Finding Inspiration in Kitoola, Uganda

Finding Inspiration in Kitoola The GVN Foundation fundraised and was able to purchase cows for a women’s cooperative in rural Uganda as an income generation project.

We stepped out of the bus and into the arms of Kitoola, a little village very Cows Kitoola YOFAFOfocused on its community progress, but at this moment, very focused on us. It felt like the type of welcome usually reserved for old friends or returning family. The singing, the chanting, the dancing all continued - there was an energy bouncing between these women that swallowed us in.

Despite not knowing us, Kitoola welcomed us before they even saw us.

Pulled in by the crook of an elbow and a bright smile, we were taken between stretches of the village, to the first cow. The singing stops abruptly and a woman steps forward and stands next to her cow.

Four words. “This is my cow”. The Kitoola women around us erupt in applause and laughter.

To me, each cow looked much the same, but each woman stood proud and told us how she cares for her cow and what it means to her - these explanations are translated to us from Luganda to English. Every time, the reaction of pure unbounded happiness from the women is the same.

I heard the stories that put these cows in context - not just what these cows will provide for these women in terms of goods or dollar amounts, but how this is impacting their life and the life of their family.

I heard about the first cow giving birth - it was the middle of the night, and yet the women of the co-op gathered themselves together, running through the village to watch, to help and to celebrate the first calf born. The birth signalled that this project had leapt to self-sufficiency and will continue to provide for the community.Womens Mayindo Fiona and Pauline HOV

So these women have taken the gift of the cows and worked hard – they’re motivated, they’re innovative, and they’re joyful. This project is a success not because of the funds raised and distributed, but because of these fantastic women who are transforming the lives of their families for the better.

The women of this cooperative are battling the stereotype of what women can and can’t do in Kitoola, and they are taking charge of their future. They are empowering themselves. They’re setting the example for their daughters that they don’t need to be confined to other people’s expectations of what they can achieve – and I cannot wait to see how this younger generation of women carries on this legacy.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”

These women are leaders.

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