Given the high unemployment levels in the country, there is need to break the bias and promote gender diversity across professions by encouraging women to seek opportunities in male-dominated industries. In support of SDG 5 which advocates for gender equality, MTN Uganda in collaboration with key partners is making strides in empowering women in order to achieve sustainable societies.
MTN Foundation supports Girls with Tools
Prossy Nalunkuuma is pursuing a mechanical engineering certification at Smart Girls Foundation in Wakiso. Garbed in a blue mechanic’s overall shielded by gloves in hand, Nalunkuuma, who is bent over a car’s open bonnet is cognizant of the awkward stares she attracts from the public as a result of her career choice.
Driven by her passion and unfettered ambition to one day become a renowned mechanical engineer, Nalunkuuma continues to pursue her dream; breaking the bias against women in this male-dominated career.
“Despite girls’ persistent shunning of mechanical engineering, I chose to pursue this line of work because of the passion I have for it plus the need to be unique through penetrating a male-dominated world. My goal is to actively practice in this field through setting up an auto repair and parts shop,” she narrates.
Nalunkuuma just like other girls at the Foundation, sought an opportunity to chase her engineering ambition at Smart Girls Foundation, a non-profit making, girl-centered, development organization that empowers and mentors girls in health and education to mention but a few. Under the Foundation’s flagship projects, girls with tools, girls are equipped with skills in traditionally male-dominated professions including carpentry, machinery, and automotive mechanics and welding.
Over the years, MTN has supported this cause through donation to the Smart Girls Foundation and more recently, construction of an additional facility that will see the Foundation increase the number of girls trained to about 400 annually. As a result of MTN’s support, already, the organization recorded an increase in the number of girls trained at the facility from 30 to close to 90 in a wide range of programs including mechanical, electrical installations and welding.
Dorcas Muhwezi, the MTN Uganda general manager customer experience, who is also an engineer said it is reassuring to see a significant number of girls showing interest in engineering and having the ability to pursue their interests.
“It is encouraging to see such programs that empower the girls and help them develop practical skills. I was very excited to hear that some girls have already set up shop. As MTN, this success is the embodiment of our vision. We are committed to facilitating a diverse society through generational equality and increase women representation for sustainable societies,” she noted.
MTN Supports Women in sports
In the same spirit, MTN last weekend rewarded a group of outstanding women in sports who have played a pivotal role in bridging the gender gap in the world of sport.
The awards which summed up the telecom’s month long celebration of women following the International Women’s day in March, saw the public nominate and vote for their phenomenal sportswomen of choice in a bid to narrow the gender gap in the sports profession through recognizing and celebrating women in sports.
The top 5 women in accordance with the public votes, each received Ugx.3,000,000 shillings while the other 15 who made it to the top 20 were rewarded with Ugx.500,000 shillings each.
“As MTN we deliberately set out to use the women’s month to shine a light on the greatness of the women in sports. We believe that if we work together in recognizing and celebrating the women who have in no small way upheld our country’s flag far and wide, we shall erase the gap between genders in the sports profession,” Muhwezi said.
Rehema Nanyonga, the Manager of the Suncity United Netball team, a community-based team leveraging Netball to empower underprivileged girls hailing from slum areas in and around Kampala, thanked MTN for the recognition award as well as the sponsorship package to facilitate the team’s travel for the U.S Open Junior championships in Atlanta, Georgia.
“As the Suncity United community, we are humbled to be recognized and supported in our endeavors by the biggest company in the country. This gesture from MTN has motivated us to continue pursuing our goals to continue inspiring more girls in our community through sports,” Nanyonga said.
During the awards ceremony, Suncity Netball team walked away with a community service award and a sponsorship package worth Ugx.30,000,000 shillings in recognition of its efforts towards empowering young girls through sports.