Bakatawamu Information and Development Empowerment (BIDE) was initially formed as a women’s group in January, 2001, by a few women of Jinja District who saw the need to pool their saving together to alleviate poverty. They needed to engage in productive energy saving methods that are environmentally friendly, eliminate violence against rural women, hurmful practices among the rural women and involve a system to proving revolving fund and training in business management skills to needy members to start micro-businesses or expand existing micro-projects.
At that time, (and even now) it was very difficult for the economically active poor women more especially women with HIV/AIDS to access credit or loans from banks and other commercial institutions as they lacked collateral ; a limiting factor to the majority of poor women who form the bulk of the population.
We have successfully managed several projects, including;
• Distribution of Solvatten solar safe water system to rural women with HIV/AIDS in Bulumwaki and Kawete villages in Iganga District, in Wabulnga and Namulesa in Jinja District with the help of Kopernik organization in USA .
• Constructed 45 Rocket Lorena stoves energy saving practice for local people in rural areas.
• We have distributed simple solar lighting system to improve health, allow adults to earn money and enable their children to study after dark.
(Rocket Lorena stoves and solvatten solar safe water system is an extremely cost effective house hold activity, and this can be seen as another alternative to fight environmental degradation and unemployment among the women and youth in Jinja district.)
• Together with Women Micro Finance Initiatives an American NGO, we have trained 120 rural women in business management and leadership skills and extended small loans to them.
BIDE faces a challenge of limited resources as it has no full time paid staff.