Jamila Mayanja, the founder of Smart Girls Uganda is the winner of the 2023 Leadership Impact Award. She is being recognised for equipping young women with hands-on vocational and practical skills through the ‘Girls with Tools skilling program’.
Mayanja was selected from among hundreds of nominations of alumni who have made a significant impact in their communities upon their return from the program. Her organization innovated a water-proof Solar Smart Bag that includes reusable sanitary pads and a solar panel that charges a light bulb to enable girls to stay safe while walking to school, read at night, and in turn enable young girls to stay in school.
To date, the organization has reached more than 30,000 girls with their signature Solar Smart Bag menstrual kits (including 10,000 who have consequently stayed in school), 300 women with skills-based training in male-dominated career trades like electrical and mechanical engineering, and 50 women with career placement opportunities.