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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

142 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!

donaghye

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Women's Global Empowerment Fund for about three years now. The most memorable experience I have had with the organization was getting to meet one of our clients from Gulu, Uganda. Grace is one of the most inspiring women I have ever had the privilege to meet. Her experience showed me that WGEF provides so much more than microfinance. Through the literacy and leadership development programs women are given the tools they need to be a part of important policy decisions in their country, and are creating lasting change. Women's Global has proven how a nonprofit can have a large and more importantly lasting impact on the world.

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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.

Previous Stories

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.