My passion is to see other women become self-reliant

Years back, Josephine Kulumba (Mama Tina) was your ordinary neighbour with a passion for helping others. As the laid back but assertive family woman also loves development and leadership, she joined the leadership at St. Yowana Maria Muzeeyi Catholic Sub Parish in Luwafu, Makindye Division.

Here, at her local church, she grew through the ranks, being successively a treasurer (Muwanika) at St Mugagga church from 2000-2001, Nabavubuka – in charge of youth at St. Agnes Kibuye Makindye Parish from 2002-2008, treasurer at St. Yowana Maria Muzeeyi Catholic Sub Parish (2009-2012) and Nnabafumbo – in charge of married women at St. Yowana Maria Muzeeyi (2013- 2016).

Aware that she could make a difference through her leadership skills, the immediate former LC3 Woman Councillor representing Luwafu and Salaama joined local government leadership starting initially with local council one (LC1). Here, she has served in various capacities such as secretary for finance Kirundu zone from 2008 to 2016, Woman Secretary for the Democratic Party (DP) Kirundu Zone from 2006-2011 and Women Secretary DP Luwafu parish 2012-2016). Mrs Kulumba used this time to nurture several women projects such as Kampala Parents with disabilities (KAPCDAM) which helps parents who have children with disabilities to understand how they can help and empower their children.

As a local council leader, she has ensured that communities are clean through mobilisation while also engaging the women in improving their saving and investment through cash clubs. Some of these include St Mugagga saving group, Kalani saving group and Amazon Nakinyuguzi saving group, amongst others.

“I am inspired by women such as Her Royal Highness Nnabagereka Sylvia Nagginda who has used her stage as Queen of Buganda to lead the way in several women focused projects such as Ekisakaate, Ba Maama ba Buganda, and Women Health. Additionally, a ‘thank you’ from a woman whose life I have positively impacted encourages me to do more,” she says.

However, her journey has not been without its hurdles such as women living with the attitude that everything has to be done for them. “With development projects, togetherness is instrumental in moving forward. However, some women do not want to take risks, one of which is investing money to start a project. Other women are not patient enough to allow a project to grow, thus they do not want to start small. Others just want to see what they need, never trusting the process. With limited finances, collaboration is failing, at times, some projects cannot kick off because I cannot do it alone. Having a different perspective to things also makes me let go sometimes because I cannot force my idea on someone.”

The other challenge is the culture of looking at politicians as people who must give them free money. “I find this sickening because just like any other woman, we work and have several responsibilities.”

Despite all the pains she has suffered, Mrs Kulumba celebrates the triumphs achieved thus far. The main victory has been mindset change and an uplifted women generation at least for her community.

Looking back, Mrs Kulumba says she would never have made it on her own if it were not for organisations such as Women’s International Peace Centre which helps in empowering women in the various aspects of life. These have assisted greatly by organising training workshops at no cost.