23 March Mar 2012 1242 23 March 2012

WINGS presented in NYC and DC: a clearer view of recovery in Northern Uganda

The Women INcome Generation Support (WINGS) Program, collaboration between AVSI as implementers and researchers from Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) being managed by AVSI-USA, is an innovative 3-year program of economic assistance and social support to 1,500 of the young women who, with their children, were most severely affected by conflict in Northern Uganda. Funding is provided by private U.S. donors and by the World Bank.
The program and the results from Phase 1 were featured in two events on March 23 and March 26, by chance falling right in the wake of the Kony 2012 phenomenon which has brought the post-conflict recovery of Northern Ugandans to the center of attention of millions of people.
On March 23 in New York City, AVSI-USA and International Rescue Committee (IRC) co-hosted a presentation at the IRC office for an audience of over 80 researchers, program managers of New York based NGOs and others. Under the title"Maximizing Program Impact in Post-Conflict Zones: Investing in Women's Empowerment," the WINGS Program was presented along with the IRC’s EA$E program in Burundi, which is similar to WINGS in that it targets women in post-conflict settings and includes an impact evaluation.
The WINGS programming and research was presented by Francesca Oliva, AVSI Program Manager, and Chris Blattman, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator with IPA and Assistant Professor at Yale University. Key lessons from EA$E were shared by two members of IRC’s Women’s Protection and Empowerment Unit, Bersabeh Beyene, Economic Specialist,  and Heidi Lehmann, Director. The discussion was moderated by Jeannie Annan, Director of Research, Evaluation and Learning at IRC.
Download the NYC event flyer
In Washington, DC, on March 26, AVSI-USA and IPA co-sponsored a presentation hosted by the International Development Program of Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) which dug deeper into the details of the WINGS program, including the local context, program design, preliminary research results, challenges and key lessons and successes. Oliva was joined by John Makoha, AVSI Country Representative for Uganda, as well as IPA affiliates Julian Jamison, PhD, Senior Economist in the Center for Behavioral Economics at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and Eric Green, PhD, Associate at the Population Council.
An audience of around 60, including professors and students of SAIS and other Washington, DC, universities and staff members of local NGOs, of USAID, the World Bank and other institutions, asked many questions at the end of the panel addressing topics such as how to adapt instruments for monitoring and evaluation, dealing with local corruption surrounding development projects and the question of finding funding for long-term evaluations to determine what methods are most effective.
A policy paper is still in the process of development based on preliminary results, and further publications and results-sharing events are planned after the close of WINGS Phase 2 in June 2012.
Download the DC event flyer
View AVSI presentation for the eventsDownload the publication of the WINGS projectDownload the project summary

WINGS Success Stories

On the occasion of the presentation of the WINGS Program AVSI tells the success stories of the protagonists of the project!

Akumu’s story Akumu is 35 years old, mother of seven children and married to Franco with whom she has been living for over 20 years. They lived in miserable conditions because of Franco’s renal dysfunction, he wasn’t not allowed to do any agricultural or heavy physical activities. So it was Akumu who had to fulfill the needs of the family all alone.
Their situation got worse because of the increasing conflicts that affected the whole country. As a result, they had to leave their native village and the land which was their only source of livelihood. Only at the end of the conflict could they move back to their village but they found their huts destroyed and their livestock stolen.
In spite of the fact that Akumu had to face such a dramatic situation she didn’t lose hope. She was selected as a WINGs beneficiary and, together with her husband, participated in business trainings and received a small sum of money to invest. They managed to set up a Kiosk and have a small business of local products. Today, thanks to the WINGs program, Akumu and Franco have managed to improve their living conditions, they can earn enough to pay for their daily household expenses and for their children’s school fees.

Pauline’s story
Pauline is 44 years old, mother of seven children and married to Odong Vincent. Her too had to look after her family alone because her husband, who suffers from a severe back pain, couldn’t work. Their living conditions were very hard as their earnings were not enough to meet their needs. In fact their sources of income were limited to casual and heavy work such as farming and burning charcoal. Due to the hard work Pauline also developed health problems and she had to reduce her duties. So the community suggested them to address to the WINGs program and they were helped to develop economic skills which allowed them to invest and save money.
The thing they are most proud of today is the possibility to take care of their children, sending them to school, being able to clothe and feed them. Now they can eat meat once a month, before they only did at Christmas or Easter. They are very grateful to AVSI as they recognize without the WINGs project they would still be tied to their old and hard life. According to Pauline: “WINGS project, with its support, brought so much joy into our family and helped us transform and improve our wellbeing. Thank you AVSI and Thank You WINGS”.
Rose’s story
Rose is 43 years old, widow with seven children to take care of. Her life was very hard until she was selected as a WINGs beneficiary. She took part in a business training together with her eldest daughter who had dropped out of school because of the impossibility to pay school fees. They were also supported to start a small business. Today their life has improved, they can pay household expenses and school fees.
Rose is grateful to AVSI for having brought hope to her and her family and for helping them transform and improve their lives. According to her: “Our lives will never be the same and I will always thank AVSI for this”.