Wednesday, May 9, 2012

GWWI Women and Water on Wednesdays: Congratulations to GWWI Trainer Godliver Businge Graduating #1 in Her Class!

Godliver lays foundation for the toilet slab

A huge congratulations goes out to Global Women's Water Initiative (GWWI) Trainer Godliver Businge who recently graduated #1 in her class at St Joseph's Technical Institute in Uganda – and incidentally, the ONLY WOMAN! Not only did Godliver receive top marks in Civil Engineering, on April 28, 2012, she gave the commencement speech attended by the Minister of Education, who soon after invited her to his office and offered her a job. She graciously declined because she has her sights on getting her degree and ultimately her PhD in Civil Engineering. 

Godliver the Engineer
We met Godliver when she was attending the Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme where she was working towards a Certificate in Bricklaying and Concrete Practice. URDT trains people who live on less than $1 per day to take a visionary, entrepreneurial approach to developing their own lives, families and communities.  We hired her to train GWWI participants to build Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) toilets to meet the sanitation needs of their communities. Decked from head to toe in her construction coveralls and protective helmet, Godliver was an inspiration to the GWWI participants, as well as the students at the school where the VIP was built during our Women and Water Training in Kampala, Uganda in July 2011. The participants were very impressed by her meticulous and detailed instruction and her capacity to simplify the construction since many of the women had never picked up a shovel in their lives. One female student at the school declared "When I grow up, I want to be an engineer"!

Godliver's mission is to engage more Ugandan women to pursue engineering and become professionals. She had a local radio show called "Ladies Night" and went into the villages to recruit more girls. Through her efforts, URDT saw a three-fold increase in enrollment to the URDT Girls School.  

After graduation, Godliver was contracted to help design and construct  small scale hydro-electric schemes in Kasese and Fort Portal. They are working towards manufacturing the turbine locally to ensure that it can be maintained and repaired by local community members.
Godliver at her Graduation
At the young age of 25, Godliver is a role model for all of us. A true Water Champion, Godliver is determined to pave the way for women to challenge gender stereotypes, professionalize their services and take the lead in an issue that affects them deeply – water and sanitation.

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