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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Womens Global Empowerment Fund

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: The mission of WGEF is to provide opportunities to women 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 18,000 loans with zero defaults *Over 4500 participants in our literacy program *Over 500 women trained and serving in leadership positions across the region *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

151 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having interned with WGEF for six months and volunteered with them for several weeks in Uganda, I can say with confidence that this organization is truly outstanding. Unlike so many organizations these days, they are committed to the communities they serve. Staff develops long-standing relationships with clientele, and their strategy is holistic in its approach to health, social justice, financial wellness, etc. Also unlike many larger nonprofits, they make a concerted effort to channel the vast majority of funds directly to programming. The women they work with are making huge strides in their ability to provide for their families and give back to their communities. An incredible model of the ways in which empowering women can begin to shape a brighter future for an entire community!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Women's Global Empowerment Fund continues to evolve to be responsive to the needs of women and families in northern Uganda. I am always impressed by the nimble programming that is developed hand-in-hand with women leaders in the community. I have volunteered with Women's Global since 2012, and in that time the organization has launched new leadership, women's health, literacy, and advocacy programs to complement the micro-loan network. Most recently, Women's Global has responded to the impacts of COVID-19 by addressing food security needs, providing trauma counseling, and supporting women and girls in the public health needs.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

Women's Global is an innovative, grassroots nonprofit that believes in the power of women to make change in their communities. The women served through WGEF programming in northern Uganda have a strong voice and influence in the services offered. Women join as peer counselors and local leaders to pass along what they've learned to other community members.

I'm really excited about the growth of WGEF's Healthy Periods Initiative, which brings much needed sanitary items to marginalized women - young girls, refugees, and residents of the local women's prison. The project doubles as a micro-enterprise for local entrepreneurs and brings an essential resource for the dignity of all women.

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jduggy

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved with WGEF in some capacity for more than a decade, traveling on two separate occasions with the team for on-the-ground experiences in Uganda and Haiti. This organization exemplifies heart and soul in the face of adversity. Having weathered constant obstacles and barriers since the great recession a dozen years back, WGEF has always found a way to remain true to the clients and families it serves. Currently, amidst perhaps the the greatest challenge yet, the dedicated and nimble staff has found a way to pivot and adapt to the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic, shifting operations and strategies to keep women and girls safe when they need it most. This is a trying time right now for any nonprofit organization. The tenacity and fluidity of WGEF in its handling of COVID-19 fallout is impressive and inspiring.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

The dedication, passion, and determination that goes into Women’s Global every single day is inspiring. I’ve seen first-hand, on the ground in Northern Uganda, the impact the organization’s work is having on individuals and communities. It’s truly life-changing, and the best part is that the work is designed to give women, families, and communities the agency and autonomy to create and sustain the change themselves—a unique model with incredible outcomes.

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mjpowl

Board Member

Rating: 5

It's been my pleasure and privilege to work with Women's Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF) and serve as a board member for the past 13 years. When I first read about how Karen was going to help change a post-conflict region in northern Africa one microcredit loan at a time, I knew I had to be a part of that effort. The work done by WGEF on behalf of our clients is truly remarkable and has been life changing for both them and me. I've been fortunate enough to see our program in action first hand and the look of pride on the faces of the women and their families as they're empowered to create and run a business while providing more security for their families is amazing and awe inspiring. WGEF is absolutely one of the most important things in which I've been a part.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

There has rarely been a more important time to support women and women's empowerment issues and Women's Global Empowerment Fund has been working to affect social change for the past 12 years. I've been extremely fortunate to be a part of this amazing organization for those 12 years and the leadership of Karen Sugar, the Executive Director, has been inspiring and uplifting. Our clients at WGEF have gone from being marginalized to being business and social leaders with some holding positions of power in local governments. When you support Women's Global Empowerment Fund you support thousands of women and their families working hard to affect change on a local and global scale.

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Katrina F.3

Donor

Rating: 5

Ever since I met Karen and she told me about WGEF and their mission I have been blown away by all that this nonprofit has accomplished. They truly are making a difference and changes women’s lives for the better. Economic empowerment opens so many doors for women and truly allows them to live self sustaining lives.

Anena M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thanks WGEF for uplifting the women’s morale, for pushing the boundaries and lifting them during the difficult times. You are such irreplaceable asset to the communities in Uganda.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

WGEF your generous support has and shall always bring peace and great smiles to Northern Uganda especially the vulnerable women and their family at large. Through micro loans, Adult literacy, menstrual health education, advocacy programs that you support, I’m proud to say that my communities have great hopes in their lives because you made it possible for them.

Wgef Staff

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1 donaghye

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of WGEF for many years now, and the work they do only gets better and more impactful with time.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's hard to believe that I started volunteering with Women's Global Empowerment Fund more than five years ago! During that time, I have met our amazing Program Director, Bukenya Muusa, and one of our clients, who is planning to run for Ugandan Parliament. The impact of Women's Global is truly inspiring!

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1 Bukenya M.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

From the first day, I encountered WGEF and it's wonderful Executive Director/ Founder, Karen Sugar, her passion, commitment, and visionary leadership I knew this was the kind of organization that makes a real difference in women's lives. For several years I have gladly worked with WGEF and I have seen the impact created by WGEF in the lives of women and their families. WGEF offers the best approach to sustainable empowerment, its comprehensive selection of targeted programs and support services that include micro-loans, literacy education, legal services, health education, and leadership development programs are designed to strengthen social systems, amplify women's voices, reduce poverty the best way to address systemic inequalities. I'm so proud to work with an organization that is making a real and sustainable impact in Uganda.

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1

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.

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1 Lucy E Brown

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was lucky enough to intern for WGEF as an undergrad. WGEF is an ally to all women and girls. The clients show such strength, resilience, and creativity. Many have gone on to become social and political leaders in their communities. WGEF empowered me to challenge my own self-imposed limitations. I enrolled in law school to become an expert in environmental law and a leader in my own community. I have since graduated and am practicing environmental law. The reach of WGEF, and Founder Karen Sugar, is far and wide—creating a real difference in the lives of many.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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2

Board Member

Rating: 5

WGEF has provided meaningful, long-lasting change to women and girls across Uganda. Their team and clients are some of the most inspiring individuals I've met to date. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, this organization has showed up and addressed the unique health, social, and economic needs to their clients to ensure sustainable empowerment and personal growth. Highly recommend individuals to become involved with this incredible org!

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a volunteer and recent board member for the past 10 years, I have witnessed WGEF flourish into an inspiring organization making real impacts on women’s lives. Their Credit Plus microfinance and literacy initiative have reached thousands of women and touched the lives of their families, communities, and beyond. I have also been fortunate enough to become involved with their Healthy Period Initiative (HPI) Global, which has made positive strides and contributions towards menstrual equity in Uganda. The WGEF team, clients, and volunteers are some of the most passionate and dedicated people I know; they have personally touch my life and I highly respect them and WGEF and their work.

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Dara D.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WGEF is an incredible organization that never stops fighting for justice. Its dedication to intersectionality is inspiring, and reinforces that equality has no meaning unless it applies to everyone. I am proud to have worked under Karen Sugar and her dedicated, passionate team.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

WGEF is a beautiful foundation that strives to not just improve the lives of women, but give them the means and confidence to use the skills that they already possess. The organization helps to alleviate poverty while empowering women to use their voice and recreate paths in a beautiful attempt to reform their lives. The women in this organization are determined, passionate and strong —I’m blessed to be a part of the experience and I have faith in a new world.

1 Lisa Goldstone H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an incredible organization that shines light on critical women's issues within an impoverished country and seeks to bring a long lasting solution. Karen, who founded WGE has such profound passion for the great work her and her team are creating by enriching the lives and villages that WGE supports.

2 199-4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Womens Global Empowerment Fund through its program Access to Justice has helped community resolve issues beyond their means and a case in point was a just recently concluded case for fund mismanagement where the group's money was recovered successfully and shared among the members.
I thank Womens Global so much for the continuous support to help our community.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Akello Harriet, a volunteer. I'm impressed at what Women's Global Empowerment Fund is doing to the lives of the beneficiaries; it has made women stand up for what belongs to them and stand against any violation of their rights through the Access to Justice program and Women Assemblies. Women no longer fear to speak out their problems since they are provided with the necessary information.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

They are truly transforming lives in the hard to reach rural areas, a dollar at a time consistently

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’m blessed to work with WGEF. I have seen mothers ably providing all the basic needs to their families, girls’ performance in class greatly improved, more women activist, and justice being granted to many. All these were possible because of the micro credit, Health period initiative, Adult literacy and access to justice programs that WGEF are supporting in Uganda especially Northern region.

Thank you WGEF for the support to us.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Knowing how difficult it is for our Sister in Northern Uganda for the past years, we strive to create a positive environment filled with love and support. It is through the generosity of our partner WGEF that help us brighten Women’s future.
I’m very fortunate to be part of this great contribution to my own community

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I got to know about this not for profit organisation five years ago, because they have projects in my community, i have know women who are in Adult learning classes and get loans for business and farming at a very subsidized rate.
But what stands out is their Access to justice program.
There was a land wrangle case between a school and the community in my area, WGEF through it access to justice came in as a mediator with her team of counselors, mediated the case which court through the Cultural Leader "the rwot" had referred them for mediation support to WGEF.
Now the community and the school is leaving harmoniously and in peace.
this is a remarkable Organisation who is changing lives in this region.

Thank you.

Aloyo Toffister

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Its a wonderful opportunity for me to work with WGEF. Its a great honor for us to have you work in northern Uganda. we are so grateful for your effort in changing the life of our mothers in such a wonderful way.
Thanks a lot for the wonderful work and please be with us, for we still need your help in walking away from poverty with dignity..
Thanks Women's Global Empowerment Fund.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am proud that i had the opportunity to work with women Global Empowerment Fund and amazingly experienced their good work in the community changing lives of those who had lost hope. equipping them with business skills, leadership skills, saving skills, micro-loan program,women assembly ( a plat from for the community to freely express their concerns and challenges) on air (radio) and access to justice that carries along counselling. The organisation has not forgotten the young girl child in the school through her Health period Initiative program where young girls are given free sanitary towels to keep them in school.
thank you for the tremendous work and i wish, more organisations were like Women Global Empowerment Fund. Please, come lets join hands and support just like this organisation.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

An amazing organization with an amazing leader at its front. Karen Sugar is absolutely dedicated to these ladies who are absolutely dedicated to their futures. My experience volunteering with the organization showed me the power of using your voice to give one to others. These women are doing incredible things!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Women's Global Empowerment Fund catalyzes grassroots level solutions to some of the biggest problems facing women in northern Uganda by putting resources directly in their hands. WGEF's focus on providing economic, social and political opportunities for local women contributes to sustainable local livelihoods and healthier, more resilient communities. I couldn't be more excited about or in awe of the amazing work this organization accomplishes on the ground!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Women's Global Empowerment Fund is a wonderful organization with dedicated and passionate staff. Its mission is inspirational to women worldwide and there is true altruism in the work that is done by the WGEF team. I am lucky to have been involved with this team and I know that their great work will continue; I look forward to seeing their future accomplishments.

1 Erin F.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

There has never been a more important time to support women in the Global South. I've had the privilege to visit Uganda and meet with the dynamic, passionate women (and men!) of WGEF who work tirelessly to build innovative, productive programming, provide access to education, health and legal rights, and more that help not only build economic growth, but more importantly, empower women, children, and all of the members of this great community. This nonprofit is on the ground, working hard day after day, and effecting true change.

OliviaS

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

WGEF is an amazing organization that focuses on supporting and empowering women through microfinance and other activities to ultimately improve the communities in which they live.

As a returned Peace Corps Volunteer I always get excited to learn about organizations that work with women, train them, and impart skills in addition to other resources. I found during my two-year service that this type of work is the most effective and most sustainable for the people living in the areas served. WGEF does exactly that. I am excited to continue learning about WGEF's work and finding ways to support them and the women and communities they serve.

KingaP

Donor

Rating: 5

Amazing organization with a brilliant local staff in northern Uganda. I had a chance to visit the Gulu office and loved the passion of the local staff. Because programs are managed by locals who know the language and understand the culture it allows projects to be sustainable and effective. Their literacy and micro finance program was the subject of a study by Oxford students that showed effectiveness of having these two programs together and the positive impact it has. Will continue to support for years to come.

Attached is a photo from a women's assembly hour where women voiced their opinions about issues in the community in healthy debates.

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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!

Lucy Brown

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

WGEF makes a difference in the lives of women all across the globe, every day. While WGEF's main impact is in northern Uganda, WGEF has personally affected my life as a young woman in America. I had the privilege to intern with WGEF as an undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Denver. WGEF taught me that everyone has a powerful vision of what their life can become. With just a little encouragement and an opportunity to realize this vision, it can come true. After working with WGEF and witnessing so many phenomenal women rise above life's obstacles, I was inspired to go to law school to fight for social and environmental justice. I just completed my program with a certificate in environmental law and will serve as a clerk at the Hawai'i Supreme Court. I truly would not be the woman I am today without WGEF and its Founder and Director, Karen Sugar. For that I am forever grateful.

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.

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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

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!

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!

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!

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2

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!

1

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.

mmuggs

Board Member

Rating: 5

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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Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Comments ( 1 )

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empowerment 08/19/2014

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

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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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2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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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Board Member

Rating: 5

WGEF, lead by Executive Director/Founder Karen Sugar, is a superb example of taking the complicated system and culture of oppression and undermining it by empowering women through leadership, art, literacy, education, citizen journalism, and financial stability.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I chose to join the board of WGEF in 2015. A lot of friends have thought it obscure, but I found it to be the perfect choice for me to make a difference.

Why Uganda? Google it. You will understand why in less than two minutes. Ugandans have experienced some of the greatest crimes to humanity in VERY recent years. Additionally, our help can go a long way in this country. Money goes a long way in Uganda and it's one of the countries that we can get into to help, unlike many other countries with similar problems.

Why women? Of the strife that occurred in Uganda, women and children bore the major brunt, not having access to education, work, etc. WGEF gives these women a chance for education and business opportunities - so they may change the stories for themselves and their children and the women have done this gusto. The varieties of business, the scope, and the successes of these women is nothing short of impressive.

Why THIS nonprofit? Because it works, quite simply. Many NGOs that have stepped into Africa, although having good intentions, brought with them the assumption that "westerners" know best. Well, in Africa, oftentimes, we don't. WGEF employs Ugandans who work at the ground level, to keep the pulse of what is needed in their region. The executive director of WGEF visits Uganda regularly and talks to the clients to see what else may be needed. And the results have been fantastic. Women's lives are being changed, one at a time, and the successes are more than many of us ever dreamed possible in such a short amount of time.

THAT'S why I choose to work with WGEF.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began working with WGEF as an intern while an undergraduate at DU. After graduating I have continued to work with the organization because I truly believe in all the work that WGEF does. The impact that the organization has had in terms of my own empowerment and knowledge growth pales in comparison to the difference that WGEF is making on women locally and globally. I am so proud to work with such an amazing organization and group of people to empower my sisters around the world.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

WGEF is performing outstanding work in Gulu, Uganda. It is amazing what the organization has been able to do with the funds and donations they receive. WGEF is truly making a difference in this community and has a mission worthy of recognition.

Donor

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Karen Sugar and WGEF at an event in Denver. I was immediately drawn to her enthusiasm, dedication and determination to help women in Gulu. I loved the idea of supporting women in their entrepreneurial endeavours. The success of these women is inspiring and exciting. My family and I were moved by the stories of women making a difference in their lives and the lives of their family and community. Thank you WGEF and Karen...what you are doing is making us realize how interconnected we all are!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I had the honor of visiting Gulu with WGEF founder, Karen Sugar, in the fall of 2014. Seeing the work that the organization does firsthand was inspiring - so much so that I joined the Board on our return. WGEF is changing lives in Northern Uganda. They are teaching women how to read, how to generate an income, and how to advocate for themselves. Through all of this they are giving women a way out of poverty and the most amazing gift ever - the power to choose how to live their lives. I am constantly humbled by the kindness and resourcefulness of our clients. Women's Global Empowerment Fund is in a class by themselves.

Margo4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Women's Global is one of the most effective organizations in terms of the long term benefits provided to the women, families and communities WGEF empowers. Every dollar donated to WGEF goes so far, I am consistently amazed and impressed by the things Karen Sugar and her teams in Denver and Gulu are accomplishing.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Change one person's life and you change an entire family. Change a family's life and you change the entire community. That's what WGEF is doing in Gulu, Uganda. They are empowering women to change their life--in all areas--family, work, health, leadership, and politics. In turn, the women not only shift, but that bring that sense of hope and possibility back to their children and families as well. This is where the magic happens. It is in these shifts and changes that entire communities are redefined.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I originally met Karen Sugar when I moved to Denver in the summer of 2012. She was so inspirational that I immediately wanted to get involved with WGEF. Since then, I have volunteered in various capacities, including my current role as a Board member. This is a great non-profit!

3 Frank36

Donor

Rating: 5

I usually fonate to several charities a year, but this one really stood out to me as how it can make a difference. I donated to a friends charity run race for this fund and have been following it ever since. I have done some volunteer work in other countries but reading about some of the stories really made it seem like people are making a difference.

Comments ( 1 )

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empowerment 08/19/2014

Thank you for your support and commitment to women's empowerment!

Abuu D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have work for women's global empowerment fund for about 2 years and i have experience a lot as far as their contribution is concern to women especially in Gulu district, a lot of life changing experiences an i am so proud to work with women's global and i would like to appreciate so much mam Karen sugar for all the support
thank a lot
DENIS ABUU

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Am Kevin Okumu from Gulu in Northern Uganda, i came to know about Women Global empowerment Fund when i joined the organisation as a volunteer, And i have worked in their project for a year now. The great work of micro-credit lending has brought smiles on over 800 faces in my area. the first time i saw Karen Sugar is when she made an amazing presentation on creating voice for women and awarding the grass roots women, this has been my best experience ever Bottle of thanks to WGEF!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been working with this organization in development as of recent, and I feel that I can say without a doubt that this nonprofit is revolutionary. Their ability to be completely focused on the sustainability, independence, and empowerment of their clientele, while simultaneously giving many opportunities to develop multiple key facets of the clientele's livelihood, is unique to say the least. It has been a pleasure so far to work with the organization, and I look forward to being with WGEF while they continue and expand their outreach, support, and empowerment of women and their communities across the globe.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My time as an intern for Women's Global has been truly life changing. This organization provides the tools necessary to strengthen the skills, knowledge and confidence of women who have survived unimaginable hardship. The strategies employed by WGEF are impactful and influential in economic, social and political realms of life. By providing just a chance, an opportunity for women to reach their full potential, WGEF has enabled the beauty and ability that is ingrained in every woman to come forth and potentially change the developmental path of Uganda.

Not only has this organization provided opportunities for women in norther Uganda, but it has also provided opportunities for women like me, who seek a deeper understanding of the workings of the world and who wish to positively impact others. I have witnessed the power of entrepreneurialism, opportunity and education in post-conflict regions. I have discovered the potential for sisterhood and female solidarity to challenge the institutions that continue to perpetuate unequal and unjust political, economic and social systems. I have learned that often, all women need is a chance to use their inherent skills, creativity and intelligence to make profound changes in their lives and the lives of their children. Further, I have learned about the logistical intricacies of the non-profit world and the realistic impact of grassroots volunteerism.

Women's Global, Karen Sugar and the women of Gulu, Uganda have inspired me to believe in myself and to believe in the power of the human spirit. It is through this human spirit that we will ever be able to address the daunting developmental obstacles that lay ahead.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with WGEF since the start, though initially I knew very little of microfinance and post-conflict Uganda. As someone who has witnessed the incredible growth of such an organization, it is a pleasure to share my dedication to the WGEF team and their mission. Karen Sugar, founder and executive director of WGEF), is an incredible leader who saw an opportunity to create positive change for not only her now-female clients but also the Gulu, Uganda community as a whole. Karen's in-depth research of a post-conflict region only propelled her forward, over coming many obstacles, to give these women a chance and an opportunity for monetary and food security for their families, an education and the belief that everyone deserves the right to chase dreams and conquer goals. To say WGEF has made leaps and bounds since the start is an understatement but all challenges have been met with a passion to create a voice for women all over not just in Uganda. And through this organization, thousands of people have had the opportunity to learn more about microfinance; such a simple solution for supporting those in need. I strongly believe WGEF is still just getting its start in changing lives and developing stronger communities. The future is very bright for this nonprofit. Thanks for your interest and please continue to explore this stellar organization at www.wgefund.org

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the incredible opportunity to be a part of this organization when it was just an idea, a small thought in the back of Karen Sugar's brillant mind. With a lot of drive, research, love, and hope, let me tell you, WGEF has made amazing strides not only on the ground in Northen Uganda but to educate people on the benefits of microfinance and the oppotunities that come when women are given the chance to make a better life for themselves and their famililes. From the start, like any greta nonprofit, there have been bumps in the road, but Karen's clear vision for WGEF, understanding of the region and the need's of the Northern Uganda community has allowed her and her team to persevere. With a zero loan default rate, booming business ideas, healthier home lives and, WGEF client's running for political office it is safe to say that this organization is creating amazing possibilities for the women of Northern Uganda.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I have worked with Women's Global Empowerment Fund since 2007 to-date, every day that passed I'm more inspired to continue working with WGEF client in Gulu.Seeing women (Clients) representing themselves in small community forums, participating in elective position makes feel that WGEF is doing much more then just a micro-ledning organization. I have and will continue to stand behind all the work that WGEF is doing and sooner it is providing sustainable solutions to communities it serves.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Akello Beatirice is a single mother of seven living in Gulu, Uganda. Like many other women in her community, Akello still feels the lasting effects that ongoing conflict has inflicted on her community. Abducted at the age of six, Akello spent several years in the hands of the Lord’s Resistance Army before being returned to her community parentless and alone. For the years that followed, Akello continued to suffer under the hands of a drunk and abusive husband plagued with feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem. These are the challenges facing many women currently living in Uganda. Marred by a history of trauma and facing economic hardships and oppression, these women seem to be fighting and uphill battle. However, it is not these hardships that Women’s Global Empowerment Fund chooses to focus on in their work to address poverty and the marginalization f women in Uganda. Taking a strengths based approach in their programming, WGEF puts emphasis not on the hardships facing these women, but rather on the potential of women as natural leaders in their communities. The results are stunning.

WGEF employs a clever combination of microfinance loans and social programming in their Credit Plus program as they work to help the intelligent and powerful women of Uganda realize their potential. In small groups, women borrow money to fund projects and business ventures toward which they already have an affinity. Through this program, Akello chose to borrow money to invest in a live stock project whose profits are now being used to support her family and send her children to school. In addition to these loans, women are offered access to a variety of social programs including literacy, leadership development and basic business classes. Looking at these programs through the lens of empowerment theory offers exciting insight into how WGEF women are able to work toward self-efficacy to regain power and control over their own lives.

Of vital importance in the quest for self-efficacy is the use of critical consciousness to determine ones place within an existing structure of power and oppression and push back in favor of a more equitable system. Through their Access to Justice initiative, WGEF helps women to define the gender discrimination inherent in the current justice system, as well as teaching them grassroots strategies to advocate for changes that will better provide for them and their families. Many women are then able to use these skills and knowledge as a gateway to political involvement, acting as leaders in their community to hold their government accountable for its actions. On a mezzo level, WGEF trainings in Gender Based Violence allow women to identify and fight back against power dynamics within their own families. When paired with the economic security reaped from participation in the Credit Plus Program, this knowledge allows women to make changes in their own lives, with many now finding themselves in a position of autonomy that conflict, oppression and unequal distribution of power have long deprived them of.

I strongly believe in the work being done by WGEF and feel that, by addressing the needs of both the individual and society, WGEF is posturing these communities for sustainable growth. It is an exciting time to be involved with WGEF and I encourage anyone interested in microfinance or women’s empowerment to learn more about their work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Women's Global Empowerment Fund for a year and a half now and continue to be inspired every day by the amazing work of both Karen Sugar, as well as every single client in Gulu, Uganda. The organization is truly breaking the mold of the traditional aid model by representing these women as the strong and capable women that they are, instead of viewing them only as victims of past tragedies. WGEF is so much more then just a micro-ledning organization, through the Credit-Plus program women are going back to school, participating in Leadership Development training, and securing themselves a seat at the policy table. This organization has far exceeded my expectations of what a nonprofit can accomplish, and I stand behind all the work that Karen has done, and will continue to do for many years.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Women's Global Empowerment Fund is an absolutely inspirational organization, dedicated to helping the women of Gulu, Uganda pull themselves out of poverty, and place themselves at an equal level in the playing field. After seeing and talking to Grace, a client in Gulu, I have a greater respect and understanding for the powerful changes this organization can make in these women's lives. The organization is not just about micro-loans and finances, Grace continually talks about how the peer counseling program that was set up alongside the education and literacy programs have truly changed her. These programs which go alongside the loans, are what have enabled Grace to become a true leader in her community, allowing her to support four children, go back to school, have three business, and be elected for local governance in Gulu. That is just one success story, and the organization has more than 3000 women just like Grace, who just needed support to help them realize their undeniable potential.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've had the privilege of being on the board of WGEF for most of this year. I'm extremely proud to volunteer and be associated with this organization and the work it's doing. I've spent considerable time on the ground in post-conflict northern Uganda where WGEF's programs are primarily based. Despite a challenging history, the women of this region are reclaiming a hopeful story for themselves and their families. They are at the center of WGEF's programs, led by the CreditPlus model which leverages micro finance to give empowerment opportunities to women's groups in and around Gulu district. WGEF has demonstrated great success with the programs, and the clients are shining examples in their communities. WGEF has a very small "footprint" as an organization- dollars are put directly to the programs, and Ugandans are in the lead of what is happening. The support of women's empowerment programs like this are so critical in today's world and in these contexts- I hope you'll consider supporting the work of WGEF!

Rachel H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer for more than 5 years, I have had the opportunity to be involved and see the impacts of WGEF's work. The grassroots model of WGEF goes above and beyond to address the true causes of poverty and empower its participants. Looking forward, WGEF continues to be strong in Uganda and is now expanding its work to Haiti. Working with a local Haitian organization, WGEF will empower women in rural Haiti areas through agricultural training, leadership development, literacy programs, and eventually, microcredit. It's an exciting time to be part of and supporting this great organization!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first became involved in Women's Global in 2008 as a graduate student after discovering them upon returning abroad-I was looking for an grassroots organization that worked. What attracted me to Women's Global was their model: a credit-plus model that not only provided credit to women but provided them other tools simultaneously, giving them a tool box of resources that empowered them. I have remained involved in the organizations since and had the opportunity to travel to Gulu, Uganda for a month to help evaluate the program's success and participate in the dental clinic. This only affirmed what I already knew, that Women's Global was making a profound difference in these women's lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Women's Global works to empower women in post conflict Northern Uganda, giving women access to microfinance loans to help improve their lives and the lives of their families. Volunteering for WGEF has been an incredible experience, I have learned so much and it has been empowering to myself as well. I hope to continue to dedicate my time to such a wonderful and deserving cause.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Karen Sugar's inspirational and outstanding work in Uganda is a model for everyone to look up to. By taking the important aspect of microfinancing and providing education, Women's Global has been able to change the lives of women and their families in Uganda for five years. I am excited to work for such an important organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Women's Global Empowerment Fund is a wonderful organization doing important work in northern Uganda. By empowering women through education, leadership training, and microloans, WGEF has fostered a community to uplift itself. Karen, WGEF's founder, is a visionary leader who understands how communities and women thrive and has implemented incredible programs in Gulu. It is an honor to volunteer with WGEF to support this mission with my time and talents.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a mother of seven I had no idea about how my life would be after the impact of the LRA War. I was abducted at the age of six and returned with two children, I hardly knew what to do with my life because my parents were gone. After a few years I met a man whom I thought would provide me with all the security I needed, all was a myth because he kept beating me each time I asked for money and whenever he came home drunk causing even more pain and suffering. With all the pain I wanted to return to the bush where life was much easier but whenever I looked at my children I felt they needed me because no one could look after them after I was gone. It was then that I started growing vegetables and selling but the money was not even enough to cater for our upkeep because my husband could even take it away from me.

I had one problem after the other, with no one to turn to but one day I met a group of Women Benefiting from WGEF, after several days, a peer counselor shared with me a lot about what I was going through and introduced me to the Program, due to my low self esteem I feared to be among other women but gradually I gained the courage.

My life has now changed not only because of the loans but also the trainings that I received. I managed to start up a business and a live stock project which is helping me pay school fees and other basic needs; I also bought a bicycle from the profits which has eased the transportation of my products to the market. At this point the relationship within my family has improved and we are working together to provide for our family, people in my community now respect me and I am now even a community leader, something I thought wasn’t meant for me. At last I have the hope that was long gone.

“Please fellow women, do not think whatever you went through or are going through cannot change – we can rise above poverty once equipped with the right tools”
“Akello Beatrice – Bungatira” God Bless WGEF

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Open minded and feel actually helpful to all indiviuals, especially women