Slum Women’s​ Initiative​ For Development (SWID).

14 Aug


In Augst 2019, whilst attending the Ugandan feminist Forum in Jinja, I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting the force behind SWID. As my passions in life are women, Africa, and the arts, I had to share my experience and journey.

What and who are SWID?
It is a community based nongovernmental organization that was founded by Director Joyce Nangobi and a small group of 30 passionate grassroots women who took it upon themselves to mobilize community members against the unjust, routine evictions that were taking place in the slum settlements of Walukuba Masese Division of Jinja, Uganda.
Their motto- For Grassroots Women, By Grassroots Women

Their Her-story:
Slum Women’s Initiative for Development (SWID) is a grassroots community based non-governmental organization that was established in 2003 in the Walukuba Masese Division of Jinja, Uganda. SWID promotes the development of community structures in slum and rural areas to help poor people obtain land, shelter and basic services in order to improve their overall well-being.

Their mission
” To improve on the quality of lives of people in Jinja Urban slums and Rural communities through empowering them to meet their social, political and economic needs in a sustainable manner”.

Their vision
“An empowered community with a home for every woman”

Peer Exchange 522
Thir victories:
Grassroots Women-Focused Savings & Borrowing for Land & Housing

Like many nations around the world, Uganda suffers from inequitable land, housing, and property policies and practices that subjugate women. While women bear 80% of the food production labor, have higher rates of poverty, are most susceptible to violence and are at greater risk of contracting HIV. Recognizing both trends, they have chosen to focus their efforts on women’s security of tenure through individual and joint land title and homeownership, which cannot happen without savings and credit schemes offered at reasonable interest rates of 2%. 
Nevertheless, there has been a gradual change realized at the grassroots level resulting from the efforts of SWID in empowering women with knowledge on their land rights and advocacy skills through organizing local to local Dialogue training, meetings, and paralegal training. A combination of these has provided a very firm foundation for grassroots to advocate for what they feel is their constitutional right from the responsible authorities. A platform has been provided through which grassroots women in particular dialogue with their local authorities, community leaders and others about developmental issues that can bring about a positive change in their communities and livelihood. This is a fundamental advocacy tool that undermines all practices of abuse of women’s right because it is a strong, collective and informed voice of grassroots women.
The members have initiated a savings and credit scheme through which they save and borrow through a revolving loan that has seen many women acquire land and housing, start-up business, pay school fees for their children and improve on their living condition with limited or no support from their husbands. Through their campaign,
“The Road to Acquisition of Land, Titles, and Housing by Grassroots Women”,
SWID has seen vast improvement through:

* 9.1% of its members improve on their housing
* 38 grassroots women have contributed funds towards the acquisition of land titles, increased bargaining power that has increased the willingness of Jinja Municipal Authorities, Jinja District Land Board and Area Land Committee to support grassroots women’s secure land and Titles in their individual names.
* There has been an improvement of women’s negotiating capacities, participation in community development forums and interaction with their local authorities. To achieve this, SWID is strengthening its partnership base with government and civil society organization.

Another success story:
Before SWID’s intervention, Walukuba/Masese Division had several problems affecting women including land grabbing as a result of traditional beliefs that deny women the right to inherit land and property after losing their spouses or parents, discrimination and stigma among HIV positive women, a wide gap between leaders and community members, and a lack of knowledge of legal rights. After SWID’s intervention through the revolving loan scheme, members were able to secure a loan from SWID that they use to construct a house. Before, many were living in a poor shelter roofed with asbestos that has been classified as a known human carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer). The original houses were meant for single occupancy and therefore were not suited for large families. The new houses are constructed with guests rooms that could be rented out as a sustainable method for the members to repay their loans.


Health and home-based care
The home-based caregivers of SWID visit nearly 100 patients twice per month. The majority of women in the group are widows, single mothers, sole income earners and those living positively. They have mobilized simply because the need to assist the most vulnerable populations has not been met by the local government. SWID allocated part of its already overstretched programming budget to provide shoulder bags to the caregivers. In these the women carry a few first aid supplies-latex gloves, washing soap, alcohol, and brushes-and they wear an apron which immediately identifies them as home-based caregivers. The Home-Based caregivers provide care and support to the terminally ill people such as PLWHA, diabetic people, people suffering from cancer, and the elderly, at their homes through counseling, provision of basic necessities to the vulnerable people for example food, provision of diagnostic and nursing care, health education about HIV/AIDS, physical care including provision of referrals to health units.
In addition to home-based care, most caregivers also participate in the drama group that aims to educate and sensitize communities about HIV/AIDS since drama and music can reach a larger number of people across diverse age groups. Because the social stigma attached to HIV is still high, the drama group (composed of those who tested both HIV positive and negative) sensitizes communities in Jinja district on issues involving HIV transmission and prevention, positive living, sanitation, nutrition, land and property rights, inheritance laws.
Peer Exchange 240

Their partners:
Nationally, SWID has partnered with Uganda Land Alliance and at a community level, SWID is working with Jinja District Land Bard, Jinja Municipal Council, the physical planner, Jinja District, and Area Land Committees.


Contact them. 602
Jinja Uganda
Tabingwa road , walukuba jinja plot 45.


One Response to “Slum Women’s​ Initiative​ For Development (SWID).”


  1. The Uganda Feminist Forum. | rosiemoteneblog - August 28, 2019

    […] The last day culminated in a visit to the Nyonga Women’s Shelter and the Slum Women’s Initiative For Development (SWID).   The Her-stories can be found here:… […]

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