MTN Foundation in partnership with Smart Girls Foundation has embarked on the construction of a skilling facility with the capacity to train 400 girls annually in vocational programs.

The facility which will be housed at the Smart Girls Foundation offices in Kampala will specialize in vocational and business upskilling, inclusive of courses like electricity installation, house painting, tailoring, carpentry, welding, catering, among others.

Speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony held in Kampala on Tuesday, MTN Uganda General Manager for Customer Experience Dorcus Muhwezi said the project is envisaged to give birth to 40 new women-led businesses in the country.

“The objective of the project is to widen career prospects and opportunities for women by diversifying and breaking the glass ceiling into careers that were previously regarded as a preserve for men,” Muhwezi said.

An artistic impression of the facility.

The project is expected to cost UGX230million which will facilitate the construction of an auto vehicle servicing station, a newly constructed washing bay and the renovation of 3 classrooms and a main hall with a capacity of 30 students per room. 

In addition to training the young women, the vehicle servicing station and washing bay are also expected to ensure sustainability of the project through generating income for the Smart Girls Foundation for services rendered by the trainers to the public.

Smart Girls Foundation is a not for profit organisation centred on skilling and empowering the girl child with the vision to transform their lives for a brighter future.

In her remarks, the Guest of Honour, the Resident District Commissioner Wakiso District who was represented by John Baptist Nsaba, the RDC Representative welcomed the initiative by MTN saying it complements government’s ambitions towards promoting gender equality and empowering the girl child.

“I wish to commend MTN for consistently championing efforts geared towards supporting government’s vision and policies such as the equal opportunities policy and the UN sustainable development goal 5 which focuses on achieving gender equality and women empowerment,” she said urging other private sector players to emulate MTN’s initiatives to propel the country’s economic growth.

The launch of the project comes as the world joins together to commemorate the International Women’s day held on March 8 under the theme: Gender Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.

In celebration of the International women’s day, the MTN Foundation engaged in various activities with the young girls at Smart Girls Foundation including kitchen gardening and mentorship sessions in career guidance facilitated by members of the MTN Women Group.

The partnership between MTN Foundation and Smart Girls Foundation is one of many interventions undertaken by the former to empower women and girls in Uganda.

In June 2019, during the 21 days of YelloCare, the annual staff volunteerism initiative, MTN supported the Smart girls Foundation with a donation worth UGX30million with the aim of enhancing the girls’ learning experience.

As a result, the organisation increased the number of girls trained at the facility from 30 to 64 in a wide range of programs including mechanical, electrical installations and welding.

In the same year, MTN announced UGX50m sponsorship towards the Kyabazinga Girl Child program aimed at supporting and improving the lives of women and youth in the Busoga region.

Similarly, MTN Foundation in 2016 partnered with the Forum for African Women Educationalists Uganda Chapter (FAWEU) to provide full cover University Education scholarships for ten (10) Ugandan girls across the country.