Empowering pastoralist women in Somaliland, Sudan & Uganda
The regional NGO Pastoral & Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa (PENHA) undertook a regional Women’s Economic Empowerment programme funded by DANIDA, involving selected pastoralist communities in Somaliland, Sudan and Uganda. The paper Economic Empowerment for Pastoralist Women, presented at the Future of Pastoralism Conference in Addis Ababa in 2011, draws lessons from this programme. It points to the effectiveness of business skills training for women’s groups in pastoral areas, when combined with grants for rotating funds that enable women to acquire productive assets and expand their micro-enterprises in the growing towns and trading centres in and around which some pastoralists have settled. Support for women’s micro-enterprises brought significant social impacts through increased household spending on children’s health and education, as well as strengthened women’s groups that can support a wide variety of activities outside the home. However, efforts at policy level are needed to promote a more business-friendly environment, with supportive transport and communications infrastructure and regulatory frameworks.