The UN Summit for the Economic Advancement of Rural Women was held in Geneva in February, 1992 where Uganda's First Lady, Mrs Janet Museveni, participated. The main aim of the Geneva Summit was to encourage First Ladies from developing nations, with appropriate assistance from donors, to enable rural women enhance their productive role in the country's social and economic development.
In this context it was agreed by the participating First Ladies that they would help to set up national bodies to promote the economic empowerment of rural women in their respective countries.
In Uganda, the First Lady developed a vision for NSARWU whose goal was economic empowerment of rural women. NSARWU was then formed in February, 1994, at a workshop comprising a cross section of regional representatives, both professionals and NGO representatives. From 1994 - 1995, UNDP assisted the First Lady to set up the Secretariat and provided the required office machinery.
Method of work as defined by the workshop was for NSARWU to receive proposals from rural women and support their income generating projects. This would mean playing an active role in fundraising and building the capacity of women so that they can implement the viable income generating projects with a variety of skills. Other agencies would then be hired to evaluate and determine the organization's impact.
A Constitution was then launched in 1995 with the following objectives:
The goal was to promote the economic empowerment of women by supporting;
- Proposals aimed at equipping the women with skills for the viable projects.
- Agriculture projects, both on farm and off farm and other related projects such as environment protection.
- Business enterprises such as retail business and other professional and vocational services.
- Health related programs including counselling services for AIDS patients.
- Programs which aim at reducing the work burden of women, that is, support for appropriate technology.
- Programs which create human rights awareness and gender sensitization.
In summary, NSARWU focused on the following specific objectives:
- Prioritization of the beneficiaries' needs.
- Promotion of increased agriculture production.
- Support for diversified non agricultural enterprise by securing credit facilities for the identified projects.
- Promotion of gender balance and human rights awareness in resource allocation, acquisition and any issues related to family rights.
- Promotion of family health through collaboration with other partners.
- Promotion of appropriate technology.