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About Femrite

FEMRITE – Uganda Women Writers Association, which was established in 1995, is a non-partisan organisation that continues to be dynamic despite the challenging times! The creative name; FEMRITE, was coined by Dr Monica Chibita, a mass Communication expert.  FEM stands for the gender identity while RITE stands for professional identity. Dr Chibita was in the year 2000 given honorary membership for her contribution of coining the name that has become a household name in literary circles in Uganda, Africa and beyond.

The Beginnings

FEMRITE was founded by Hon. Mary Karooro Okurut in 1995. The inaugural meetings that gave birth to FEMRITE started in 1994 in Mary’s Office, which she shared with Mwalimu Austin Bukenya at Makerere University. At the time, she was a lecturer in the Literature Department. The meetings were attended by women who she invited from the writing public and her students at university. They included Ayeta Anne Wangusa, Hilda J. Twongyeirwe, Rosemary Kyarimpa, Hope Keshubi, Dr Susan N. Kiguli, Martha Ngabirano, Margaret Ntakalimaze, Lillian Tindyebwa, Philomena Rwabukuku and Judith Kakonge (rip). The women were very excited by Karooro’s proposals and more meetings were held to brainstorm. By the beginning of 1996, participation in meetings had expanded. Goretti Kyomuhendo, one of Uganda’s literary icons also joined and she became the first Coordinator of the newly established organization. She worked with Violet Barungi; the first Editor, Florence Nagenda; the first marketer and Berna Kiconco and Mildred Kiconco; the first volunteers. The team did a tremendous job at professionalising the organisation.

On 3rd May 1996, FEMRITE was officially launched at an event that was presided over by Prof Kathleen Kendal, an editor and Writer from South Africa and Ms. Juddy Batterman, the then Director of American Centre. The theme of the Launch events was; Women and the Word: Empowerment through the Quill. The launch attracted several press men and women. Several literary personalities also attended. Notable among them were; Rose Mbowa, Kasalina Matovu, Prof Timothy Wangusa, Okello Ogwang, Alex Bangirana and many others.

In 1997, FEMRITE relocated to Plot 18 Shimon Road, where she acquired her first office with seed funding from the Humanistic Institute for Social Development (HIVOS). Winnie Munyarugyerero, another of the early FEMRITE members donated the first straw mat that FEMRITE members sat on during meetings at Plot 18. The office did not have enough furniture. The organization later relocated to Kira Road plot 147 in Kamwokya, Kampala, which was, at first, a shared office with Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET). A lot was share beyond the physical space until UWONET grew and relocated to a bigger office in Ntinda.

But who is Mary Karooro Okurut, the Founder of FEMRITE?

In brief,

  • Karooro is fondly called Mother-Hen by the FEMRITE fraternity.
  • She is an established novelist, short story writer and newspaper Columnist. Her works include Novels: The Invisible Weevil, Child of a Delegate, Potiphar’s Granddaughter, The Official Wife and The Switch.
  • She is a short story writer (Milking a lioness and other stories plus other stories in different anthologies.)
  • She is a Playwright (The Curse of a Sacred Cow).
  • In 2007, Hon. Okurut received an Award from the National Book Trust of Uganda for her exemplary contribution towards building a Reading Culture in Uganda.
  • In 2001, she was voted Woman Writer of the year.
  • In 2019, she was awarded Founders Recognition Award by Girls Flourish – Uganda, for founding FEMRITE, as an association that has positively impacted on thousands of women and enabled them change their circumstances.
  • She worked as a Cabinet Minister for Gender Labour and Social Development, worked as cabinet minister in charge of General Duties in the office of the prime minister.


  • Formative meetings 1994 – 1995
  • Registration by NGO Board 16th February 1996
  • Official Launch 03rd May 1996
  • Incorporation by the Uganda Registration Service Bureau 23rd June 1997

Past and Present Implementing Partners

  • Abantu
  • Alliance Francaise
  • Africalia
  • African Women Development Fund
  • Artventure / ArtAction Foundation
  • American Centre
  • Art Moves Africa
  • Austrian Development Corporation
  • Med Biotech Laboratory
  • Caine Prize for African Writing
  • Commonwealth Foundation
  • Danish Centre for Culture and Development CKU (Now defunct)
  • East African Book Development Association (SIDA)
  • Embassy of Ireland
  • Ethiopian Airline
  • Ford Foundation
  • Fountain Publishers
  • Germany Embassy
  • Germany Foreign Affairs Ministry (Invitations Programme Frankfurt Bookfair)
  • Global Fund for Women
  • Goethe Zentrum – South Africa
  • Goethe Zentrum – Kampala
  • Humanistic Institute for development – HIVOS
  • Integrated Radio Information Network
  • International Writers Festival United Kingdom
  • Irish Aid
  • Karavan Magazine – Sweden
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Madivan Group of Companies
  • Mama Cash
  • Miles Morland
  • Novib Publishing Unit
  • Stitchting DOEN Foundation
  • Soroptimists
  • Swedish Institute (SI)
  • Swedish Arts Council
  • Tallow Oil
  • The Aga Khan Foundation
  • The British Council
  • The French Embassy
  • The Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development
  • The National Book Trust of Uganda
  • The Prince Claus Fund
  • The Royal Danish Embassy  
  • US Mission to Uganda
  • Royal Netherlands Embassy
  • SNV – Uganda
  • University of Barcelona
  • University of York
  • Writers Centre of Norwich
  • US Mission to Uganda (US Embassy)
  • Women’s World
  • World Bank Individual Friends of FEMRITE

Implementing and supportive Partnerships – Current & Past

  • African Asian Latin America Writers Union
  • Bayimba Cultural Group
  • Child Fund
  • Macmillan Publishing House
  • Makerere University Literature Department
  • Makerere University School of Women and Gender Studies
  • Monitor Publications
  • Sheroes International
  • The Graca Machel Trust  – South Africa
  • The Pan African Writers Association – PAWA
  • UBC TV
  • Uganda Communications Commission
  • Uganda Museum

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