THE COFFEE SHOP!

 

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Did you know that there are secrets to running a successful coffee shop ?  Did you also know that one of those secrets happens to be consistently serving the finest? Now i know that there is no good coffee shop you will visit , that only serves coffee, Most of them add muffins , some cookies , some other hard and soft drinks but it all has got to be the finest.  Customers will walk past ten other competitors to get the best coffee, which is why this secret alone means you don’t need the highly visible, most expensive location, you only need to be consistent with serving the finest of what you offer.  This month, Femme Forte Uganda Under the umbrella of the National women’s week , put together by the Uganda women’s network has decided to bring you the best coffee shop ever registered. Forget the latte, cappuccino, espresso and muffins only coffee houses you have encountered , The Femme Forte coffee shop is serving the finest in the world of Photography by the award winning zahara Abdul, portraiture by the famous Timothy Mwesigwa, Facial art, self care and make up tips by the phenomenal  Cindy Adong  , soothing and healing music by Who’s that band and deep relatable conversations by the amazing Angela Sanyu Okullo and Jeremy Byemanzi.  Imagine that combo !!

I have heard people say that, ‘its never a good day until you have had a great cup of tea/ coffee /juice or listened to that song that jump starts your day”. This will not only jump-start your day, it will set you on a good path for 2019, here is your opportunity to spend time with greatness and to grow.  Femme Forte Uganda  is a young women’s organization that mobilizes and equips young women to become better leaders who shape narratives in their spheres of influence.We exist to strengthen the pathways between young and older women who aspire to meaningfully contribute to the greater women’s movement in Uganda and our mission is to foster effective resilience to Break barriers and reach new heights for women in Uganda. We run learning circle programs where we create safe paces to have conversations that would ordinarily be weird to have. We structure these conversations informally to encourage people to loosen up and share from their hearts, these safe spaces are our Femme forte equip circles.

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On the 24th of October 2018, alongside other activities that will be happening in our coffee shop, we shall have in depth conversations on personal finance management and Relationships at 9:00 am -11:00 am and 2:00 pm -4:00 pm  Respectively in Kagera Hall at Hotel Africana.  The next day will be Thursday 25th October 2018  and we shall host another equip circle in Sezibwa hall, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm , that will address mental health issues, dismantle stereotypes and deal with stigma around mental illnesses. The beautiful Sarah Tushemereirwe twine will  share her story and experience and our expert panel will respond to any queries you may have.

One of the other secrets to operating a successful coffee shop is promoting multiple sales. Coffee may be the prime motivator for customers coming to the shop, but they must leave with multiple sales if you are going to be successful. In that regard , we have put together great music, incredible art (both portraiture and photography) some reading materials from the very best of of our Ugandan Authors  and an expert on self care to help you master your outlook and presentation. You will be spoiled for choice .

Make a date with us,  join us on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th October 2018, at Hotel Africana and lets walk a journey of freedom from the things that easily ensnare us with you. Come lets break barriers and unlock potential. Remember, life is not a dress rehearsal, the curtain is up and you’re on !!! The coffee shop is your space to be refreshed.

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I WANT YOU!

Dear Mr. Right,

I hope you are preparing yourself  to receive all my love for you well. It is not simple love, it is like a tsunami and will swallow you if you are not well prepared to receive it. While we work on the part where you receive my love , here are a few things i would like you to know,  not that its a script i want you to follow, but it would ease your life by helping you love me right.  I want you to accept me and embrace my weird ! Trust me that is not an easy task. i have those days where i forget to take my medicine and its on such days that i need and want you to understand me most.

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I want you to touch me mindlessly while the two of us watch a movie – i  don’t want that ‘Netflix and Chill’ touching, where the movie is clearly just a pretext to do something else. I want  you to drag your fingers lightly along my arm, in my hair, on my hand. I want to know that you want to touch me as a matter of habit, as a reflex that just feels more right than doing nothing at all. Touching should become second nature, not always a means to an end.

I want you to surprise me , but not with some grand gesture you saw in a movie. I don’t need the you lighting a hundred candles in the shape of a heart or a cheesy word, and i  don’t need to be serenaded with soft guitar music. I need something that is romantic to just the two of us, exactly to our definition. Surprise me with a bacon egg and cheese and coffee on a Saturday morning after I’ve been working hard all week. Surprise  me  with a room that’s full of board games, so you can finally see who’s actually better at this winning thing over some tea or orange juice. Pick a movie that you know i love more than anything, even if i have  already seen it a dozen times, and set up a movie night around it. Let me  know that you notice the little things.

I want you to say that you love me, at weird, random moments when no one would expect it. I want your words to feel like a kiss on my forehead in the dark, something i can barely feel but which i absolutely need to feel is there. I want your love to be something fluid and effortless, not built around “big moments” you feel obligated to mark. Sure, there can be special events, but there’s something a thousand times more heart-swoony about hearing a quiet “I love you” when i have my face mask and bathrobe on, when i think i am at my least lovable, when it’s the last thing i expect.

I want you to love me just as much in front of your friends. I want you to kiss my cheek, to joke with me, to be the exact same way around them as i am around you. I never want to feel like the girlfriend who has to be dragged around, like i am an anchor to all of the fun you would otherwise be having. I hear the way other guys can talk about their girlfriends when they’re not around, like their relationship is an obligation. I know it would sound needy to ask, but  i want to know that you are never like that with me.

I want to get a letter from you, to be surprised that you remembered something that i didn’t, to hear the words “I already took care of it.” There is nothing more wonderful than knowing that someone else has already been putting in the thought, that you were on their mind enough to commit it to writing or make real plans. Because that’s the real romance that’s been dying – the romance of being thoughtful, the romance of taking your time and doing things right. I don’t want to be the thing you remember only when it’s late and you don’t want to sleep alone. I don’t want to be the one you come over to ,to pretend to watch a movie with, just so you can spend a few hours in my arms. I want to be the one you plan ahead for, the one you take a few extra minutes to make things special for. I don’t want your money or the things you can buy me, not that they wouldn’t matter, but i want your time. i want your attention. Did i mention i love flowers and i listen to the language of gifts and Physical touch? I want all that and more.

I want your patience, in a world where everyone is going way too fast.

Inspired by Charlotte Greene 🙂

OF ARMORED CARS & SHARP SHOOTERS!

Dear Mr. President,

Following your recent directive to the ministry of finance, planning and economic development to procure armored vehicles and assign sharp shooters for Members of parliament , i am inclined to ask you a couple of questions so i can understand where you are coming from.  see i have been trying to wrap my mind around what could be happening to you and your many Presidential advisers that you would even write such an absurd directive and have thus been pushed to write this letter. You see i do not understand how it is logically possible in your mind that procuring these cars will result into a solution for the security problems Uganda is facing right now.

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For starters, did you stop to think about the financial implication of procuring these vehicles and sharp shooters?  For 456 MP’s, at least 500 million  will be needed to procure each vehicle, totaling up to UGX shs. 228 billion. We haven’t even considered the costs that will be incurred on allowances for drivers, servicing the cars and mileage allowance. My brothers and sisters are already overburdened by the fat allowances for the Members of Parliament , including basic pay, mileage, constituency facilitation, sitting allowances, social security benefits, medical insurance, free i Pads , travel allowances and monthly gratuity payment. All these expenses have been compounded into increased taxation for the Ugandan taxpayer.We are increasingly being over taxed to fund a lavish lifestyle for these Members of parliament who ironically exempted their own allowances from taxation. This, sir, is a continuation of impunity and gratuitous expenditure  that is putting more strain on an already beleaguered economy.

Forty and more women have been killed in the recent past and the MP’s you so seek to protect never raised their voice to condemn the brutal killings because they simply don’t care.  Par-adventure if we had  given armored vehicles and sharp shooters to these innocent women, they would still live. But no, they were left to suffer at the hands of iron bar hit men, panga-wielding squads and armed robbers  and lately stalkers!

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It is absurd that you continue to undermine and inhibit institutional growth because the President should have no business poking his nose in the responsibilities of the parliamentary commission which is supposed to determine what Members of Parliament are entitled to. The nature of such implausible directives continuously undermines and weakens institutions, but you already knew that.

How does anyone in their right mind seek to protect 1% of the population neglecting the 99%  and call that a holistic approach to growth? What would happen if you invested in a professional and competent police force to protect all Ugandans other than the already privileged MP’s at the expense of the Ugandan Tax payer? How about if we channeled all this money to service delivery in social sectors like health, education and agriculture? I guess these are not your priorities at the moment since we seem to be having a lot of money to waste on luxurious lifestyles rather than improve livelihoods for our citizenry, so how do you sleep at night , if i may ask?

And the MP’s fr whom this proposal is being pushed, why not reject and rescind this discriminatory directive if we are truly  for the people, by the people, of the people? Why are we silent in the face of injustice?  How is getting you these vehicles going to translate into security for that woman selling tomatoes in Nakawa market?

We are already suffering with the useless lead cars that disrupt traffic every now and again and now you want to bring armored vehicles, that will make our already narrow roads more congested.  and Mr. President, thank you very much for expressing the state of fear in your circles. If you were not so afraid of the Citizens, you wouldn’t be making such irrational directives to protect both yourself and these Members of parliament from those you swore to protect.  I hope that you will rethink your directive and use your paid advisers to do their job before you make a fool of yourself again on national television over another national error!

EQUIP CIRCLES !

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to hold serious meetings in informal spaces? what would that look like? Would they be effective or would people be too relaxed to think? Do you ever wish you were in a space that didn’t scream deadlines and pressure yet, so serious it got your mind spiraling with ideas? I love such spaces!  I am a very visual human, i love to sing , draw my ideas or even create a story around them so they don’t come off with as much intensity as i envision them, most times they are too big and scary. I love breaking things down, and helping others be on the same page with me. I, in fact miss my elementary and Sunday school Days, where we sang literally every thing and life was so sweet, no wonder we still remember most things we learned then. So,  while we were dreaming for Femme Forte, We dreamed about such spaces and we baptized them Equip circles. These are learning spaces committed to conversations with the future.

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Femme forte is a movement building entity that is mobilizing and equipping women to become better leaders who change the story towards an equitable society. We are seeking to build effective resilience to break barriers and reach new heights for women in Uganda. Our core areas of work involve mobilizing women, equipping them, Sharing (hearing and telling ) their story and Celebrating them. We love Women and believe in their advancement in the social, economic, political and  spiritual spheres and we practice Integrity, sisterhood , Accountability, Feminist leadership and Equity.

We are at a turning point for women , where advances in women’s rights are at threat from rising fundamentalism’s, financial crises, political turmoil and back lash against feminism. Very important gains have been made in many frameworks , policies and laws that protect the rights of women, yet, the power dynamics that drive inequality between men and women remain in force at all levels.  We, therefore envision a balanced society that provides equal opportunity to both men and women. So, how do you get young women to have honest conversations in a safe space that is not another boardroom meeting? How do you build trust away from the commonly abused “mentorship word ” How do you link the older generations of women to the younger women to share and learn, and grow?  It starts with conversations in safe spaces like the Equip circles.

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Femme Forte exists to strengthen pathways between young and older women who aspire to meaningfully contribute to the greater women’s movement in Uganda and the world. It has often been said that, “be careful what inner circle you choose, they are either adding value to you or reducing it” and because of this, some of us have become crippled by fear to engage and network in a bid to safe guard our space and not get hurt. Fear is a lie! Break away from it and be a river that flows into other peoples lives to add value to them. Our Equip Circles are learning spaces where we can overcome our fears and differences by bringing in innovations to support women in their various areas of leadership, be it at home, in the market place or even as they lead themselves. They are designed towards catering for the different women issues and needs which aren’t satisfied by the traditional formal learning spaces (i.e. library spaces, book clubs , board rooms etc)

These Equip Circles provide the type of space that women can drop in and use to discuss ideas, exchange knowledge, sharpen skills ,build on ideas , listen to one another, celebrate and mourn together or even just feel safe. They are a more relaxed environment, typically with soft furnishings. The concept behind the Circles is the learning environment created by these spaces which is very much focused on providing a learning and growing safe circle. Rather than creating formal learning spaces in our boardrooms and offices, our women are free to talk and are often permitted to eat and drink within these Equip Circles to enable them enough comfort to share and deal with real issues affecting their livelihood without shame or fear.

At the Equip circles, we learn, have fun, share good food , recognize and celebrate people’s contributions as  often as possible. Laughter renews the human spirit, sharing food creates fellowship and recognizing people’s contributions and sharing credit generosity builds confidence and strengthens long term partnerships which foster candid conversations that enable growth.

IMG_1088[1]We invite you to join us, as we build this movement of women who support fellow women by pushing ourselves to new heights. Our hope at the end of the day, is that we will have told our stories , sparked change and built a movement of fearless women around Uganda who change the stories in their communities by each one equipping and supporting another woman. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter  @ FemmeForteUg , or subscribe @www.femmeforteug.org.  Let us Mobilize and equip women for an equitable society !!!

RAISE YOUR VOICE

I haven’t written in a long time. My guess is as good as yours, been swamped but , i have a mountain of stories to share………i have missed you all so much. Where to begin? So in March 2018,  i visited Trump land and met this amazing gentleman named Brian Sooy. He authored the book “raise your voice” and champions the #CauseManifesto campaign. He said so many things but i was super dazzled  at his beautiful brain as he shared about mission driven design and purpose driven communications, that i had to contact him after the meeting to have a one on one.

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Please note that i had read “Live your brand” by Ariho Kamara and i thought i had arrived until i was asked, “When people ask you to describe the organization for which you work, what words do you use to describe it? I’m not referring to your position statement or pitch (a brief statement that declares why your organization is the only one that serves people for a specific purpose and outcome)?”  As i carefully thought about my response, he went on ……………..

” When we say, “everybody brands,” — I’m not referring to the frantic activity around logos, color palettes, or the visual expression of an organization – I’m referring to what any individual thinks about your organization when they interact with its people, service, product, or customer experience”  Eh !!!  It was like a blow that sent my mind on a thinking spiral about my dreams and how i wanted them branded and communicated excellently well.

See late last year i birthed a baby in the shape of an organisation. And we have recently concluded our strategic planning process, so we have been battling with how to communicate the brilliant things we are seeking to do and are already doing until it hit me! I had scribbled some notes from that meeting with Brian Sooy that may not just re route the direction of our baby Femme Forte but also add value to your life. It has often been said that ” don’t raise your voice , improve your argument”,  I am here to say, Raise your voice with dope arguments. Imagine what it would be like to strategically raise your voice and design your work with purpose and communicate it with clarity!

Long and short, i bought the man’s book and have thus managed to share a portion of what he says. If you look keenly, you will find wisdom in these summarized lines that will help you communicate better as you embrace your mission, tell your story , spark change and create a movement:

  • BE STRATEGIC: Create and follow a road map that aligns your communication with the goals of your strategic plan.
  • BE FOCUSED : Focus your communication on one cause, one mission, and one purpose and share your purpose with one voice.
  • BE MEANINGFUL: Ensure your values and actions align with the reasons that motivate your followers and stakeholders to believe in your cause.
  • BE INSIGHTFUL: Embrace  data as a means of sharing greater insight into the outcomes of your mission and understanding of your cause.
  • BE INSPIRING: Speak to the mind and appeal to the heart with stories of how your cause inspires you and your advocates to action
  • BE ENGAGING : As in a conversation, listen as often as you speak in order to hear what the community and your stakeholders expect of you.
  • BE SOCIAL : Be an ambassador for your cause, and recognize that every interaction is an opportunity to build relationships.
  • BE GRATEFUL: Remember that your supporter’s gifts are meaningful , and their generosity makes a difference.
  • BE TRUSTWORTHY: Seek accountability and transparency, speaking and acting in a manner consistent with your values , character and culture
  • BE POSITIVE : Choose your words well, for they will motivate people to follow, donate , advocate and believe in your cause.
  • BE POWERFUL: Believe your cause is meaningful, and act in the belief that it has the power to change the world.
  • BE COURAGEOUS: Dream big dreams and have the courage to change and adapt in order to make your vision a reality.

I know right, how cool is this?  So tell me, after all that you have read, how would you describe your organisation? I’m referring to the personality of your organization—the human qualities and attributes that embody the purpose, character, and culture of your organization.  I could go on and on but i am still in the kitchen cooking up the best way to communicate what Femme Forte is up to. For now,  Femme Forte is building a movement!! ” We are mobilizing and equipping  women to become better leaders who change the story towards an equitable society!”

Just buy the book . I shall be back!!!!!

THE LOVES OF MY LIFE.

Rawjer has a way with words! He says the cutest , nicest things in life. He will sweep you off your feet every time he opens his mouth, but even before he does, you will be slain at how Faaaaayyyyynnnnneeeee he is! He is Loyal. One would think he is the mayor of this and many other cities, he practically knows millions of people. I can not begin to describe his heart. It is soooooooo huge and he is so generous with everything he is and does.  I call him a friend charmer because he casts spells on everyone he meets with his awesomeness. You will introduce him to your friends and before you know it, they will be calling him and taking him out and just like that, you will take the back seat while he is chilling on the passenger side.  He is the life of every party and his dreams are so big they scare me. He is an intense fashionista with a ballistically  amazing sense of style.  He is selfless and is not shy to show me he loves me. He is my baby brother!

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Pesh is my stunning muzungu sister. She wanted to have dimples so bad, she would wake up and touch our mother’s cheeks everyday and press her own hoping they would just arrive. She is super classy and adorable . You know those people who are always on fleek ,this girl  it !! She is always on top of dope trends. The true definition of neat and sassy.  She will have your back always and will not desist from giving fashion advice to improve someone’s style. She is brilliant and her advice saves me a lot of trouble.  she isn’t the lovey-dovey type but when she loves, its real. This gorgeous pearl  is our “nkwanzi emwe”

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Rhona, is beautiful and extremely intelligent. Always thinking out of the box and will do whatever it takes to win. She is stylish and daring, hardworking and dependable, she will go the extra mile for you. She inherited our mother’s nice legs and grandma’s adorable eyes, and that is a big plus. She loves community, and is very dedicated to transforming the lives of the people around her. Her Creativity is out of this world and her imagination wanders  to places only she can narrate. Don’t let her free spirit fool you, cross anyone she cares about and she will unleash the dragon!

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So Valentines day is upon us and even though it lands on ash Wednesday this particular year, people are already making plans for a Pre- day do. Many people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day by showing appreciation for the people they love or adore. Some people take their loved ones for a romantic dinner at a restaurant while others may choose this day to propose or get married. Many people give greeting cards, chocolates, jewelry or flowers ,particularly roses, to their partners or admirers on Valentine’s Day.

It is also a time to appreciate friends in some social circles and cultures. For example, Valentine’s Day in Finland refers to “Friend’s day”, which is more about remembering all friends rather than focusing solely on romance. Valentine’s Day in Guatemala is known as Day of Love and Friendship). It is similar to Valentine’s Day customs and traditions countries such as the United States but it is also a time for many to show their appreciation for their friends.

This month i will be appreciating and celebrating the people who make my life tick! They are the loves of my life and in no particular order they all bring sanity to my world. They make me happy! I appreciate you my people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How commercialization of politics affects women’s participation — fasifas!

In central Uganda, there is a saying that goes: “atalina sente tafumita lizindazi”, which literally implies a person without money cannot pierce (eat) bread. Yes, in Uganda today, it’s increasingly becoming clear that only those with a lot of money stand a better chance to get elected into (pierce?) political offices. Money is playing a […]

via How commercialization of politics affects women’s participation — fasifas!