We assist local ministries in establishing vocational programs, including job training and support for micro-enterprises.
Our women’s empowerment program provides one-time investments to equip extremely poor women and their families with the skills, productive assets, and social support necessary to increase their incomes and escape poverty. The responsibility is always in the hands of each woman. They know their needs and talents best. They know what is best for their families. Sometimes that knowledge comes after some trial and error, and they have the flexibility to change what vocation they choose.
The women who are chosen to receive support are all classified as ultra-poor: living below $1.90 a day. In each country with these programs, a coordinator for the projects helps the women as issues arise, so they never have to walk alone. The total cost of any of our women’s empowerment projects are $600 or less. Regardless of what vocation a woman chooses – weaving, pig raising, cooking, etc. – we pair the business item and training with additional funds to help with whatever a woman’s most urgent needs are. For example, covering their children’s school fees for several months, helping with medical bills, helping with house rent for part of the year, etc.
One of the reasons we provide these additional funds is that we, and other organizations and experts, have found that without the additional help these projects typically fall flat very quickly. As soon as a family emergency happens, or school fees come due, or a woman is pregnant, etc.. the pig, cooking supplies, weaving loom, etc. will often be sold for desperately needed cash if they haven’t already begun to earn a profit from their work. By providing for these additional needs, the women can use those funds instead of selling their business assets. It also means that the first profits from selling their products can more quickly be saved, instead of all going to basic necessities like food or medical treatment.
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