Slum Women Economic Empowerment Program-SWEEP is a mentoring and training program for marginalized and low-income single mothers in urban slums. The plight of single mothers has escalated including social stigmatization and economic exclusion, poverty, unemployment, gender-based violence, human trafficking and related sexual exploitation. Currently funded by UN-HABITAT for Urban Youth Fund, the project is working with 200 single mothers (15-30 years) from Kawempe division, one of the biggest urban slums in Kampala city. The project equips women with key skills to become active players in transforming their lives, earn descent income and positively impact their families and communities. The objectives of the project are to increase economic opportunities for single mothers by equipping them with key entrepreneurship, vocational and employment skills; social/life skills to enable them to confidently negotiate life options with clear perspectives and establish support systems within the communities.
The goal is to reduce domestic violence, sexual exploitation and related human rights abuses that single mothers face as a result of economic exclusion, social isolation and dependence on abusive men. Mentors guided the women through an innovative curriculum in socio-economic empowerment, including practical skills that enabled them to design and start income-generating activities that are sustainable in their communities; and they form Village Loan and Savings Associations to mobilize funding.
The process ignites women’s inner potential, transforms their thinking, develops their characters, self-confidence, communication skills and gain a more respectable social status in their communities. The women are connected to mentors, internships, social support systems and social services including family planning, HIV/AID treatment, legal aid and human rights. The innovative model, the 5D CYCLE® enables them to Discover who they are, Dream about what they want to become, Design ways of achieving those dreams and Develop key skills and habits that will lead them to rewarding Destinies.
The Theory of change
When vulnerable, economically disadvantaged and socially isolated single mothers, they gain economic independence, social development, support networks, and the confidence to speak; they move along the continuum to more stable economic and social future, reducing vulnerability to domestic violence, sexual exploitation and related human rights abuses.