Scarlett Chidgey (Uganda)

Scarlett Chidgey (Kinawataka Women Initiatives - KIWOI): Following an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Boston University, Scarlett worked as a communications manager for a science communications firm in Berkeley, CA. She then left to volunteer in Mongolia. Scarlett then served for five years as the Program and Communications Manager at the Alliance for International Women’s Rights (AIWR), an organization that supports women leaders and future leaders in developing countries. Prior to graduate school, Scarlett ran her own business as a communications and web consultant, managing projects and developing websites. Scarlett graduated from University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies with an M.A. in International Studies and concentration on Gender, Human Rights, and Development. After her fellowship Scarlett wrote: “The [fellowship]… enriched my perspective by giving me solid experience and examples to further support my human rights and development philosophy. It also enhanced my understanding of how grassroots organizations can operate and the struggles they face."

A Training in Making Straw Products

28 Sep

Since Benedicta Nanyonga and Kinawataka Women Initiatives invented the plastic straw products a few years ago, the organization began with training women in Kinawataka to make the straw handicrafts. Most of the straw products are still made in KIWOI’s workshop in Kinawataka, but the organization also started training disadvantaged women in other parts of Kampala and now across Uganda. Especially in rural areas where it is extremely difficult to find employment, the straw handicraft production offers a potential source of income, while enabling women to work from anywhere, with their babies and young children by their sides.

In the very same week that Benedicta was preparing and packing up her products to take to a gift show/exhibit in Los Angeles, California, a group of five women came from Gulu, a city in northern Uganda, for training in the ten-step straw production process. After four days, they returned to their homes with the instruction to practice, practice, practice. About one month later, Benedicta traveled to Gulu to check on their progress. When the trainees have mastered the techniques, they can teach the process to other women in the community and hopefully use these unique skills for income-generation.

For a glimpse of the training of the women from Gulu, check out the video. It highlights most of the steps in the process‚ with the exception of straw collection (as there were many straws already available at KIWOI) and the final stitching and finishing of the products.

Posted By Scarlett Chidgey (Uganda)

Posted Sep 28th, 2011


  • Ssekanjako Craish

    September 28, 2011


    Scarlett i appreciate all you have done for KIWOI, i believe this blog will push KIWOI ahead. you have not only helped KIWOI but Uganda and Africa at large. i believe with your guidance, Benedicta will move it ahead.
    I did not get the chance to say bye to you but all i wish u is the best, i will Miss you !!!
    God Bless you!!!

  • Sue

    October 17, 2011


    Just checking that all is well over there given the recent troop deployment. Thinking about you!

Enter your Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *