My name is Saviour Nakakembo and this is my TuWezeshe Journey!
When I applied for the fellowship, I was broken. All I needed was a place to heal since I had gone through the trauma of the broken marriage. Everyone around judged me and often told me that I should have stayed back because so many women are being violated yet stay put in their marriages.
The 5-day training wiped away the clash I felt towards other women. It taught me to love and support my fellow women and other human beings as well. This is how I learnt to build an everlasting sisterhood – it has touched my heart that women celebrate and support one another regardless of their background which also includes solidarity in working to achieve a common goal.
I wanted to meet people that would listen to my story without further judgement and advise me on how to deal with the situation in a way that did not violate my rights. I needed a safe and open place that could leave me secure in all ways. My other hope was that I would learn more skills in advocacy and leadership since I wanted to fight for the rights of other women who were going through the same and also build my career in life skills coaching.
The 5-day training wiped away the clash I felt towards other women. It taught me to love and support my fellow women and other human beings as well. This is how I learnt to build an everlasting sisterhood – it has touched my heart that women celebrate and support one another regardless of their background which also includes solidarity in working to achieve a common goal. I can confidently say that feminism is the greatest thing that has happened to my life. Not only has it improved my level of critical thinking but it has also changed my perspective of life and the way I would table issues or discuss arguments reasonably in any space. One and a half years down the road, I have learnt how to influence policy in many areas of concern especially in my work place on issues of sexual harassment. I have been in a network of many influential people especially in the Uganda Women’s Movement and other spaces which has created opportunities in many areas. For example, when I really need people to train in our Boys4Boys Program, started as a result of the TuWezeshe project, I use the network of women and men I have met as a fellow.
Delivering my social action project has been the most amazing journey in my life. It was literally seeing a dream come true – the dream of engaging men in the fight to end sexual and gender based violence as a way of changing their attitudes about women and that women too deserve equal opportunities. Now, I have successfully reached out to 50 boys in secondary schools in Kampala, who are mentoring fellow boys in how to live in equality with women. This experience has greatly expanded my knowledge and skills in advocacy and sparked ideas on how to deliver the message of ending violence focusing on male engagement. I am better at resource mobilization in our organization and have learned how to write and use books of accounts for financial accountability.
My proudest achievements throughout my TuWezeshe journey have been starting my feminism journey and practicing it as well as realizing of the Boys4Boys project in secondary schools. I also successfully launched the Legacy World Initiative that focuses on Human Capital Development and Advocacy for Human Rights. I have been invited for different platforms and engagements for example Rotary International Uganda to share about my domestic Violence experience for the first time outside the Women’s Movement and advocating for SDG number 5—Gender Equality with the private sector foundation Uganda and UNDP. Nonetheless, I have been challenged by my extremely patriarchal family and as a result, applying feminism has been thorny. At times, implementation of my project has been challenged by the fact that the focus is on schools which run according to a timetable stipulated by the government.
My advice to young women out there who wish to be a part of TuWezeshe is for them to build a lot of networks because that is where growth starts from and also to break the silence around sexual and gender based violence by recognizing and speaking out about injustices around them
Going forward, I have an intention of expanding the Boys4Boys project to the young men at institutions of higher learning too. From my experience, I have also developed interest in pursuing gender studies, human rights, advocacy and policies which I will pursue as soon as I have the necessary resources or if awarded a scholarship opportunity. Since I am developing leadership mastery in life coaching skills, I intend to learn more of the skills in a coaching institute to be able to mentor others because I have a plan of launching a coaching institute in Uganda.
My advice to young women out there who wish to be a part of TuWezeshe is for them to build a lot of networks because that is where growth starts from and also to break the silence around sexual and gender based violence by recognizing and speaking out about injustices around them. I am forever glad that I was selected to be part of this journey. I carry no regrets at all and I know that I took the right decision to keep this network. This has been the greatest encounter in my life ever. Thank you for giving me a safe and open space to speak about my story and build on it as well.