1000 Shillings project utilizes technology to empower Ugandan women
Technology is empowering more and more women in Uganda. Entrepreneur Asia Kamukama brings solar-powered mobile computing labs to rural villages as part of her Maendeleo Foundation. Women In Technology Uganda (WITU) is working hard to reduce the gender digital divide through tech networking, training, and mentoring.
Although these initiatives encourage women to physically use computers, technology can also empower women in less explicit ways. The common thread is creating a human centered design to help solve tough social challenges. 1000 Shillings, a company serving women in Uganda, does just that.
The online platform currently used by 1000 Shillings came about while the founders worked with women on creating paper-bead jewelry in the Namatala slum of Mbale, Uganda. The group quickly realized the need to tell the stories of the women behind the products to the rest of the world. And what better way to empower the group of women than by using the reach of the Internet!
Accordingly, 1000 Shillings utilizes a simple online marketplace (with striking photos) to connect six Ugandan women to the international community. That is, each of the handcrafted paper bead necklaces is tied to the story of its creator. Revenue from sold products is given to the respective artist, thus enabling the women to provide for their families. The women from Namatala slum may not directly be accessing a computer, but they reaping the benefits of technology nonetheless.
The business model is simple and effectively enables the women to become successful business owners: