Organisation Background
Gaita kukibi Widows and Elderly Network’s (GWEN) formation was initiated on September 17, 1997, by 3 Ugandan widows committed to the cause of widows and older persons as well orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs)  they were living with. It was formed as an umbrella association to unite widows and older persons and to solicit support for them. Gaita Kukibi, in Luganda literally means “joint efforts can overcome hardship.”

Today, the network has a membership of over 500 widows and older persons. It also supports hundreds of orphans whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS and other complications. GWN to date has a membership of 10 groups located in Makindye, Najjanankumbi, Mutungo, Lweza, Kajjansi, Massajja, Gangu, Kibili, Busabala and Kabowa.

Vision of GWEN
A fulfilled, poverty free aging and vulnerable society in Uganda.

Mission of GWEN
To work for the improved quality of life and preservation of dignity of older persons, widows and orphans in Uganda.


Objectives of GWEN

  • To initiate, promote, assist and mobilize economic and social activities aimed at enhancing the welfare of widows, elderly and orphans in Uganda.
  • To provide comfort, counselling services and other assistance to widows, orphans and the elderly.
  • To develop programs and strategies that will build the capacity of grandparents and widows to care for their children in a view of improved nutrition and childcare practices.
  • To act as a forum for the unification of orphans, widows and the elderly and other organizations working in similar activities.

Legal Status

GWEN is an NGO registered with Uganda National NGO Board No. S5914/3554. GWEN is also registered with city council of Kampala, welfare and community services department no. LUB/030 since November 2001 and with Wakiso district with the directorate of community based services no. WCBO/505/06 since August 2006. . In 1998, GWEN registered with Uganda Reach the Aged Association, an umbrella organization for older persons in Uganda to reinforce work with older persons and improve advocacy for them.

Office Location

Najjanankumbi off Entebbe Road along Busabala road.

Location of Activities
Kampala and Wakiso districts.

Case Statement
For over 10 years now, GWEN has been engaged in supporting older persons and widows. Over this period we have learnt a lot of lessons, for instance:

  • Sons and daughters have passed on leaving the care of their children in the hands of their mothers thus grandmothers.
  • Such grandmothers do not have the means to provide for the orphans left behind let alone meet the cost of their medication,
  • Due to increasing poverty, the nutrition levels among older persons and HIV/AIDS infected families are falling hence increased mortality in such families,
  • The grandmothers have hope that they can raise up these orphans relatively decently but they do not have the economic means with which to support these families,
  • The Uganda government has tried to set up programs that have reduced the spread of HIV/AIDS for instance free Anti Retroviral drugs, free voluntary counselling and testing services and continuous awareness campaigns through the media, however there are less interventions to support old caregivers, widows and orphans.
  • When OVCs access education, skills and improved living conditions, their chances of getting employment are increased hence better standards of living for these orphans and their families.  
  • The major issues affecting the OVC and their older care givers include: - lack of food and food insecurity resulting to malnutrition with majority of older people and their families eating only once a day; lack of clean water a situation that increases health risks due to high population and older care givers are unable to afford the basic needs (education for the OVC, food, health care etc) for themselves as well as their families due to lack of a source of income.
  • There are many older persons without relatives yet disabled either due to age, sickness or poverty. There is a need for a place where the most vulnerable can be placed to help them access basic necessities of life.

Activities Undertaken

Period Activity Funding from Amount in US$
1997 Home visits and counselling Local contribution
1998 Home visits and counselling Local contribution
1999 Home visits and counselling Kampala city council
2000 Home visits and counselling Local contribution
2001 Medical treatment and home visits Busabala road clinic
2002 Old clothes distribution, home visits and counselling Community
2003 Heifer project British Isle of man
2004 Provision of basic necessities for the old Kampala City Council
2005 Heifer project Jersey overseas aid
2005 Holding an eye screening/provision of sight lenses Lions Club
2006 Cowshed construction and livelihood support Global fund
2007-08 Vocational training for orphans Jersey overseas aid
2007-08 Construction and rehabilitation of wells Jersey overseas aid
2007-08 Health camps Jersey overseas aid
2007-08 Provision of seeds/equipment for farming, gardening Jersey overseas aid
2007-08 Supporting primary education Jersey overseas aid
2007-08 Child care, support, protection workshops for teachers Jersey overseas aid
2009 Income generating activities URAA


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