My name is Jovia Nampiina, a 2017 Akili Dada Fellow from Kampala Uganda. I initiated Dignified Uganda to rehabilitate sex workers and victims of sexual exploitation through skills development training so as to financially empower them to earn a dignified living.

I was driven to start this project by the need to empower women and to help them see their full potential because I was raised by a woman who discovered what exactly she wanted to do with her life and used that to earn a living. I wanted to change the attitude that there were no more chances of alternative employment especially for the uneducated who often feel hopeless. I am also continuously motivated when I see my girls start over, for example one of our beneficiaries now owns her own tailoring business and is newly married.

On Joining the Akili Dada Fellowship Program

I heard about the Akili Dada Fellowship through a Facebook post on a page called Opportunity Spark and I applied because I yearned to learn more about how best I can improve the implementation of my project but also get networks that can take the project to the next level. I was looking forward to working with a group of diverse people that I could learn from; the fellows and Akili Dada staff.

In regards to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), my project addresses gender equality and women empowerment through providing an education for the rehabilitated sex workers and teaching them skills such as tailoring that enable them to earn a living. Dignified is also promoting good health and wellbeing through rehabilitation and behaviour change programs aimed at reducing the chances of HIV infection and through our sexual reproductive programs, they are made aware of the how best they can avoid STDs infections and where best to seek for treatment and because they are able to learn a skill they are now able earn a living but in good health.

It is also promoting decent work and economic growth, since sex work is illegal they are constantly arrested by police and have to sometimes dress in a certain manner to attract clients this ceases to be the case when they get alternative means of employment, many of the sex workers don’t have access to loans and can’t attach to any form of employment or business however with the skills they get from dignified many are able to start up small businesses and can therefore be candidates for loans hence facilitating economic growth

My ultimate goal is to see a society of women set free from the bondage of prostitution; financially and emotionally empowered to take on their responsibilities in a dignified manner

In my free time, I like reading books, cooking and watch cooking shows. I would love to visit the Caribbean because I love nature and the freshness. If I could change the world, I would love to change the people’s attitude towards work so that people are able to embrace the fact that if they put their mind to something they can and will achieve it.