Economic empowerment, women organizations, craftswomen, Sarah Longwe empowerment framework, Local Economic Development, National Association of Women organizations in Uganda
The economic empowerment of women has been argued by many as a prerequisite for sustainable development, pro-poor growth and the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals. That is why a number of development practitioners are now adopting strategies aiming at empowering poor women by focusing on sectors that employ more women than men such as craft business in Uganda. Theories have revealed that promoting craft business will help poor women to transform their economic, social and political status in their respective families and communities. Inspired by the framework of Sarah Longwe on different levels of women empowerment, this study investigates the extent to which women organizations empower craftswomen economically using a case study of National Association of Women Organizations in Uganda (NAWOU). This research was done with data collected in July 2011 on different groups of craftswomen working with NAWOU and operating in Kampala and Mpigi districts. The researcher examined the nature and scope of women’s craft activities in women organizations, the ability of craftswomen to utilize the opportunities provided by women organizations and the extent of economic empowerment of craftswomen. The results suggested that different services has been offered to craftswomen and these include training in product development and fair pricing, facilitating access to local and international market, training in marketing and business management, training in FAL, leadership and self-confidence, etc. All these services have strengthened the contribution of craftswomen to cash income in their respective family which have allowed them to acquire some productive resources and to improve their socio-political positions both at the household and community levels. However, the research has found out that gender role imbalances in some families hinder married women to perform well their career as some of their time which could be devoted to craft activities is spent in household chores.