Diplomats’ wives set up forum for local women

Friday March 10 2017

Celebrations.  Spouses of foreign diplomats

Celebrations. Spouses of foreign diplomats share a light moment with the chief executive officer Uweso, Ms Jennifer Aguti (yellow Kitenge), at the Algerian ambassador’s residence on Wednesday. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE 

By Stephen Otage

Kampala. Spouses of diplomats working in the country have created a forum to partner with women in the local communities to share experiences they have acquired from their international exposure.
Ms Houda Boulahbel, the wife of Algerian Ambassador to Uganda, hosted the diplomats’ spouses at her residence on International Women Day on Wednesday.
She said this is the first time wives of foreign diplomats in Uganda are coming up with such an initiative because wherever their husbands have been posted earlier, the experiences differ or sometimes have similarities with other countries.

Sharing experiences
Ms Boulahbel said they would love to share such experiences through charity work, which they cannot openly do given their diplomatic status.
“We usually organise cultural days as diplomatic spouses. We are also interested in charity because we have seen associations such as Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (Uweso) doing a good job,” Ms Boulahbel said.
She said they need to partner with local feminist organisations to help them overcome hurdles that local women are grappling with.
“In Algeria, 32 per cent Members of Parliament are women. We have many constitutional amendments such as introduction of family courts, which has improved the situation of women in Algeria,” Ms Boulahbel said, adding that countries such as Egypt and Sudan have interesting testimonies to share with fellow women in Uganda.
Speaking at the event, Ms Jennifer Aguti, the Uweso chief executive officer, challenged the diplomats’ wives to reach out to rural women who lack knowledge and exposure to identify opportunities around them.

“Skills such as tailoring, home economics, agriculture are often despised, but these are permanent skills. When girls are equipped with these skills, they are economically empowered to live an independent life,” she said.
She said the best way to impart such skills is for people with exposure to create partnerships with less privileged people to mentor them.
“They can learn to save, which helps them start economic activities. They should be able to send their children to good schools, there is no reason for high dropout of girls from school because households where the mother is not learned always have similar cycles of problems,” Ms Aguti said.

sotage@ug.nationmedia.com

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