Milly Nassolo Kikomeko has been involved at different levels and stations for the last 8 years and today she is the co-founder and director of Maisha Holistic Africa Foundation, one of the NGOs working on gender transformation and empowerment of women.
While she serves as a lawyer at Ssegwanyi, Ssaka and Co. Advocates, a job that puts food on the table, Nassolo says she does it as more out of passion. She refers to her childhood whenever she tries to explain where it all started.
She says, that even as a child, she had the innate talent of being a good counselor and an ability to influence others for good. She recalls that on many occasions at Mpigi Mixed Secondary School and at Mpigi High School, Nassolo’s teacher told her that she would turn out to be a person of influence. The words came to pass, she says.
Also, as in most African societies, Nassolo observed several injustices against women and girls in families and society. She says that on several occasions she was a victim of what she fights against, and that is why she is pushed to fight for other women to ensure that they enjoy equal rights, especially in an era where the fight has been underrated.
“When you look at the domestic sphere, nobody wants to talk about it and yet there is so much injustice and discrimination at the family and community level that penetrating such an area will take us many more years,” says Nassolo.
“Issues on violence in homes, incest, marital rape, widow inheritance, disinheriting widows and orphans in communities are some of the issues that nobody wants to talk about,” she says.
And as society tolerates such injustices as it is socialized to believe that it is the norm, women are most affected.
Her entry into the NGO world started in 2013, after meeting up with her husband who hails from Kagadi District.
“I was taken up by what I love to do best but the testimony of the ability, commitment, and passion for leadership was proven,” she says.
Nassolo says that women’s advocacy is not just about talking but also addressing issues from a factual point of view. This requires a lot of research. She says, in contrast to the popular view, NGO work is hard work that involves selling resourceful issues that affect society to stakeholders.
Nassolo says her work today is in line with her desire to prove that a woman can do whatever a man can do and even better. It started at an early age and was associated mainly with boys.
“I am very competitive and I found this character in boys because I always wanted to prove that I can do whatever they did or even better,” she says.
Nassolo is married and her husband Robert Kikomeko Tumusabe has been supportive of the causes she pursues. She says she is not the kind of wife who believes that it’s only men who are supposed to provide for the home, that if two people in a relationship put efforts together, they can not fail to grow.
Regarding her work and passion, Nassolo says many challenges affecting the women’s movement remain.
“We need to connect dots on how policy and governance agenda has an implication on the things that happen to women at a personal level; for instance, issues of forceful land acquisition and the impact on food security.”
Milly Nassolo’s Lite side
Any three things we don’t know about you?
I am a very determined and positive person. At times people look at me as a hard person but I have a very soft heart and I am a very forgiving person; where I sense trouble, I withdraw. I am also a fighter and there’s nothing negative that comes my way to pull me down.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The freedom to make decisions in my life that do not only impact me positively but also those who look up to me for aid, guidance, and inspiration.
What is your greatest fear?
The fear of not being able to help when someone is in dire need of my help in terms of financial aid.
Which living person do you most admire?
I admire Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her fight for rights beyond hers.
What is the greatest thing you have ever done?
I have been able to turn around lives through the organization that I work with and that to me, is the greatest I have done. I can’t underestimate the fact that I have taken the organization to the women at the grassroots level and made them feel as part of it unlike what it was before.
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
The superiority of men; the thinking that men are better than women in all social, economic, and political aspects, and yet we have not given them equal opportunities and platforms is just not fair. Right from birth, the treatment, the language used to both, and what starts at home has a reflection in the public sphere.
What does being powerful mean to you?
As a student of leadership and governance, I understand power as the ability to influence positively.
On what occasion do you lie?
We all lie at a certain point, I must admit I hate lies, however, if I must, it’s to save a life.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
There is nothing more that I can ask God for.
Which living person do you most despise?
Those who oppress and violate the rights of humanity.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Being respectful and confident is very crucial.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Confidence and doing what she believes is right.