Bitten Schei – WOMAN of ACTION™

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A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life of this Norwegian woman leader, one that is being celebrated for devoting her life to the betterment of all women and girls, with a special focus inside Uganda.

“Rural women in Uganda are always the majority of the population and they are the main contributors to the economic growth of the country. However, the cultural practices and oppressions hinder them from taking part in the development of their country, receiving higher education, getting involved in the country important decision making and personal growth”.

 
 
 

WOMAN of ACTION™

 
 
bitten profile

 

Bitten Schei

 
 

Bitten Schei (born 1950 in Bergen) is an innovator and social entrepreneur in her business Mother Courage. Founded in 1990. Is educated at Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Master design and Master teaching education in arts & crafts at Telemark University College, where she worked 6 years as Assistant professor in art and design.

Local initiatives

She started Notodden Blues Festival in 1988, and has been engaged in the local community with a lot of grassroot initiatives. She established a Regional Gallery of Art. She also has created a lot of art projects and TV programs in cross – connection between art and industry.

At the moment she has started a grass root initiative «Celebrating the Future» in connection with Notodden is celebrating its 100th Birthday this year. Notodden was the criddle of the industrial company Hydro, and thus its a great story from the Industrial revolution that has transformed many parts of the world from poverty to modern societies. The journey began in 1903, when two Norwegians, entrepreneur Sam Eyde and professor and inventor Kristian Birkeland, created a method for using electricity to capture nitrogen from the atmosphere.

This story about an electrical cannon that changed the world, we want young people in our community to promote it in a new design, and on international communication platforms with their own words and activities.

Celebrating the Future is more than an event.

bitten celebrating the futureIts the kick off for an “open collaborative project” that will include many local youth initiatives all over the world.

The event “Celebrating the Future” was organized by Partnership for Change in co-operation with Living Bridges Planet and Mother Courage.

It took place in Oslo August 5th 2013 and was a great success. We had more than 50 attendees showing up and more than 200 people viewing our live stream from all over the world.

Focus on entrepreneurship and empowerment skills

Outside the boxBitten Schei has been working with women and entrepreneurship for more than 20 years, in Norway, Russia ( Moscow and Murmansk ), China and Uganda.

Mother Courage expertise is in the field of building innovative meeting places and creative Think Tanks with ministers, politicians, departments, entrepreneurs, civil society and investors in changing their politics and frameworks for women entrepreneurs.

She has arranged a lot of breakfast meetings, workshops and round table conferences in the Parliament/The Storting/Embassy. Both in Norway, Russia and China. Due to this work, the Norwegian government launched a National Plan for Women Entrepreneurship.

Fighting poverty and social exclusion

For the last 7 years Bitten Schei has worked in a program called Small is Great between Norway and Uganda. Small is Great major objective is to empower grassroot women in economic development and decision making, and have a strong and loud voice. Women`s economical empowerment leads to social and political empowerment. It is a network between Norway and Uganda that works to help to self help.

It’s purpose is to fight rural poverty in Uganda by working to help women create their own small-scale businesses.

When communities become affected by the economic crisis and recession, it is girls who are the biggest losers.

Supporting Vulnerable Girls Is A Joint Responsibility

Why the girl child?

bitten girls schoolIt is the youth who are the future. Getting an education is for the few. If Africa is going to get out of poverty, we need to give girls a chance. Girls in families with many children set back in the queue. They stay home and do domestic work, digging in the earth and look after their siblings.

Too few complete primary school.

They are in early marriage, get many children and are going into a permanent struggle with poverty, child births, hard work and often violent husbands. They die early. Thus they maintain the cycle of poverty for generations from mother to daughter.

Women are the mothers of the nation but little attention has been focused on the girl child. We must appreciate that nurturing and guiding young people is laying the foundation for a happier and better future for the country. Thus there is need to guide young girls and mothers in order to positively prepare them for their future roles in society as a means of back stopping the currently problems that women are facing in our societies.

When there is lack of guidance for girls they may end uploosing interest in their careers and preferring early pregnancies and marriages exposing them to the risk of HIV.

When girls are not guided they have to rely on their own initiative and whatever they learn from their friends and school mates they therefore undergo a great deal of emotional stress and strain caused by a variety of reasons.

In order to ensure that girls in school and out of school and young mothers are not diverted from pursuing their goals there is need to train them in the following areas:

• life skills
• human rights awareness among women and girls
• sexual reproductive health
• self reliance and economic empowerment

bitten girls school 2Traditionally girls have been brought up to believe that they are inferior to boys this was brought about by the traditional belief that women are inferior to men as a result female education has lagged behind that of male ,this situation has contributed to the fact that their are fewer women in key positions of responsibility and of high social status.

There is a need to create awareness for girls to realise their potentials they need to be helped to make informed decisions.
Target age group (15-25 years)

Action taken so far
A base line survey an inception meeting was carried out in Masuulita together with the group leaders and the outcome yielded positive results parents showed concerning the matter at hand and promised to avail us with the material and moral support they can afford.

Findings
Many of these young girls live in the poorest communities and the HIV/AIDS epidemic is pushing them into deeper poverty.

Some of the situations that make young girls vulnerable are:
– Poverty and lack of essential needs
-Early marriages leading to early child birth and dependency
-Orphans without key persons responsible for their developments
-Violence against women and girls which encompasses physical and psychological violence occurring in the family including sexual abuse of female children in households

Planned activities

• To involve the group members, parents and the young people in programme planning , implementation and evaluation.
• To do out reaches to target the different categories of young girls this will be done with the help of group members and community local leaders in public places
• To use local radio programmes if funds are available this can effectively work to mobilize both parental support for sexual reproductive health services and spreading the gospel about the trainings to young girls, If in the local language then it will pull more of the out of school and more so the females
• To make use of the existing youth groups in the communities tell them of our existence and do out reaches to these groups.

Challenges

• Limited resources , lack of both human and material resources can hamper the progress of the approach making it impossible to access
• Youth in remote areas in and out of school.
• The willingness of the youth to be involved in issues that affect them versus limited resources .
• Hostile environment to the provision of sexual reproductive health information and services to young people.
• Inadquate involvement of parents in promoting youth services. Conflicting social and cultural values of adolescents and adults resulting from different life orientation.

Expected out come
By the end of the trainings; Participants will be able to establish their own small businesses to sustain them selves and to make well informed decisions for their lives.

bitten sisters“Through working with Bitten Schei it opened my eyes and expanded my understanding that for the existence of KERWDA there is need for sustainability, and empowered me to put more efforts in the business center of tailoring. This has been a strong base for revenue generation that caters for the administrative costs. It has also been a source of knowledge for the women members to train in tailoring and netting.

Working with Bitten Schei as my partner and Mentor has made me a strong woman who has to stand out with a loud voice in all circumstance, especially in a place like Africa, where women are viewed in a magnifying glass well as men are viewed in an ordinal one. I have been empowered by my Mentor through her positive criticism, ideas, lectures, remarks and the physical support to achieve my goals.” Joan Sitenda

Norwegian support

Through our partners from Norway, we have been supported in Norwegians by giving the women cows, pigs and chickens to starting farming within their homes.

With this project the story is endless that we shall live to tell even to our grand children, because most of the women had never dreamt of owning animals, but now they rear pigs which they sell when ever they have a financial urgency. Through Bitten Schei’s network, the women have also received cows which produce milk for sell and also supplementing their children’s diet which is very important as far as milk in Uganda is very expensive.

Women groups with almost 4.500 women have been involved. Norwegian funding is done by crowd funding.

Books

The author of the book named “Dream, Life and Business of Norwegian Women Entrepreneurs” together with professor Olav R. Spilling and Grethe Stave.

The author of the book named “Will to Change – Social Entrepreneurship in Norwegian”, 20 stories from Norwegian social entrepreneurs, investors and philanthropy in 2009. The first book in Norwegian that focus on Norwegian social entrepreneurs. Mother of social entrepreneurship in Norway
Established Network of Social Entrepreneurship in Norway in 2008. With almost 1300 members on Facebook.

bitten small is beautifulHaving arranged many conferences and workhops at the Storting, the University College in Oslo and other places to promote social entrepreneurship. Taking the initiative to create a Pilot in Social Business with 15 participants, an initiative together with 4 other social entrepreneurs in 2011.

Innovator of a plan of action named «Voices from the Grass root – A plan of Action in Social Entrepreneurhip and Innovation » with 100 people in 2012. A contribution to politics development.

Promoting a research of SE in Norway through DAMVAD report from NHD Status the political parties in the Parliament Parliamentary elections in 2013: Of the seven political parties in Parliament has 6 included social entrepreneurship in their task force programs.

Next step
Center of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation will be launched in autumn.

Vision
You can change the world if you have the courage to follow your dreams for the best of the society.

Stortingsvalg 2013. Bitten Schei i Mother Courage startet Nettverk for sosialt entreprenørskap i 2008 på Notodden.Få visste om hva det var.Hun har sammen med andre sosiale entreprenører i Norge stått i spissen for en rekke tiltak for å sette saken på dagsorden i det offentlige rom. bla konferanser på Stortinget som denne, boka “Vilje til endring”, en SE: Pilot i form av et undervisningstilbud, og Handlingsplanen “Stemmer fra grasrota”. Hennes utgangspunkt er internasjonalt arbeid med kvinner og entreprenørskap i 22 år, der de siste 7 årene er fattigdomsbekjempelse i Uganda. Hennes motto: “Er det langt igjen, spurte kjerringa, og så seg tilbake”.

You can Find Bitten Schei Here:

www.mothercourage.no
Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship
+ 47 930 52 850 ( Cell phone )
E -mail: bitten@mothercourage.no
Address: Nordre vestsidaveg 595
3677 Notodden
N – Norway
Org. nbr. 856856992

 
 

 

A Celebration of Women™

welcomes this powerhouse into our global alumni with open arms, looking forward to future collaborations, bettering the lives of all women, especially young women and girls’ education in Uganda.

 
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Brava Bitten!

 

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