Naigaga Hadijja Bagalana is a mother of five children and married to an agriculturist. They come from Bukona parish in Uganda and live about 4 miles from the Iganga Epicentre.
Hadijja joined The Hunger Project in 2003. She says before The Hunger Project came with its programs in microfinance, women’s empowerment and food security, she knew nothing about savings and credit.
At first, she had fears of entrusting the Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) with the little money she had. However, Hadijja soon started saving with the bank. She has accessed several loans which she has used to educate her children and also to construct a commercial house in the trading center. For her commitment to the bank, she was elected as a vice chairperson to the board.
Hadijja also participated in trainings on proper farming methods and demonstrations that were being conducted at the epicenter. She says that as a result of the food security trainings, her home is well equipped with food all the time.
The women’s empowerment training has also played a large role in Hadijja’s life, as she is now better able to speak out and make decisions. At the epicenter Annual General Meeting (AGM), she contested for the position of epicenter Chairperson and won. Hadijja is now the new chairperson of Iganga Epicenter. When asked exactly who or what inspired her to go for the position, she says, “Most of the people I worked with talked a lot about how I am a good mobilizer and even encouraged me that I would be a good leader whom people would listen to and follow. When such a chance came, I could not let it go but give it a try.”
Her future plan is to ensure that she uplifts the epicentre from where it is to a higher level, where the nursery school will have more qualified teachers and increase the number of children enrolled at the epicentre nursery school. Apart from growing crops, she plans to have fruits such as mangoes, oranges, pawpaws among others in the orchard at the epicentre. She also plans to have start up Income Generating Activities that will support her committee.