World Bank approves work plan of the Generating Growth Opportunities for Women Enterprise Project (GROW)

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Minister of Gender, labour and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi Akena, has revealed that the World Bank approved the work plan for the implementation of the Generating Growth Opportunities for Women Enterprises Projects (GROW) during media briefing at Junior Quarters in Lira City East Division, Lira City on Sunday, 24th September 2023.

A Matooke trader negotiates with a farmer at Ntungamo Matooke market in Ntungamo Municipality 

During a press conference held on Sunday, September 24, 2023, at Junior Quarters in Lira City East Division, Lira City, Minister of Gender, Labor, and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi Akena, revealed that the World Bank had approved the work plan for the implementation of the Generating Growth Opportunities for Women Enterprises Projects (GROW).

Briefing the media at Junior Quarters in Lira City East Division, Lira City on Sunday, September 24, Amongi dismissed reports that the implementation of the project had already kicked off and that she was denying many people opportunities to access the money.

The $217m (about sh800 million) project funded by the World Bank, was launched early this year with the objective of increasing access to entrepreneurial services that enable female entrepreneurs to grow their enterprises in targeted locations including in host and refugee districts.

The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is the lead implementer alongside the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU)

Amongi advised women to also embrace the Parish Development Model and the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme among others, alongside programmes undertaken to empower women economically.

“It is not true that the project has kicked off, but I am happy to announce that the World Bank has already approved our work plan and very soon, we shall kick off with the implementation,” Amongi clarified.

She added that it is also an opportunity for both women and men, especially those employing 80 per cent of women in the business, to pick interest in the money.

“It is an opportunity for women and also men provided you can confirm to us that you are employing women in your business, you will still be able to access the money,” she said.    

The deputy executive secretary of the National Women Council, Emily Akullo Omacara, said the GROW money is not yet at the lending stage.

“How can you start lending out money from a project whose operational documents are not yet finished,” she said.    
Besides that, Akullo said a political leader in Lira City had been preaching messages of hatred against the initiative by various people offering small loans to women, not to pay back.

“For any reason, that all payback programmes will not work, the eyes of the government will be on them,” said Akullo.

Members of Focus for Development Women’s Group in Lira district growing Mushroom.

“Even if politics was itching somebody that much and some money had come for women to borrow and recycle back in future, how can somebody discourage such an initiative?” she asked.

For nearly three months now, there have been calls for Arova Cooperative Society based in Oyam District to expand credit services to people in Lira City.

Amongi clarified that she is the executive director of the cooperative and said it has its staff and operates independently to empower people especially women doing small-scale businesses.

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