Empowering the Women and Girl Child

Women bear most of the responsibilities for meeting basic needs of the family, yet they are systematically denied the resources, information and freedom of action they need to fulfill these responsibilities. The majority of Uganda’s poorest and illiterates are women. Of the millions of school age children not in school, the majority are girls. In Uganda today reproductive and maternal health complications are common and HIV/AIDS is rapidly becoming a woman's disease among women of middle age bracket (13-38).

Most girls and women who suffer from fistula are young and poor with little education and limited access to quality health care, including emergency obstetric care. Often patients lack knowledge that the condition can be repaired and are too ashamed of their condition to seek help. The current global food price crisis is having a severe impact on women. Around the world and in Uganda in particular, millions of people eat two or three times a day, but a significant percentage of women eat only once. And now, many women are denying themselves even that one meal to ensure that their children are fed. These women are already suffering the effects of even more severe malnutrition, which inevitably will be their children's fate as well.

The impact of this crisis will be with us for many years. Following studies, TERREWODE believes that when women are supported and empowered, all society benefits. We believe empowering women to be key agents of change is an essential element to making families healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improve and incomes increase. In all that we do, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity.

The Association for the Re-orientation and Rehabilitation of Women for Development (TERREWODE) is a Uganda-based Non-Government Organization. Headquartered in Soroti, Eastern Uganda, it is among Uganda's largest non-government organizations that has committed to improving the livelihoods and status of women and children especially the girl child.

TERREWODE was founded in 1999 by Alice Emasu and the women of Teso region as a voluntary, non-profit making organization, under the Non-Government organization Regulatory Statutes of 1989 with Reg. No. S.5914/3742. The founders were spurred by what they called commitment to improving the livelihoods and status of women, children and youth, and they have real life experiences and knowledge of the traditional practices such as forced/child marriages, Female Genital Mutilation e.t.c that undermine the dignity and full enjoyment of Human rights. Some of these women narrowly escaped becoming victims and are therefore, better placed to understand and protest some of the human rights abuses of Women and Girls in the region.

The organization is the brain child of Uganda Media Women's Association (UMWA) a then three-year Rural out Reach Programme (ROP) in Soroti/Kaberamaido Districts between 1997-1999 among which were some of the TERREWODE's funding members. It operates in eight districts of the Teso sub-region which include Soroti, Kumi, Bukeda, Nyora, Serere, Kaberamaido, Katakwi and Amuria with core focus put on deteriorating maternal and infant health & rights of women and children; abuse and neglect of rights of women and the girl child that has escalated.

The organization works with Local Government structures, women groups, community volunteers and individual women victims/survivors of abuse and rights violations to raise awareness, lobby and advocate for women's health, economic, civic & political rights.