Shannon Orcutt

Shannon Orcutt (Kinawataka Women’s Initiatives – KIWOI, Uganda): Prior to working with AP Shannon earned an MA from the Peace Operations Policy Program at George Mason University, where she worked as a Research Assistant at the Center for Global Studies. Shannon has also worked with United to End Genocide and the Save Darfur Coalition in the US. After her fellowship, Shannon wrote: “I learned so many new skills and it was really rewarding to see the work I was doing make a direct impact on the organization. It was very validating. I had the best experiences when I got to interact with the women and youth the organization worked with. sorcutt@advocacynet.org



Kinawataka Sharing the Power of Empowered Women

19 Jun

Benedicta in GenevaMy first week at Kinawataka Women Initiatives (KIWOI) proved to be a big moment for the organization. Last week KIWOI’s the Executive Director, Benedicta Nanyonga, traveled to Geneva to present at the Power of Empowered Women Conference. The Group of Women Ambassadors in Geneva and the International Trade Centre hosted the conference, which was attended by an estimated 600 officials from the UN, NGOs and several multilateral organizations.

This was a significant experience for the organization and Benedicta who has never spoken at such a large-scale event. She participated in an interactive panel discussion focused on women’s empowerment and economic development, which included speakers from Afghanistan, Haiti and India. Benedicta delivered a speech on how the Kinawataka Women Initiatives turns “trash into cash” to support local women and promote recycling.

The days leading up to the conference were hectic. Benedicta and the women of KIWOI were diligently pressing, weaving, trimming and stitching the 100 clutch purses for UN ambassadors and small shopping bags for co-sponsors of the conference, which delighted conference participants.

The event provided significant exposure to the essential work of KIWOI. Benedicta told me, “The conference was a major opportunity for the Kinawataka Women Initiatives to share how our organization creates jobs, empowers vulnerable women and conserves the environment in the slum areas in Uganda.”

Benedicta on UN panel

She argued that while the UN has done a good job of providing aid to those affected by poverty and conflict, they must focus on training so that women can lift themselves up to provide for their families. Benedicta shared a quoted a proverb on the significance of empowering women stating, “If you give me a good woman and I’ll give you a good world.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navy Pillay, delivered the closing remarks for the conference asserting, “We need strong female role models to convince girls they’re as good as boys.” Benedicta and KIWOI certainly do this on a daily basis by working with women and girls to provide not only income, but also a sense of importance and accomplishment.

POEW
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Posted By Shannon Orcutt

Posted Jun 19th, 2014

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