Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Grassroots women entrepreneurs in Acholi are defying the odds to venture into internet marketing targeting global clients for their locally produced goods. The women market artifacts, African fabrics, agricultural products, honey and jewellery among others through social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
With the limited market in the region, the vendors argue that they have resorted to the internet to advertise their enterprises and expand their market. Gloria Barbara Adyero – the founder of Loremi Tours, a local travel agency notes that online marketing is an exciting new opportunity for the women in business to explore global markets in the comfort of their homes.
Norah Nyeko, a dealer in African jewellery and craft shoes in Gulu City says that the current trend of globalization inevitably requires one to be up-to-date with Information and Communication Technological knowledge and bridge the gender gap in digital advertising.
Pamela Alwoch, the Stanbic Bank Branch Manager in Gulu City observes that improved access to ICT facilities for grassroots women helps to bridge the existing digital gender divide. She notes that grassroots women should explore available financial credit facilities offered by the government to expand on their businesses, which in turn will spur economic development in the modern day high tech society.
Nonetheless, Pamela Angwech, the Executive Director of Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization (GWED-G), an entity founded by grassroots women who suffered the impact of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war in Northern Uganda orates that ICT knowledge is now a necessity to everyone.
Without access to ICT, Angwech says women are at greater risk of being left behind as agents of change and leaders in a rapidly changing global society. She rallied women entrepreneurs to ensure that they competitively access and use ICT as the male counterparts.
Recently, Uganda Communication Commission – UCC, GWED-G identified 100 selected grassroots women entrepreneurs and trained them in ICT, online marketing, business and financial literacy in a pilot project dubbed Women in Business (WinB). The 2015 Teledensity report by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics- UBOS indicates that the country continues to experience growth in internet subscription, with a 37.4% internet penetration rate and yet overall, 12% fewer women use the internet than men.