Photo: Jake Lyell
Many African families rely on women to care for them and to provide basic necessities for survival. As African women receive education and are recognized with a higher legal status, they provide their households with superior nutrition, stronger food security and increased access to health care. Despite the crucial investments women make in their families and the contributions they make to their communities, Sub-Saharan women constitute only 15% of the region’s landholders, and they face disproportionate challenges ranging from sexual exploitation to illiteracy and disease. Regrettably, women suffer silently in the background. But Africare knows the important role women play in reviving economies, and it knows women can be leaders. Africare is collaborating with its partners and with African communities to provide leadership opportunities that encourage women to participate in stakeholder committees through highly ranking leadership coaching, literacy training, business training, organizational mobilization and market access, enabling women entrepreneurs to sell their goods in the global community.
Empowering New Businesswomen in Chad:
In 2008, Africare began the Initiative for the Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs Project (IEEWEP) with funding by ExxonMobil. The goal of the project was to increase women’s income and participation in local business in Southern Chad. In a society that relies heavily on agriculture, IEEWEP streamlined the way women farmed and took their goods to market by training them on better agricultural practices and opening two new agro-processing centers. In the past three years, more than 1,000 women have worked through a graduated business development project, which has diversified their income sources and increased their annual income by approximately 70%.
Africare developed a vocational training center in the city of Doba to offer basic training in literacy, numeracy and business management skills. The training center also serves as a central location for administering and monitoring the development of project supervisors (trainers). By the end of the project, Africare will fully equip the center with appropriate low-maintenance tools to facilitate hands-on training and activities.
In a place once considered to be among the toughest in the world to be a woman, Africare’s partnership with ExxonMobil has empowered women by providing them with opportunities for personal development, access to microfinancing and leadership training. IEEWEP is evidence that a commitment to empowering women and giving them the tools to succeed can produce concrete, measurable and sustainable results.
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