Empowering Young Women

In Uganda: MEMPROW


Mentoring and Empowerment Programme for Young Women (MEMPROW)  is a capacity building programme for self empowerment of young women (14-25 years), focusing on increasing leadership capacities and social survival and analytical skills. It is also a programme for creating strong networks of intergenerational partnerships, providing continuous peer learning and mentorship for young women as a way of sustaining gender activism ad strengthening the Uganda Women’s movement. It was launched in Kampala, Uganda in January 2008.  MEMPROW is registered as a Non Profit Company Limited by Guarantee without Capital Shares.

MEMPROW’S Theory of Change

MEMPROW is an approach with a conceptual and theoretical framework for transformation of the patriarchal system in our society. We at MEMPROW believe that  sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and the general disregard for Women’s rights are direct consequences of the subordination and disempowerment of women, which is rooted in a patriarchal system, entrenched within all cultures of Uganda.The MEMPROW approach is based on the theory that change in gender inequality can only happen if the patriarchal gender relations of  dominance and subordination are transformed.

Programme Areas

MEMPROW has developed a multi-pronged strategy for programme implementation

1. A capacity building programme for young women’s leadership and entrepreneurship 
which includes:

A two weeks’ social survival training activity :

Focuses on social survival and leadership skills for young women within institutions of learning.The training equips young women with diverse knowledge on leadership skills,personal empowerment and skills to help them survive in a patriarchal oriented society.

A cross generational Mentoring and gender Dialogue Network:

This programme gives public space, once a month, for young women to talk about gender issues and how they affect them.  The young women have an opportunity to meet, exchange ideas and experiences and to analyze ways through which they can transform systems that sustain abuse of women’s rights.

MEMPROW Girls’ Network: The MEMPROW Girls’ Network is an independent young women’s feminist movement advocating for promotion and protection of girls’ and women’s rights

2. A programme for Enhancing Gender Responsiveness of Partner Institutions:
 This programme is aimed at mainstreaming gender especially in public and private sector institutions;these are work institutions and educational institutions

3. Research and documentation programme for advocacy: The programme amplifies young women’s voices on gender based violence by documenting their voices on pertinent issues, carrying out needs assessment surveys and periodical studies.

4. Counseling services: Counseling offers continuous support to the young women who experience sexual and gender based violence.


In South Africa: 18twenty8


18twenty8® is an award-winning, women-led Non Profit Organisation that empowers young women, from disadvantaged backgrounds, by developing strategies for their educational and personal development.

We encourage young women, predominantly between the ages of 18 and 28, to view higher education as an attractive and necessary tool for their empowerment. We help you save on tax!

We have carved a niche for ourselves by being one of a few organisations in South Africa that is 100% led by young women who empower other young women. Being young, female and previously disadvantaged ensures that our approach remains empathetic, skills-enhancing and relevant to the young women we serve since we have experienced some of our beneficiaries’ challenges first-hand. Our objectives are to:

  • Facilitate life-skills workshops for girls in Grade 11 and Grade 12 at high schools in marginalised communities
  • Provide mentors for young women at tertiary-level through our Big Sister Network
  • Provide financial assistance for the higher educational needs of deserving young women
  • Produce successive generations of mentors and educated women professionals in all sectors
  • Curb youth unemployment by recruiting and training community-based youth to facilitate our workshops

South African Statistics

Women and men in families

Table 2a: Legal age for marriage
As of year
Minimum legal age for marriage
2003 Women Men Women Men
18 18 <18 td=””><18 td=””>

* Requires parental consent

Table 2b: Indicators on marriage
Population aged 15-19 ever married (%)
Singulate mean age at marriage
1996 Women Men Women Men
3.4 0.8 28.0 30

3. Health

Table 3c: HIV / AIDS
Adults (15+) with HIV (in thousands)
Women’s share of adults (15+) with HIV
5 400

4. Education

Table 4a: Literacy
Adult (15+) Literacy Rate
Youth (15-24) literacy rate
2007 Women Men Women Men
87 89 96 95

* UIS Estimation

Table 4b: Primary Education
Net enrolment ratio in primary education
Girls’ share of primary enrolment
2005* Girls Boys Year %
86 86 2005 48.7

* UIS Estimation

Table 4c: Secondary Education
Net enrolment ratio in secondary education
Girls’ share of secondary enrolment
2005* Girls Boys Year %
75.2 69.7 2005 51.4


Table 4d: Tertiary Education
Tertiary gross enrolment ratio
Women’s share of tertiary enrolment
2006 Women Men Year %
17.1 13.8 2006 55.1


Table 4e: Teaching Staff
Female Teachers
Primary Education
Secondary Education
Tertiary Education
Year % Year % Year %
2005 76 2005 52 2006 51

5. Work

Table 5a: Economic Activity
Adult (15+) economic activity rate
Percentage of women in adult labour force
2007 Women Men %
47 60 45


Table 5b: Part time employment
Percentage of adult employment that is part time
Women’s share of part time employment
1999 Women Men %
13 6 59


Table 5c: Distribution of labour force by status in employment
Percentage employees
Percentage employers
Percentage own account workers
Percentage contributing family workers
2007 Women Men Women Men Women Men Women Men
81 84 16 14 3 2 1 0


Table 5d: Women legislators and managers
Women’s share of legislators and managers
2007 34


Table 5e: Women’s wages relative to men’s
Women’s wages in manufacturing as a percentage of men’s wages
No data for South Africa


Table 5f Adult unemployment
Adult (15+) unemployment rate
Year Women Men
2007 27 20


Table 5g: Maternity leave benefits
Length of maternity leave Percentage of wages paid in covered period (%) Provider of medical benefit
4 months 60 * Unemployment Insurance Fund

* Up to 60% depending on the level of income.

6. Political decision making *

Table 6a Women in parliament
Percentage of parliamentary seats in Single or Lower chamber occupied by women

* The figures on the distribution of seats do not include the 36 special rotating delegates appointed on an ad hoc basis, and all percentages given are therefore calculated on the basis of the 54 permanent seats.


Both of these non-profit agencies are looking at education as the benefactor of equality in Africa for young women and their empowerment.


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