Empowering women to enter the market

By Karina Cheah

ZimbaWomen credit: ZimbaWomen


Peace Kutseesa

The Co-founder of Zimba Women, Peace Kuteesa, is passionate about providing women with the tools and resources to participate in their economies and develop their communities. She spoke at last year’s Ethical Leadership Roundtable on ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship: building resilience in the economy and society’, which was part of the Caux Forum Online 2020. The roundtable examined context-specific challenges and solutions, how entrepreneurship can bridge the digital divide and the importance of innovation in different fields.

Zimba Women, which provides women with access to business skills and training, sits right at the heart of these elements of entrepreneurship. Its goal is to engage women’s active participation and provide them with access to markets. Kuteesa and her co-founder first connected on Facebook, in a group where young mothers encouraged one another to share and sell their products. As the group grew, some of the women launched their own businesses, and Kuteesa and her co-founder decided to create a formalized version of the group, which came to be known as Zimba Women. They felt that the best way they could use their computer engineering backgrounds was to help women who did not understand or have access to technology.

Since its launch, Zimba Women has worked with over 10,000 women in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya to connect them with other female entrepreneurs and teach them such skills as basic accounting and social media management. It has just launched its e-commerce site, to help the women they have mentored to develop and sell their products. ‘We want to ensure that women are able to participate in the economic development of their countries or communities,’ Kuteesa explained. ‘When you empower these women economically, you help them develop their communities.’

We want to ensure that women are able to participate in the economic development of their countries or communities.

Kuteesa first participated in Ethical Leadership in Business in 2019. The experience has been invaluable, she said, ‘because it has given [Zimba Women] the visibility we are looking for’. The Caux Forum enabled her to hear how other entrepreneurs had overcome their community’s challenges and developed sustainable and resilient economies – one of ZimbaWomen’s key goals. Kuteesa loved the time given to personal connection and self-reflection: she explains that it allows her to prepare for the day ahead by truly getting in touch with herself.

Kuteesa’s goal is for Zimba Women to be Africa’s biggest e-commerce site for women by 2025, with at least five million women equipped with business and technology skills. She explained that it is often difficult for women in Africa to physically access markets, whether because of unsafe routes or high transportation costs. Technology could empower them to participate in the economy. ‘Tech perspective and the training to use it [the technology] allows them to tread wherever they wish to be internationally,’ she said.


You are interested in the topic of ethical leadership in business? Discover this year's Caux Forum Online event Initiatives of Change Business & Economy (12 + 13 July 2021) and register now!



Watch the roundtable discussion with Peace N. Kutseeba


Photo top: https://www.zimbawomen.org/gallery


Featured Story

related stories

Save the date 2023 square no date

Caux Forum 2023: Save the Date

We are excited to announce the Caux Forum will be back in Caux next summer! Find out more and save the date! ...

Arpan Yagnik

Arpan Yagnik: Mountains to climb

Arpan Yagnik, a participant of last year's Creative Leadership conference and team member of the IofC Hub 2021, talks to Mary Lean about creativity, fear and vocation. ...

YAP 2021 article square

Young Ambassadors Programme 2021: Learning to listen

When Indonesian law student Agustina Zahrotul Jannah discovered the Young Ambassadors Programme (YAP) on Google she felt both excited and hopeless: excited because she hoped it might give her the skil...

Zero waste square for social media

Sofia Syodorenko: A zero waste lifestyle is a mindful lifestyle

How did Sofia Syodorenko become involved in the zero waste movement, and what does it mean to her? Now Chair of Foundations for Freedom, she is also a representative of the Zero Waste Alliance Ukraine...

Patrick Magee 600x600

‘Where Grieving Begins – Building Bridges after the Brighton Bomb’: a live interview with Patrick Magee

The second in Tools for Changemakers’ series of Stories for Changemakers took place on 25 August 2021, with an interview with Patrick Magee, who planted a bomb at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, in 1984, w...

Summer Academy 2021 screenshot square

Forging a network of problem-solvers to build a secure and sustainable future

The Summer Academy on Climate, Land and Security 2021 brought together 29 participants from 20 countries. From Egypt and Senegal to the United States and Thailand, zoom windows opened for six hours ev...

Salima Mahamoudou 21 July 2021 FDFA workshop CDES 2021

Remaking a world in peril

The Caux Dialogue on Environment and Security (CDES) 2021 ran online from 20 July until 30 July, for the second consecutive year, comprising three open plenaries and seven workshops. This year’s discu...

CL 2021 Hope square

A Journey from Uncertainty to Possibility

2021’s Creative Leadership conference took participants on a six-day journey ‘From Uncertainty to Possibility’. Between 25 to 31 July around 150 online participants living in over 50 countries engaged...

FDFA Baobabcowherd-1 Noah Elhardt through WikiCommons square with logos

A pathway to peace and prosperity in West and Central Africa

In the context of their partnership, Initiatives of Change Switzerland (IofC) and the Peace and Human Rights division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs organised a webinar on the them...

LPM report 2021 square

Peacemakers in the making

‘I am super happy to have been part of the Learning to be a Peacemaker course – we learned the true colours of Islam!’ wrote 18-year-old high-school graduate Nma Dahir, from Erbil, capital of the Kurd...

Choir Musical Stories

Musical Stories from Caux

‘What a magnificent presentation of stories and music’, commented one of the participants of the second in-person, by invitation, event of this year's Caux Forum Online which took place on 1 August 20...

ICBE 2021 square white background

Sustainable businesses needs purpose beyond profit

Corporations and industries need a purpose beyond profit, says Sunil Mathur, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Siemens in India and South Asia. ‘Companies’ purposes are critical,’ he explai...

Stephanie Buri and Nick Foster Opening Ceremony Caux Forum 2021

Opening Ceremony of the Caux Forum Online 2021: Swiss perspectives on peace

The Caux Forum Online 2021 opened on 5 July with a panel on ‘Swiss Perspectives on Peace – past, present and future’ to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre as the ...

Dhanasree Jayaram CDES 2020

A closer look at links between environment and security

Food security is a key to understanding the complex connection between climate and security, Dhanasree Jayaram, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations Manipal...

Annika Hartmann e-space masterclass Nov 2020

Creating a network and strengthening resilience in business

Annika Hartmann de Meuron, Managing Director of Ethical Leadership in Business (ELB), looks back on four exciting years of developing ethical leadership in business in Switzerland. ELB aimed to increa...