Joyce Mungherera has provided national leadership for 30 years against daunting odds. Ms. Mungherera is executive director of the YWCA in Uganda, and has recently been elected vice president of the YWCA worldwide.
Under Ms. Mungherera’s dynamic leadership, the YWCA in Uganda has grown into a respected and powerful force for literacy, family planning and improved incomes of rural women. It has 1.5 million paying members and 1,000 staff, making it one of the largest nongovernmental organizations in Africa and the largest YWCA affiliate in the world.
Ms. Mungherera was instrumental in keeping the YWCA alive during the 1970s, when the Idi Amin dictatorship dismantled Uganda’s nongovernmental organizations. After Amin directly threatened her with execution if she did not close down, she went into hiding and tirelessly continued her work underground.
Today, Joyce Mungherera and the YWCA are trusted and respected grassroots advocates. The government of Uganda entrusted the organization to administer Uganda’s first revolving credit scheme for rural women. The experiment was so successful that Ms. Mungherera is now working to establish a rural women’s bank in Uganda.
Nicknamed "General Joyce," Ms. Mungherera played the leading role in building one of the world’s strongest networks for women’s literacy. From mobilizing village women, to representing rural Ugandans at international forums such as the Cairo population conference, Joyce Mungherera is an inspiring example of a strong, incorruptible grassroots leader who is creating a new future for the women of her country.