Women’s day: Celebrating legacies

  1. Education: Honourable Janet Kataaha

Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni born June 24, 1948, is the First Lady of Uganda. She is married to President Yoweri Museveni, they have four children. She is the current Minister of Education and Sports in Uganda’s Cabinet, a position she was appointed to on 6th June, 2016. She previously served as Minister for Karamoja Affairs in the Cabinet of Uganda from 27 May 2011 until 6 June 2016. She also served as the elected Member of Parliament, representing Ruhaama County in Ntungamo District, between 2011 and 2016.

Janet Museveni went into exile in 1971, when Idi Amin toppled the Obote I regime in a military coup. She married Yoweri Museveni in August 1973. When Idi Amin’s regime fell from power in April 1979, she moved back to Uganda from Tanzania where she had been living in exile with her husband.

In February 1981; Janet Museveni and her children re-located to Nairobi, Kenya, where they lived with family friends until 1983. In 1983, they moved to Gothenburg, Sweden, and stayed there until May 1986, four months after Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Army had seized power in Kampala.

Janet Museveni an old girl of Bweranyagye Girls Secondary School; holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Makerere University which she acquired in 1997 after joining the university in 1995. She also has a Diploma in Early Childhood Development from Sweden.

In November 2005 Janet Museveni showed her desire to join active politics when she announced that she would seek the parliamentary seat of Ruhaama County, in the February 2006 Ugandan general elections. She contested the seat against the candidate for Forum for Democratic Change, Augustine Ruzindana, and won overwhelmingly. She was re-elected in March 2011 to another five-year term.
On 16 February 2009, Janet Museveni was appointed State Minister for Karamoja Affairs and on 27 May 2011, she was elevated to Minister for Karamoja Affairs.

Aside politics and being the first lady of Uganda; Janet Museveni boasts of other achievements such as being the founder of Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO), an indigenous NGO which cares for war-related and HIV/AIDS-affected orphans in all the Districts of Uganda. The NGO has been in operation since 1986 and works with major UN agencies and other international donor agencies.

The first lady is also the founder and Patron of National Strategy for the Advancement of Rural Women in Uganda (NSARWU), an NGO which works with poor rural women to empower them economically through various interventions.

Founder and Patron of the Uganda Youth Forum (UYF) and NGO that engages the youth of Uganda for purposes of character and behaviour formation particularly in regard to HIV and AIDS prevention.
Janet Museveni is also the Patron of the Safe Motherhood Initiative of the Ministry of Health and WHO for reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity. She is additionally the Co-Chair of CURE Hospital – a special hospital for disabled children in Uganda, with CURE International.

She is also an Active member of OAFLA, an Organization that unites the First Ladies of Africa in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the Region.
Above all Janet Museveni is a professed and active Christian whose work and life is driven by faith.

  • Politics: Anita Annet Among

Born and raised in Bukedea District, Anita’s journey into leadership began with a strong foundation in education. She pursued her academic ambitions with dedication, earning a Bachelor of Laws degree, a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Accounting, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Banking. Anita Annet Among’s ascent to Parliamentary leadership as Speaker of the 11th Parliament is a testament to her dedication to democratic governance.

She served as a Member of Parliament, representing the interests of the citizens of Bukedea District as the District Woman Representative. Her commitment to legislative excellence and her advocacy for gender equality did not go unnoticed.

In 2021, she was appointed Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, a position of great responsibility. In this role, she contributed to the parliamentary process and demonstrated her capacity to handle complex legislative matters.

Her crowning achievement came in March 2022 when she was elected as the Speaker of the 11th Parliament of Uganda. As Speaker, she presides over parliamentary proceedings and represents the Ugandan Parliament domestically and internationally.

  • Business and Entrepreneurship: Maria Kiwanuka

Maria Kiwanuka (born 12 May, 1955) is a Ugandan economist, businesswoman and politician who served as Minister of Finance in the Cabinet of Uganda from 27 May 2011 to 1 March 2015. Since 2015 she has been Senior Advisor to the President on financial matters, responsible for the Bretton Woods institutions.

Beginning around 1980, she worked for more than ten years with the World Bank, as an Economist and Financial Analyst for the East Asian and Southern African regions. Specifically, she covered projects in Burma, Malawi, Swaziland and Uganda. After she left the World Bank, she returned to her native Uganda and went into private business. Together with members of her family, she founded businesses in the areas of broadcasting, publishing, real estate and economic consulting. She has served as a financial adviser to the Nnabagereka of Buganda since the early 2000s. In a cabinet reshuffle on 1 March 2015, she was dropped from Cabinet and appointed Senior Financial Advisor to the President.

She has over the years served as a non-executive director of the board at Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited, the Agha Khan Foundation, Nkumba University and Uganda Development Bank. Since leaving the Ugandan cabinet in 2015, she has served as chairperson of the board of United Bank for Africa Uganda Limited. In May 2022, Maria Kiwanuka was appointed chairperson of the board at Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda Limited (AMCUL), an affiliate of Airtel Uganda and the provider of Airtel Money Uganda.

  • Healthcare: Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng

Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng is the Minister of Health- Uganda.   Dr. Aceng holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine (MBChB), MMED (Pediatrics), Masters in Public Health and a Diploma in Health System Strengthening.   She is a Pediatrician and is currently at the level of Senior Consultant Pediatrics.  She is also a Public Health expert.

She has vast experience both as a manager and practicing medical personnel, which she accumulated while serving in various capacities as Medical Officer, Senior Medical Officer, Medical Officer Special Grade, Medical Superintendent, Consultant Pediatrician, Senior Consultant Pediatrician, Hospital Director and formerly as the Director General Health Services where she was responsible for coordinating technical functions for the delivery of Health services, a role she has fulfilled until her appointment as the Minister for Health.

As Minister of Health, she possesses the Constitutional Powers and functions of spearheading the Ministry. Among them are Administration, Policy Formulation and Direction. She is also responsible for defending the Ministerial budget and issue orders and statutory regulations on the sector.  In addition, she initiates and presents to Cabinet, the Ministry memorandums and accounts for the State, operations, function and achievements of the health sector.

  • Media and Communication: Barbra Kaija

Barbara Kaija joined the New Vision in 1992 as a sub-editor trainee and rose through the ranks to Deputy Features Editor and then Features Editor, a position she held for ten years. In 2006, she was appointed deputy Editor-in-Chief and in April 2010, she was promoted to Editor-in-Chief. Barbara’s current responsibilities include overseeing the editorial strategy and journalistic standards of the Vision media platforms. Vision Group owns nine newspapers, six radio stations, three TV stations, a set of magazines and websites. She heads the editorial team that provides leadership in all managerial aspects: strategic planning, content generation and editing, product marketing, staff development, audience interaction and external relations.

Barbara holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism and Media studies from Rhodes University, South Africa and a post-graduate Diploma in Practical Journalism from the Thompson Foundation, Cardiff, United Kingdom. Before she became a journalist, Barbara was a high school teacher. To this effect, she holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Makerere University and a Master’s Degree in Education from the same institution.

She was an international Journalism Exchange fellow in 2007 with the International Centre for Journalists and American Society of Newspaper Editors. Her specialty is development journalism and she has coached and groomed many journalists in Uganda towards this. In 2012, Barbara received the National Jubilee Award in recognition of her contribution to the media in Uganda.  Together with the team at Vision, they have evolved a unique brand of journalism that has grown from simply telling stories to media products that foster development by offering role model practices in farming, education, health, entrepreneurship and environment, among others. These projects started off as newspaper stories but they have since developed into big media projects and events throughout the country.

  • Social Activism: Peace Namayanja

Peace works with Girls Not Brides, a global partnership working collectively to ending child marriage so that girls can fulfil their potential. As the Partnership and Impact Manager, Peace is responsible for strengthening Girls Not Brides’ work with National Partnerships, coalitions and other networks working to end child marriage at national level in Africa.

Peace is a women’s and children’s rights activist with over nine years of working experience in public policy, sexual and reproductive health and rights programming, evidence-based advocacy, partnership building and strengthening, child protection, and monitoring and evaluation.

Peace’s passion for advocating for children’s rights, gender equality, equity and representation has fuelled her aim of creating equal opportunities for girls and boys, women and men, to develop their untapped abilities and leverage their skills to make a larger, positive impact in Uganda.

Peace has previously worked with Joy for Children Uganda, coordinating and supporting Girls Not Brides Uganda National Partnership’s campaigns on ending child marriage, including collaboration and partnership with key government stakeholders and parliamentarians in enhancing their role in ending child marriage. She also contributed to Uganda’s National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy 2014/2015-2020/2021 and 2022/2022-2026/2027. Most recently, she has worked with Forum for Women in Democracy.

Peace is a member of the Commonwealth Youth Gender Equality Network (CYGEN). She holds a BA in Social Sciences and an ongoing MA in Public Policy.

  • Technology: Barbara Birungi

Barbara Birungi Mutabazi is the co-founder of Women in Technology Uganda. The organisation aims to empower women through training, mentorship, and networking opportunities in the tech industry. Prior to founding WITU, Barbara co-founded Hive Colab, Uganda’s first innovation hub, business accelerator and incubator for East African technology startups and whose mission is to build local tech and business capacity and scale up ideas with positive social and economic returns. 

Prior to this, Barbara was Country Manager and lead project manager for digital projects at Appfrica Labs, a software development consultancy connecting the world to African Developers.  Barbara holds an MSC. in Information systems management from the University of Salford, Manchester, UK, a bachelor’s degree in business computing from Makerere University Business School and a post graduate diploma in project planning and management from Uganda Management Institute.

  • Arts and Entertainment: Mariam Ndagire

Ndagire started out as a theatre actress, at age 15, while still a student at Kampala High School. She went on to join the Black Pearls of Omugave Ndugwa in 1987, where she starred in several plays up until 1993. While there, she co-wrote her first play titled “Engabo Y’addako”. Later Ndagire, together with Kato Lubwama and Ahraf Simwogerere formed their own group the Diamonds’ Ensemble and they wrote several plays.

Ndagire is so passionate about helping young talent find themselves in the performing arts; that is the reason that she started The Next Ugandan Music, an American Idol-style show. Ndagire also started a new training workshop for filmmakers at her center, the Mariam Ndagire Film and Performing Arts Centre MNFPAC, which holds film workshops for filmmakers every year. Among the workshops’ notable participants are Sarah Kisauzi Sentongo, an actress with Deception, the NTV Uganda TV series, and screenwriter Usama Mukwaya.

In 2015 Ndagire was appointed by AFRICA MAGIC VIEWERS’ CHOICE AWARDS (AMVCA) to be part of the Jury.

In 2019 Ndagire was appointed as a committee member of the Grand Jury of the GOLDEN MOVIE AWARDS AFRICA.

  • Sports: Irene Eyaru

Irene Eyaru is the current She Cranes national team captain, who also plays for KCCA and her outstanding passion for the sport has won her several medals and the hearts of fans.

On 31 July 2023, Irene Eyaru was voted the best player of the match when the Uganda National Netball team beat Trinidad and Tobago 74-34, to qualify for the second round of Netball World Cup 2023 taking place in Cape Town, South Africa.

She made her international debut representing Uganda in 2015. She has been playing for KCCA Netball Club since 2014 and has also went onto captain the club. She was a key player in Uganda’s historic gold medal-winning performance against South Africa at the 2018 World Netball University Games where hosts Uganda prevailed against South Africa under her leadership in a thrilling nail-biting entertainer winning it 44–43 in the end by the barest of all margins.

In 2023, she replaced Peace Proscovia as the captain of the Uganda national netball team just ahead of the highly anticipated Netball World Cup. She made her maiden appearance at a Netball World Cup tournament when South Africa hosted the 2023 Netball World Cup.

  1. Culinary: Asha Batenga Jumba

Asha Batenga Jumba has made a name for herself in the world of baking. Currently the founding director of Cakely Uganda, a leading bakery that also doubles as a cafe, Batenga is also one of the minds behind the Cake Shop Uganda, an online platform where bakers meet to share ideas and network with potential clients. This platform then paved the way for the famous Kampala Cake Fair, a cake festival that brings together different talents in the baking industry to showcase their work.

Having started out as a home-based business, Batenga explains that the start of Cakely wasn’t easy due to the work involved in taking orders, delivering on them and all the logistics involved. However, this avid entrepreneur has made a name for herself when it comes to producing delightful confections.

Some customers have praised the business for innovativeness which includes the use of soy flour which is a shift from the regular recipes. Soy flour adds nutritional value and enhances the flavour of products and even gives them a longer shelf life.

Batenga attributes a significant part of her success to her husband Bryan Jumba who is also her business partner. This is because of the support rendered to her even at the start of the business.


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