Reviews & Profiles
Jolly Kyomugasho, the gender equality crusader
Posted Sunday, January 20 2013 at 22:00
Jolly Kyomugasho Mugisha’s passion is fighting for gender equality, and empowering women.
Jolly Kyomugasho Mugisha is a jolly, hardworking, sociable woman. Her father gave her the name Kyomugasho because of the reaction that came with her birth. Being born after three girls, Kyomugasho’s relatives viewed her birth as that of just another girl who would not turn out into somebody great.
But her father thought differently; he knew she was going to be useful someday and thus the name Kyomugasho (something useful). The mother of three got married in 1985 but unfortunately her husband passed on in 1992.
Born in Buhanama Itojo Ntungamo District, Kyomugasho, 50, is known by many different faces because she does a lot of things. She is an evangelist, politician (although she has held no political position apart from being Chairperson NRM Women League Mbarara District for five years), student of theology, a counsellor and gender activist. Most people know her as a community development worker.
She is a consultant with the Ministry of Finance doing gender budgeting in Karamoja Sub-Region.
Apart from being a consultant, she is also a member of Mbarara Women Development Association, non-governmental organisation and also works with the Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda.
At the association which was formerly Mbarara District Women Association when it started in 1989, Kyomugasho and her colleagues are involved in activities geared towards gender equality, women empowerment and good governance.
They provide legal information , education, political training, counselling, are involved in fighting corruption and mediate in violence affected families.
Kyomugasho says she is motivated by what she has learnt from her personal experience and what she wants to see in the future.
“I like to change the lives of the vulnerable; women, orphans, prostitutes and many others,” she says.
Being a strict disciplinarian, she says she is able to manage her time well. “I use my dairy, the entries are hourly,” she says.
She was left with nothing much when her husband passed on but she has successfully educated her children and they are all now independent successful adults. “I sincerely thank God who helped me through everything up to now,” Kyomugasho says.
Although her husband’s family was not financially supportive, they all stayed in touch, which gave her strength during hard times.
After her husband’s death which was at the apex of the HIV/Aids scourge, rumours spread that she was an HIV carrier although her HIV status is negative.
“We all know how society shunned HIV/ Aids positive people at the time. Society has not changed much but it is not as bad as it was in the early 1990s. This was also a big challenge at the start. As someone who does not hold grudges though, I look to the future all the time, I do not hold grudges,” says Kyomugasho with a smile.
She was able to forgive society for this absurd talk and go about her business with a goal in mind and she has made it: “I left government work in 2005 and have been able to grow and have a wonderful home. That cloud that blurred my vision is gone and I have become more innovative,” Kyomugasho says.