Empowering women is a crucial aspect of promoting social and economic development. SWAGEN demonstrates how this can lead to their full potential being realized, and their significant contributions to sustainable development, benefiting families, communities, and the world as a whole.
Support Women In Agriculture And Environment (SWAGEN) is a grassroots women-owned enterprise in Uganda, aimed to address the need for support in agriculture and environment.
The organization strives to build strong grassroots women's groups in forest-edge communities, enabling them to actively participate in and benefit from development activities. Their core programs focus on solid waste management in Kampala's slum areas, food security and sovereignty, and gender justice through economic, development, and climate justice.
SWAGEN empowers grassroots women to reduce solid waste and address climate change. Additionally, they advocate for a shift to agroecology as the preferred food production model in Africa, instead of industrial agriculture.
SWAGEN addresses income poverty, food, water, energy insecurity, and climate change. They have 3,000 member families that add up to about 2100, and additional 30,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries spread across Uganda, with 90% being women.
SWAGEN’s recent impact includes Introducing renewable energy to communities, allowing 10,500 schoolchildren to study at night, and reducing forest extraction for charcoal and firewood production.
To raise awareness about environmental conservation, SWAGEN uses various media. These include radio talk shows, newspapers, posters, and calendars. Additionally, music, dance, and theater productions are used to boost knowledge and promote responsible natural resource use.
In mid-2022, SWAGEN received funding from TerraFund for AFR100, an initiative of the World Resources Institute, One Tree Planted and Realize Impact. The organization is using the funding to combat land degradation in Uganda by implementing agroforestry and reforestation practices to address issues such as charcoal burning, drought, and unsustainable agricultural practices.
SWAGEN has trained and equipped 120 people to plant trees and established a nursery of 60,000 tree seedlings, engaging communities in the process. Founder, Gertrude Kenyagi Kabusimbi, believes that their work with AFR100 will empower communities and build a sustainable environment.
“The local community is excited about the project and feels empowered by the training they’ve received. While we are facing some challenges, such as difficulties in planting native trees, we remain optimistic that conditions will improve and the project will continue to grow,” shared Gertrude.
Through the TerraFund project, SWAGEN and the local community are working together to restore 222 hectares of land and increase the nursery to 322,000. The organization is committed to expanding its reach, taking on more projects, and planting more trees. Additionally, SWAGEN is open to welcoming new members to join their efforts towards environmental conservation and sustainable development.
SWAGEN's impactful efforts demonstrate the power of community-led initiatives in addressing environmental challenges. The organization's commitment to empower women and strive to achieve long-term goals sets an inspiring example for others to follow.