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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Women's Global Empowerment Fund

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: The mission of WGEF is to provide opportunities to women in thru economic, social and political programs; creating opportunities while strengthening families and communities. Our goal is to work for social justice, increased human security and women's empowerment.

Results: *Over 10,000 loans with zero defaults *Over 3500 participants in our literacy program *16 women have run for political office; 11 succeeding *Access to Justice team, 22 trained Peer Counselors working in the community to assist with issues around accessing justice, navigating challenges and finding solutions. *Recently opened Gulu Women's Resource Centre *Our latest health initiative, Health Periods Initiative, addresses the issue of menstrual health, and the challenges women face with regards to access, hygiene and socio-cultural stigma. The Healthy Periods Initiative – improving health, creating livelihoods.

Target demographics: Women and families

Direct beneficiaries per year: Thousands of women and families create sustainable livelihoods and futures.

Geographic areas served: Northern Uganda

Programs: Microfinance, Literacy, Leadership Development and Health Initiatives

Community Stories

116 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was given the opportunity to visit Gulu and work with WGEF on their Literacy program. The aim was to evaluate the impact of the program on the lives of the beneficiaries. I observed the classes, interacted with women about their experiences and received great feedback. WGEF is doing an amazing job in transforming their lives, giving them confidence and the skills to for a better future. The success of the program and its significance in these women's eyes can be judged by the fact that 7/10 women I spoke to wanted to enrol in the program again and most women wanted the program to be extended. One of the biggest issue for program extension is the availability of teachers and resources. Any donation would go a long way in improving the longevity of the program.

1 Jennifer99

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The most inspiring aspect of my time working with WGEF was witnessing, once again, the direct impact on the community and the lives of those in the program. It isn’t just the women who benefit from being part of WGEF, it directly spreads to their families and into the community. And with the opening of WGEF’s Gulu Women’s Resource Centre, it has taken one more step in providing a holistic approach to meeting the needs of women on a larger scale. After five years of watching and supporting WGEF, I can say without hesitation that there is no better example on how a NGO should operate; by putting the clients in a position to improve their lives on their own terms. For anyone that is thinking of supporting WGEF through their labor or financial input, know that you are taking part in an organization that is changing lives through a small operating budget, a selfless, passionate and dedicated staff and in a community ripe for advancement and innovation.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege to travel to Gulu, Uganda in 2011 to work with WGEF. During my 3 weeks of work with current and past clients of WFEG and their staff I saw firsthand how this program is creating substantial change and opportunities for women. The most outstanding results I saw were: families eating more meals, children in school, collective community support, and an increase of female leadership in the community. One aspect of WGEF's program that I personally saw as an empowerment of the women is the literacy program. The effect of this education trickles down to the children and the community. Education, in my opinion, is a very important tool to assist people out of poverty. My hope is to continue to work with and support WGEF for years to come so that more women can join the program and the community in Gulu can continue to prosper by the sheer dedication and heart by the people themselves. I hope others will be in the position to do the same, knowing that the support and work is changing lives as we speak.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

At the beginning of August, I had the incredible opportunity to join the founder of Women's Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF), who also happens to be my wonderful mom, for a trip to Gulu, Uganda, where the organization is based. This trip was especially exciting for me because it was my first time visiting Uganda and seeing first hand the implementation of WGEF's mission and commitment to the women of Gulu. While I have been my mom's biggest fan and supporter of the organization from the start, being on the ground in Gulu, visiting their office, the Women's Resource Center, (finally!) meeting the in-country staff and visiting with clients in the field was beyond any expectations I had prior to traveling. The relationships WGEF has created and fostered through the years is evident in their continued success to support their staff, clients, their families and fellow community members through microloans, the literacy program, the peer counseling program, access justice program and most recently the period initiative - providing clean, easy-to use sanitary napkins to the girls and women of Gulu and surrounding towns. The opportunity to engage with staff, clients and the Gulu community just fueled my commitment to continue to support WGEF and what they have set out to do. The future is very bright for this organization. I am already looking forward to my next opportunity to visit the WGEF family in Gulu!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Building this world is not an easy task, changing people's lives also is a collective responsibility. WGEF has done all these two difficult but important tasks through empowering women in my community. The programs like HPI,Micro credit loan, literacy, access to justice,used as a tool to empower women is revolutionary and changing our community.
THANK YOU WGEF

Anena M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel so fortunate to work wit WGEF that i thoroughly enjoy, love, passionate and wanted to let you know that you're a big part of that.

Your enthusiasm and generous support towards Ugandan women, particularly northern Uganda in Gulu district makes it a pleasure for me to come to work every day.

one day i was listening to a women at my neighborhood complaining how unfortunate she is that she can't even provide a meal for her children on a daily basis because she has no stable source of income.
i couldn't help but think about how fortunate i am and my other fellow women being supported by WGEF that WE don't feel that way.

WGEF presence has made thousands of households earn a living and we are blessed to have such a good hearted community partner.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I met Karen Sugar in 2010 when she was making her presentation on Women4 peace Award. Her speeches touched me and immediately join her program which i started by getting only $100. This has greatly improved my life and my family. I am now running a big hotel in town, all this with support from Women Global Empowerment Fund.

With this i request for more support towards the program so that she can reach out to many women in the community.

Bukenya M.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

WGEF is providing the best example of democratising aid, reaching out to rural Northern Uganda and providing a vehicle for women to determine their goals and aspirations makes it uniques. providing microfinance together with social programming is revolutionary. I have seen women in Gulu whose self esteem, confidence, and their general well-being improved as a result of WGEF's intervention in Northern Uganda.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Miriam Akech is my name, Im 28 years old and lives in the town of Gulu in Northern Uganda. Im married with three children, two of them currently in school. For the past 4 years, I have been working hard to manage my small restaurant, which sells local, serving breakfast, lunch and supper every day.

To help expand my business, I requested a loan of 500,000 Ugandan Shillings from WGEF to buy stock for my restaurant, and my stock. My hopes were that in the future I will be able to stock up my restaurant.

Cliet Quote of accomplishment :
“Before I received the Loan I was working alone in my restaurant, currently I employ 2 helpers in the restaurant because we have many customers and sometimes we do outside catering for small community meetings, I have been able to repay my loan in time, I have already applied for the second cycle. What is very important to me I have been able to save 40,000 shillings, and I need to add more saving. My target is to take up 4 loans recycles then I will start using my savings as capital”.
I thank you for giving me the opportunity that has helped my business to grow
God Bless you,
Miriam- WGEF client Gulu

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

WGEF has is helping so many women in the Northern Uganda by providing access to critical
informations, ICT skills trainings and Civic responsibilities through giving a space for sharings on issues that affects their community. The Women's Assembly programe has made the community to send their voices to the different stake holders and the responsible are now trying to make attempts in responding to issues. Thanks to women's Global and Radio rupiny for this great opportunity.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The of kind of work you do is what the needs to make this world a better place to live for all humans.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In October of 2017, I had the pleasure of accompanying the WGEFund team in Gulu, Uganda, as the photographer on behalf of Urban Decay and UltraViolet Edge during the opening of the Women's Center. Karen was extremely thorough in the explanation and execution of her programs, and it was such an honor to document the journey. It was both moving and uplifting to hear the stories about the incredibly positive impact WGEFund has had on the communities there, straight from the mouths of the very women that the program works so hard to serve. I enjoy hearing about the progress of WGEFund and the constant growth of their reach, and I hope to work with them again soon!

KingaP

Board Member

Rating: 5

WGEF does an amazing job of implementing a full service micro finance program that actually works. Through a combination of literacy training, menstrual health initiatives, business training and fair lending practices this organization has given women the opportunities and education we take for granted to pull themselves out of the cycle of poverty. The local women of this program are not reliant on aid, but rather are now in a position to help provide much needed supplies to the refugees fleeing South Sudan. I cannot recommend this organization enough!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of traveling to Gulu, Uganda last October. I came as a journalist for Marie Claire magazine, where I am a senior editor, to report a story on the work the WGEF is doing there. During my time in Gulu, I got to meet all the movers and shakers that make it all happen, and I was so inspired by the amazing people who are making a huge impact in the community. When you empower women to become leaders, it truly makes a huge difference and it was clear to me that WGEF is accomplishing that in a huge way. If you'd like to read my story and learn more, here is a link: http://www.marieclaire.com/beauty/news/a25301/who-we-love-urban-decay/ Thank you!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a single mom 3 kids , living with family I need help for kids xmS

3 Jaclyn J.

Former staff

Rating: 5

The Women's Global Empowerment Fund is truly a one of a kind organization dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable populations in Northern Uganda. I just finished a summer internship with the Fund this week. During my time, I had the privilege of working with the incredible team of compassionate individuals who run the organization and set it apart from other microfinance programs. The small staff of employees and volunteers go above and beyond their expected duties, making every effort to connect with their clients on a personal level. This enables them to fully understand the complexities of their clients' poverty and to create holistic solutions. For instance, in addition to microfinance loans and business training, the Fund has created several additional programs such as their Access to Justice Initiative and Healthy Periods Initiative to address problems with women's menstrual health and access to legal rights. While both of these initiatives are still in their early stages and need additional funding, their efforts are already successfully addressing some of the non-monetary issues that prevent individuals and families from escaping poverty in Northern Uganda. The Women's Global Empowerment Fund is creating incredible change in Uganda and I am very lucky I had the opportunity to be a part of it.

4 Audra K.

Former staff

Rating: 5

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!

5 jduggy

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

1 mjpowl

Board Member

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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!

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Kelly199

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories
5

Board Member

Rating: 5

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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