Young Women Should Contribute to the policies that affect them

Betty Adongo is another Restless Woman we are celebrating ahead of International Women’s Day. She is a businesswoman in Uganda trading in poultry and animal feeds.

I was born in a small village called Angorom located in Eastern Uganda, in Tororo District.

After graduating at Kyambogo University with a Bachelors Degree in Arts and Social Sciences, I joined a research and advocacy team under Restless Development whose aim was to promote opportunities for the girls and young women in Uganda. I applied to work with Restless Development in order to get at the forefront of driving change mostly on the economic exclusion of girls and young women.

There’s a lot of gender-based discrimination against girls and young women in the labour market. The weak regulations have confined women to jobs that are of poor pay and quality in terms of working conditions and access to social protection. These factors reinforce the status of girls and young women as secondary workers within their households, if not housewives.

Betty at National Cement with gender champions, trying on one of the gears for staff

Girls and young women also lack access to education, training, recruitment and equal remuneration, and have limited bargaining and decision making power which has resulted into poor wages, less job security and low standards of living.

As a Girl Advocacy Team member, my key priorities were to contribute to in-depth research that reflected the opinions, views and perspectives of girls and young women on economic inclusion in Uganda. This, in turn, informed programmatic approaches to address the issue. The facts and findings from the research also informed policies and decisions made by the key actors in regards to young women’s issues.

Betty with the District Labour Officer, meeting gender champions at Rock Classic Hotel in Tororo.

Betty during the PCA assessment

My work with Restless Development has exposed me to various research environments and people of influence, especially the young women in business. This exposure triggered in me a heart of passion and love for research, advocacy and business. It also honed my investment and entrepreneurial skills, and inspired me to start a small farm feed supply shop which enables the young and old farmers to easily access feeds for their poultry and animals. This has enabled me to earn a living as a young growing entrepreneur.  

Betty with a group visiting a nursery bed of onions for the group that is involved in Income-Generating Activities (IGAs) and agriculture in Merikit Sub-County.

It is important to engage young people in conducting research of their own. Young people have only been recipients of global decisions and plans. What other people decide for us affects us. While the initiative arrived at may be worthwhile, it may lack our own perspective as young people. Investing in youth means their participation in shaping their own course and not just being recipients of programs and policies they did not take part in from the beginning.

Madam C.J. Walker, one of America’s first female entrepreneurs, said “There is no royal flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it; for if I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard”.

This quote teaches us, girls and young women, that hard work truly pays. It may not be a one-day journey but with patience, commitment and prayers, I believe we can rise to the top.

A woman who walks in purpose doesn’t have to chase people or opportunities; her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her.

Betty holding a radio talkshow at Rock Mambo FM on the Day of the African Child 2018

Betty holding a community sensitization and giving feedback on research done in Nyagole.

Betty with a Girls Advocacy Team during a community sensitization and sharing meeting in Merikit S/C

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Young Women Should Contribute to the policies that affect them

by wearerestless Reading time: 3 min