Helping Women’s Products Fly Off the Shelf in Uganda

Women are told that some of the best things they can do to advance in their careers is to make their achievements known and promote themselves. 

But what about how they promote their products?

In Uganda, one of the warmest and most dedicated young women I’ve met, Hadijah Nankanja is helping women do just that by focusing on both how they package and promote their products, and how they feel about themselves.

grX6hLGCI met Hadijah in 2011 and we connected right away over our shared belief that women are the greatest untapped economic resource. As the founder of the Community Women’s Enterprise Network, Hadijah works tirelessly in her community to close the gaps that stand in the way of women’s success.

Through Akili Dada, a leadership incubator that invests in high-potential girls from underprivileged backgrounds who have a passion for social change, Hadijah participated in a year-long fellowship and started a program called Women on the Shelf. Through the program, Hadijah teaches low-income women how to become commercial producers and position their products so they can be sold in retail outlets and stores. She prepares women to talk about themselves and their products with more confidence and knowledge.

Hadijahshared with me how pursing her strengths and then her passion led to her success.

“In my culture, girls are taught how to take care of others and most importantly cook and feed them at an early age. I learnt early on that am a good cook and decided to take up cooking professionally. I trained first as a hotelier. I owned my first business, a college bar and an internet café, in 2006.”

hadijah sq“Later in a quest for knowledge, I studied development, information technology and entrepreneurship. I found out that that is where my heart and passion are. I discovered that helping other entrepreneurial women, guiding, supporting young aspiring people, letting them know they can achieve their dreams and be their very best is life changing. Where I come from low-income women bear almost all responsibility for meeting the basic needs of families. Yet, women have been denied the resources, information and freedom of action they need to fulfill this responsibility. Young people have great ideas, creativity and energy but lack guidance, support,mentorship and other resources to make the right decisions.”

“I wake up every day with energy and look out for more opportunities for women and youth to advance themselves. Business, new ideas, and creativity bring me fulfillment.”

Follow Hadijah on Twitter.