Beating The Odds


My name is Namayanja Florence, and I am from Katwe in the Makindye division I am 18 years old. I am a young mother of a two-year-old, and I am now a member of the Katwe Heroes development group. My life was extremely difficult because I gave birth at the early age of 16 and was unable to pay for any basic needs for either myself or my child, including food and medical treatment, as the child’s father never offered any financial assistance.

I used to work in Katwe selling chips, but the company wasn’t mine; I was an employee. This job came with a lot of issues, including sexual harassment from men, especially when you go back to demand the money, and if you didn’t bring the money, my boss wouldn’t pay me, or if she did, it was a very small amount that wasn’t enough to cover my expenses. That is what my life was like before the Safe and Inclusive Cities project.

Since I used to work in the evenings, I was at home during the day when a group of people arrived with the chairman. They introduced themselves and said they were from ACTogether/NSDFU and that they were gathering information about teenage mothers in Katwe1 for the Safe and Inclusive Cities Project with Plan International Uganda. I provided them with my name, contact information, and I responded to a few of their questions. They promised to get in touch with me.

I was called for our initial meeting, during which they explained the Safe and Inclusive Cities project to us along with its objectives, timeline, and outcomes. The project’s principal objective, which spotlights the interests of children, adolescents, and young people—groups to which I also belong—genuinely piqued my attention. The project also addresses equitable opportunity, which is what I find most appealing. As a young girl, I believed that this project may aid me and provide a fresh start.

Photo Nassif Mukalu: Danish Ambassador to Uganda H.E Signe Skovbakke Winding Albjerg visiting the Katwe Heros group at TLC Kamwokya.

I have participated in a variety of activities and training, including the following: gender transformative and child protection; financial literacy, knowledge and skills on sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR); under this, I learned about critical areas of family planning, gender-based violence child nutrition. In addition, the project provided me with a business grant of 200,000 Ugshs, which I pooled with my colleagues to establish our door mart enterprise.

I  changed the way I live my life, such as the way I care for and feed my child as a result of learning how to do so, and the way I protect myself because I have acquired numerous methods for preventing unintended pregnancies. My attitude toward saving has also shifted because, before the program, I never saved anything, but now I do. We have a saving group called the Katwe Heroes development group, and ACTogether Uganda has supported us start it. We meet every Sunday at 4:00 pm, and I make sure to save the little I have.

It has to do with saving. After receiving training in saving and financial literacy, my group—which consists of adolescent mothers. I used to spend any money I received on new clothes, shoes, and other frivolous items, which did absolutely nothing to further my development. Additionally, because I was making a meager income, I never considered that I could save any of it. Therefore, I didn’t worry about saving as long as I could still eat and drink.

After learning more about saving, my group got together to talk about launching a saving organization that we called Katwe Heroes. We decided to meet every Sunday at 4:00 pm. We received savings notebooks from ACTogether where we keep track of our savings as well as other things like meeting minutes. My own savings have increased compared to where I started as I speak, and my saving group is progressing well.

I made the decision to save because I saw it as a helpful tool; previously, if my child fell ill, I wouldn’t have given her the proper medical attention, but now, if she does, I can ask for help from the group. I think this is the change I wanted to make in my life and it is excellent because it has greatly aided and I have learned that before spending, I should save. I want to thank Plan International Uganda and ACTogether for bringing us this project.