On Tuesday June 19, 2018, Dr. Dorothy Okello, RAN Director Innovation and Harriet Adong, RAN Communications Manager joined in the Women 4 Women (W4W) https://www.facebook.com/W4WAwards/ Awards engagement. It was an opportune time to join some of Uganda’s transformational women engaging for change to improve society. This engagement was held at the Residence of the French Ambassador to Uganda, Her Excellency Stephanie Rivoal on Tenan Avenue Nakasero, Kampala Uganda. The W4W initiative/awards is a project initiated by several women in Uganda, including Ambassadors, Heads of Missions, and CEOs. It was initiated with the objective to change and improve society. The awards target women who have little public exposure. These women are operating in the areas of public affairs, economy, arts and culture, sports or academics.

The ladies committed thus far to support their Ugandan sisters include; Susan Eckey, Ambassador of Norway to Uganda; Deborah R Malac, Ambassador of US to Uganda; Stephanie Rivoal, Ambassador of France to Uganda; Sedef Yavuzalp, Ambassador of Turkey to Uganda; Almaz Gebru, UNDP Country Director; Rosa Malango, UN Resident Coordinator; Christina Malberg Calvo, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda; Clara Mira, IMF Resident Representative for Uganda; Josephine Kaleebi, CEO Junior Achievement Uganda; Radhityah Namakula, UMSC Secretary for Women and Youth Affairs and Dr. Dorothy Okello, Director Innovations at Makerere University School of Public Health-ResilientAfrica Network (RAN).

This also provided for yet another opportunity for the RAN team to share about RAN’s uniqueness and capabilities with not only the ladies committed to supporting fellow ladies but the general public in attendance. It is such more or less informal engagements that likely yield fruitful ends leveraging skills, knowledge, power, creativity and multidisciplinarity among others. Prof. William Bazeyo, RAN Chief of Party also participated in this engagement. While engaging with participants at the awards ceremony, Prof. Bazeyo shared that ‘If all of us were thinking about being a Contribution to others like these ladies are doing, the world would surely be a better place. Thank you ladies for championing this initiative’. Additionally, it is thrilling to note that plans are underway to enable all the W4W awardees benefit from the Human Centered Design training facilitated by the RAN team. The Human Centered Design Course will further aid these women to gain skills to continuously delve in thinking even more creatively in their efforts to address community challenges. Read about Human Centered Design Approach on http://www.ranlab.org/human-centered-design-hcd.  

As a follow-on activity, the US Ambassador to Uganda Her Excellency Deborah R Malac hosted all awardees and identified mentors for a networking reception at her residence on Plot 13 Hill Lane Kololo for a networking evening on Wednesday July 18, 2018. During this reception, participants further shared how best to support each other towards further growth but also how to leverage expertise and skills from within the awarded creative teams.

One W4W Facebook fan commented that ‘Grateful for your work. It’s an honor that you are rewarding the silent voices in our communities that are helping shape the society. It’s so thoughtful and encouraging and we pray that this keeps on and on’. Another wrote ‘It creates much hope for a brighter future among the unsung heroes.’

Details about the awards and some quotes from this engagement are also shared on https://observer.ug/news/headlines/57704-women-4-women-awards-launched-to-inspire-ugandan-women.html and https://www.softpower.ug/ugandan-women-rewarded-for-positive-change-in-inaugural-women-4-women-awards/.