team during their field visit. The woman stood as she spoke. She walked to a blackboard propped against the tree, picked up a piece of chalk, and carefully wrote her entire name across the smudged slate. Sugar watched from a wooden bench in the dusty clearing as her tears fell. That tiny moment was what her life’s work is all about.

In the grand scheme of our trip, it was the smallest of moments. But it was so big. It made such an impact on me as a moment of such raw honesty and joy. This is what WGEF does: It creates humanity in a space where it had once been extinguished.

I could go on about our visit to the brand new market in Gulu Town, and the WGEF clients we met selling vegetables there. I could talk about the gracious chicken feast that one women's group prepared for us when we visited their village and dairy collaborative, or the endless fields of beans and millet and tilapia ponds that one client led us through—agricultural projects she launched with loans from WGEF. I could recount how mesmerized I was by the drama festival, and the passion and creativity the women put into their performances to convey the theme of "women and gender equity in civic participation"—a topic that couldn't be more relevant in a year when 10 WGEF clients pursued political office. I could talk about WGEF's dedicated, relentlessly hard-working staff who pour their hearts and souls into serving their clients and giving women a voice in their communities, sometimes under the most trying circumstances.

I could go on and on about all of these things. But I'll leave it here, with my sincerest thank you to Karen Sugar and Women's Global Empowerment Fund for sharing their work—and for caring enough to do it.

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

The Women's Global Empowerment Fund is literally a life-saving game-changer for so many women in the post-conflict, northern Uganda region. Through founder Karen Sugar's vision, innovation, dedication, and passion, the organization has been instrumental in helping women re-discover their entrepreneurial spirit and acquire the skills and education to support themselves and their families in a region mired in recovery. WGEF gives a collective voice to the northern Ugandan women it serves, not only to stand up for themselves as people, but to embrace their power as women in a traditionally male-dominated society. It's rare to see an organization with such compassion, heart, and soul.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

A plethora of Colorado events that let the public see how the women of northern Uganda have personally experienced the results; witnessing personal speeches and stories from women in this region who have turned their lives around through the programs of WGEF.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way to get more donors, funds, and employees on board to allow WGEF to continue doing the amazing work it does.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

How did you learn about this organization?

Through 5280: The Denver Magazine, in which Women's Global Empowerment founder Karen Sugar was featured as Denver's Top Humanitarian in the annual Top of the Town issue.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

When you realize that a small contribution can make such a huge difference to others, it's very hard to ignore impact we're able to make.

I had the pleasure of joining Women's Global Empowerment Fund in 2007 and I've witnessed how our efforts and our focus on women's empowerment have positively shaped the lives of 1000s of women and their families in a post-conflict region.

Women who were once marginalized are now successful business people who provide for themselves and their families while creating stronger socio-economic ties within their community.

Women's Global Empowerment Fund is a shining example of microfinance in action!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2016

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

When you realize what a large impact a relatively small amount of money makes to the lives of the clients of Women's Global Empowerment Fund, you begin to understand how small the world truly is.

WGEF empowers women through microcredit loans and social programming which directly and positively affects her life, the lives of her family and, to a larger scale, the quality of life within the community.

If you're familiar with the adage "When a butterfly flaps its wings," you'll understand the power and significance of WGEF's mission and results.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been involved with WGEF for over two years now and am excited about how Women's Global Fund continues to directly empower women. The new Healthy Period Initiative (HPI) provides women with resources needed for their health while also enabling women to start the business. Women in Uganda come to WGEF with their business ideas and leave empowered. I love being part of this non profit which promotes leadership roles for amazing women!

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

As a new board member, I see the positive impact WGEF makes in the lives of women. I volunteered in Tanzania three years ago, and while I was teaching women I felt the impact wasn't enough because women didn't the ability to be financially stable on their own. WGEF starts planting the seeds for big changes through small loans to women. Women become empowered and positivity spreads!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

Women's Global Empowerment Fund is doing amazing humanitarian work for women and families in Uganda; the organization has empowered many women and families through micro-lending that has funded new businesses, allowing families to earn income. That financial empowerment has lead to local women becoming involved with the political system, resulting in women running for and winning local elected positions. Women becoming part of the political landscape and having a say in the local government goes well beyond the "empowering" financial benefits that come from a micro-loan. WGEF has fulfilled (and will continue to fulfill) a truly beneficial mission.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

Being on the board of WGEF has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. The women we work with in Uganda are unbelievably inspiring, hard-working, and determined. I feel very fortunate to be involved with an organization that impacts lives so deeply.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

Women's Global continues to do amazing work in Gulu, northern Uganda. Karen and her team have an inspiring commitment to providing resources and access to leadership opportunities for women and families. In the recent Ugandan elections, 6 women from the program were elected to district or division office - lifting their voices! New parternships have allowed WGEF to grow their programs and provide the additional resources that women have requested. We're excited about the new opportunities in 2016 and beyond!

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

Women's Global Empowerment Fund is a truly inspiring example of the power of education and sisterhood in building healthy, sustainable, and economically viable communities. WGEF staff and clients work tirelessly to provide opportunities for women leaders in Uganda, always providing high quality resources and services. Cannot recommend WGEF and their work highly enough!

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Women's Global Empowerment Fund is a unique and inspiring organization that supports female entrepreneurs by strengthening their economic, political, and social outlook. These women are incredibly inspiring - I can only hope to mimic their passion and determination to provide for their families and strengthen their communities. WGEF pairs economic support with opportunities to participate in leadership development, literacy and health programs that give the women the peer support they need to be successful. In a post-conflict region, providing these resources is KEY to a healthy recovery.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The more staff we can support in Gulu - the better!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I am continually impressed by the work Karen Sugar, and the Women's Global Empowerment Fund, are doing in Uganda. Rather than fixate on the difficulties of living in a post-conflict region, the program works to build women up, and emphasize the role they have in rebuilding their communities. Having worked as an intern, a volunteer, and now as a nonprofit professional, I hold Women's Global in high regard. Partnering microfinance, literacy and leadership programs, and other development work, WGEF has reached hundreds of women and has supported the growth of their community. Meeting Grace, a WGEF client, on a trip to Denver a few years ago, was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Hearing her story, watching her speak, and learning of everything she has built for herself and her family, is incredibly moving. If I had to pick one nonprofit to support, Women's Global is it!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Karen Sugar and her dedicated team of volunteers need SUPPORT! I can only imagine the work they would do with more man-power.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Women's Global Empowerment Fund is working extremely hard to improve the lives of hundreds of women in Northern Uganda, using hands-on and grassroots methods that have proven very effective! The most inspiring part of WGEF's work is that the women are improving themselves through hard work, determination, and community-building. To listen to the stories of how these women have taken the initiative and the tools from WGEF's programs to improve their lives is truly awe-inspiring. I'm very proud to be a part of the organization and see just how powerful women really are!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I just began interning with the Women's Global Empowerment Fund, and it has already completely changed my perspective on non-profit work. The group uses an ingenious grassroots strategy to cater to the needs of the clients, and the success in just 5 years is astounding. I recently met Grace Okwello, one of WGEF's clients, and she has completely inspired me. A mother of four, business owner, restauranteur, and politician, she is an example of the strength women can have in their communities if empowered through strategic and thoughtful means. This non-profit is a spectacular model of how we can reach out to developing communities and EMPOWER them to build themselves.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

WGEF is an exceptional organization for so many reasons. The model of micro-finance paired with literacy, leadership, and health training is effective and addresses more than just the "symptoms" of poverty. This model also allows women to decide HOW they are going to improve their lives by giving them the tools to feel empowered and important. This is the model that should be followed by every organization helping underserved communities - to let the PEOPLE speak for themselves. As an intern and volunteer of WGEF for many years, I was inspired to attend law school to address these and similar issues. WGEF touches on so many lives, both in northern Uganda and abroad, and has taught me the power of empowerment and togetherness.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2016

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Women's Global Empowerment Fund is a meaningful, thoughtful and multi-faceted approach to alleviating poverty and inequality and assisting in sustainable development. I've had the privilege to work alongside Founder and Director Karen Sugar, both as an intern and volunteer, and in doing so, I've witnessed the transformative effects of microfinance paired with educational and health programs. The women of Gulu are inspiring, intelligent and hard-working, and they act as a constant source of inspiration. Additionally, I've personally gained confidence through my experiences and opportunities with WGEF. This organization, in every way, is fighting for a healthy, thriving humanity and I can think of no greater cause. Thank you WGEF and Karen!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

Women's Global Empowerment fund is doing such important and impactful work. Their efforts in giving women access to small loans is matched with their programs in literacy, political rights for women in Uganda, health and many other meaningful programs. It's apparent that WGEF is making a major difference in women's lives based on the consistent, positive responses from women in the program. And, this year 10 women associated with WGEF ran for some type of political office, with 6 winning. This is a true testament to what power women can have when they have resources and support.

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

As a new board member for the Women's Global Empowerment Fund I am completely blown away by what they are accomplishing with a small budget. WGEF funds women's micro loans, literacy programs, job training and other incredible services for women in Uganda. They have an amazing record of empowering women through loans that are not defaulted on and are truly changing lives. They also have a very impressive percentage of funds that go toward programming, which shows the determination of the small staff they have to change women's lives.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Empower them to raise more money!!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Thank you MMuggs! So glad to be on this journey with you!

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

The fall of 2015 I was finally able to travel to WGEF's Gulu-based office, and I believe the way to convey my experience is through a journal entry I wrote while I was still in Uganda:

October 3, 2015
Today is the drama festival. I am so excited to finally experience the dances, traditions, and pride of so many women I met earlier this week. After watching their various plays and performances, one particularly struck me. The group presenting called themselves, “Women are the pillar,” and they were performing a drama supporting women in government. Their drama began with a scene where everyone was registering to vote, and soon afterwards, a female candidate was nominated for office. During the campaign rally, the male candidate promised clean water, education, and money. However, the female candidate promised education for girls so they can grow up to be leaders - she promised to be the voice of the women and girls of the Gulu district. At the end of the drama, the female candidate won. The other women on stage sing out, “Advocate for women to participate in leadership and vote!” I felt so invigorated after watching their drama. It made me happy to see the women actively involved and excited about women in civic participation.

At the end of the festival, I was in such a happy place. Sylvia, one of the women actively involved in WGEF initiatives, grabbed my hand and asked me to dance. We wandered into a group of cheering, joyful women and began to sway. Another group of women soon followed us, and they began shaking their hips and grabbed my hands high into the air. We laughed together and enjoyed the calm moment. I can honestly say I have never felt such acceptance in such a foreign place. Eventually, it was time to say goodbye. The women held me and told me to come back.

I want to come back. I want to come back to their courage, love, and resilience. Although I wasn’t here long, I have a lifetime of memories and amazing, inspiring experiences. Gulu will always have a special place in my heart.

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Women's Global Empowerment Fund has shaped the way I act and perceive the world around me. I initially met Karen when I was only a sophomore in high school, and now I am a junior in college and I'm still gravitated towards the organization. I feel as though many non-profits aimed at improving the livelihood of individuals ignore the political aspect of change, but not WGEF. WGEF recognizes the importance of being involved with the local government and encourages her clients to not only start businesses, but also to start becoming politically active. I had the pleasure of meeting one of WGEF's clients when I first started volunteering, and now she has ran multiple times for government. I am in awe of the passion and strength Karen has brought to Gulu through WGEF, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the organization.

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I met Karen Sugar when I was sophomore in high school, and now, five years later I’m a sophomore in college. I started volunteering for Karen a year after she started her non-profit organization, and now, I’ve been able to see her organization thrive and expand right before my eyes. However, one of my fondest experiences occurred a few weeks after I met Karen. Karen introduced me to some of her clients and WGEF team that were visiting from Gulu, and I happened to sit down with one of her clients Grace. I asked her how the micro-loan program has impacted her life, and she responded most genuinely: the loan has helped her raise her family and create a business. But, what stuck with me was her passion to help empower other women. It takes courage to stand up for your family, but it takes even more courage to stand up for your community. That moment has stuck with me throughout the years, and has inspired me to get involved with global development programs. This coming year I will be president of an organization on campus called “Global Health Initiative,” and it’s aim is to create awareness on health issues, as well as help the local and international community overcome health crises. In the end, my life has, and always will be, forever changed by Women’s Global Empowerment Fund.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand to different locations around the world.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

The best memory I have volunteering with Women's Global Empowerment Fund was meeting the women involved in the program. They are humble, yet inspirational people. I met Grace Ouma the first year I volunteered with WGEF, and it amazed me how much a micro-loan and educational opportunities transformed her life. She used the money and her new-found knowledge to not only support her family, but then began reaching out to more women who needed help. She wanted to do something bigger than herself, and that was so beautiful to me. Everyone involved in WGEF has this same mentality, especially the founder Karen Sugar. She has a drive to provide courage, love, and hope to everybody around her. This program has done so much for women, and their families, living in Gulu, Uganda, and I hope it never stops.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

During the summer of my sophmore year in high school I met Karen Sugar and was instantly drawn to her non-profit organization. She described that she held fundraisers to provide micro loans for women in Uganda, and that so far the money had transformed the lives of all the women. From that moment on I started volunteering. So far I have been volunteering for three years now and there has been so many unbelievable things this organization has been able to accomplish. Women's Global Empowerment Fund has given women literacy, health, and leadership education, allowed their buisnesses to exponentially grow, have allowed the women to become more confident and independent, and has even supported them to run for political office. It is truly amazing what so little money can do for a communitiy. I even personally met one of the women, Grace Ouma, who won political office in Uganda. She was so appreciative of everything Karen Sugar and Women's Global Empowerment Fund had done for her life. Hearing her stories and her newfound strength that she had gained throughout this experience makes me unconditionally proud to volunteer for this organization. It is an incrediably fulfilling experience that I will forever continue to support.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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