Nubian women mint money from crafts

Some of the  Nubian women involved in making crafts  negotiate with a potential customer (centre) in Bombo Town Council on April 5. PHOTO /DAN WANDERA

What you need to know:

The women say they can now afford some home use items with the earnings from crafts

While the crafts industry remains rated low due to market price challenges, women from the Nubian community in Bombo Town, Luweero District, are boosting their family incomes using crafts.

The women, who weave mats and baskets among other items say besides eking out a living from crafts, they are defining their identity as Nubians.

 “While culture demands each home owns particular craft items, women under the Agali Awamu Women’s Group are now more economically empowered after undergoing various trainings and exposure tours,” Ms Noah Ramiati, the chairperson of Agali Awamu Women’s Group, says.

Ms Ramiati reveals that the women have been able to break even with support from the National Association of Women Organisations in Uganda (NAWO) and Forum for Women in Development (FOKUS).

 “The difference is with our ability to market our products, bargain for better prices and keep records. We work as a team. We get orders for the different craft products and deliver on time,” she adds.

 Ms Mariam Noah, the secretary of the group, says while the Nubian women are gifted with art of producing good crafts, many fail to advance economically.

According to Ms Noah, each mat fetches between Shs20, 000 and Shs100,000 depending on the size and design, while special orders fetch better prices.

“We are lucky to work as a group. Knowledge sharing and accessing the different advocacy groups have enabled us register as a business. We have also learnt how to save,” she explains.

Ms Noah adds that they have also been able to erase the narrative that it’s only men who can own property.  “We can now afford books for our children and other basic home use items. We pray that our artwork is widely publicised so that we can earn more,” she adds.

About the women’s group

The group has 31 members.

“We are also engaged in growing mushrooms and fruits among others,” Ms Hadija Mariam says.

Ms Monica Emiru Enyou, the executive director of NAWOU, believes that empowering women economically enables them contribute to the welfare of their families.

“It is true that NAWOU in partnership with FOKUS among other partners we are helping the women groups to attain economic justice, fight gender based violence and positively contribute to their respective socio and economic welfare. The Nubian women have a unique craft culture that they have now mastered as a business,” she says.


The Nubian community known locally as Banubi came to Uganda in the 1880s at the time Europeans were scrambling for Africa. The Banubi were originally from Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.


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