Meet Catherine: Our Senior Program Manager in Uganda!

At 100WEEKS, our mission is to empower women and transform communities through direct cash transfers and ongoing support. Today, we shine a spotlight on an essential member of our team, whose dedication and passion drive our mission forward in Uganda.

Can you tell us who you are, where you live, and what your role is within 100WEEKS?

I live in the countryside in an estate called Gayaza, Wakiso District, which borders Kampala. This is where I constructed my house. I am the Senior Program Manager for 100WEEKS Uganda, and I am in charge of program implementation from inception until the 100WEEKS program concludes with the beneficiaries. My role involves liaising with local partners, organizing village selection, coaching beneficiaries, onboarding participants into the program, conducting monthly coaches training, performing baseline and endline assessments, reporting to donors, inputting data, and communicating with the marketing and communication team.

What inspired you to start working for 100WEEKS?

The 100WEEKS program aligns perfectly with my studies in Gender and Development at the University. Before joining 100WEEKS, I worked as a research consultant. Although we collected data from participants, the purpose was often to inform larger institutions and create high-level policies that did not directly benefit the grassroots participants. This lack of direct impact did not sit well with me. However, 100WEEKS is different. The unconditional direct cash transfers and the live dashboard showing the impact on beneficiaries inspired me. The aid goes directly to women, who are the caregivers of the home, without any bureaucracy or delays. It is a simple, direct grant, not a loan, which makes a real difference.

What does a working day in your life look like?

Each day is busy for me, with new demands constantly arising that require my input. Despite the hectic schedule, it is never tiring because I am serving the vulnerable poor. With the structures in place, such as coordinators, coaches on the ground, enumerators, the country director, and the head office team and partners, I can execute the program efficiently and in a timely manner. The program is growing daily, and I manage to stay on top of it all thanks to these structures and the flexibility in decision-making, which allows us to adapt creatively to new challenges.

What do you like the most about your job?

I love seeing the transformation of women from struggling to thriving. When we first meet beneficiaries, they are often stressed about meeting their basic needs. By the end of the program, 80% of the beneficiaries are less worried, stress-free, and ready to sustain themselves. They apply the knowledge from our training, develop saving habits, and the community takes pride in the visible impact. The program genuinely changes the mindset of the beneficiaries, bringing tangible improvements to their lives.

How does 100WEEKS work together with local partners and stakeholders in Uganda to make sustainable improvements in the lives of people in poverty? Can you give some examples from Uganda?

Our local partners are crucial in easing our entry into new areas. They help select community coaches and coordinators, making it easier to start a program in a new area. Known for their good reputation, they assist in the participant selection process, ensuring we choose the right beneficiaries. We also work closely with local council authorities who guide us during village visits in the preselection process. They play an instrumental role in identifying the most vulnerable families and facilitating seamless integration into the program.

Through these collaborative efforts, we ensure that our programs are sustainable and that they make a real, lasting difference in the lives of people living in poverty.