WASHINGTON (March 8, 2013) – As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, Friday, March 8, Africare will highlight the achievements of its female beneficiaries in Chad with the release of the Initiative for the Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs (IEEWEP) video.
In 2008, Africare began IEEWEP in Southern Chad to increase women’s income and participation in local business with the support of the ExxonMobil Foundation. To date, IEEWEP has:
- Economically empowered 1,059 women through a graduated business development project that diversified and increased women’s annual income by approximately 70%.
- Built the capacity of 58 women’s associations to plan, organize and sustainably manage businesses, leading to 236 viable microenterprises.
- Taught good governance to microcredit borrowers who now have a 93% repayment rate for loans that average around $105.
“As we celebrate the strides that our female beneficiaries in Chad have made, we must go further,” said Dianne Forte, Africare’s Director of the Office of Agriculture, Food Security, Enterprise and Gender. “We must build their capacity to move from the informal to the formal sector.”
In 2011, the United Nations Development Index ranked Chad as one of the most challenging countries in the world to be a woman, with several factors contributing to this worrisome distinction including a long history of poor child and maternal health, gender inequality and high levels of illiteracy among women.
With continued support from the ExxonMobil Foundation and the UPS Foundations, the second phase of IEEWEP is leveraging phase one’s successes to further women’s economic stability, skill level, productivity and literacy and linkages to markets.
Africare recently partnered with the personal product brand Shea Touch and its parent company Kasny Recon, Inc. to equip IEEWEP women with skills to make them competitive globally.
Ms. Forte said, “It is very exciting that Africare has the breakthrough opportunity to connect these women to an international market for shea butter production, and we are confident that the IEEWEP beneficiaries will seize this opportunity.”