Every woman deserves to be empowered. To have strength and dignity. To know she is valuable. – Doree Donaldson, Vice President – Convoy:Women
Every morning, Matilda opens her shop in Tanzania, and confidently looks forward to a successful day of business. But things haven’t always been easy for Matilda and her son, Junior. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that the two of them were going to sleep hungry. That all changed when Convoy of Hope started a feeding program at Junior’s school and enrolled Matilda into the Women’s Empowerment program.
“The Women’s Empowerment program taught me how to run a business,” Matilda said. “When I think about the hardships I’ve been through, I don’t want to see anyone else cry about their life. Because of the way Convoy empowered me, I was able to help another woman in need.”
Matilda’s story is one of many. Offering hope for every woman, in just 10 years Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program has reached and empowered 19,400 women and girls in 10 countries, with 9,043 impacted in 2019 alone! Through each participant’s success stories, supporters of the program are witnessing firsthand how together, we can change the world.
Empowering Women and Girls
A report by UN Women shows how drastically this help is needed:
The majority of the 1.5 billion people living on 1 dollar a day or less are women. In addition, the gap between women and men caught in the cycle of poverty has continued to widen in the past decade, a phenomenon commonly referred to as ’the feminization of poverty’. Women living in poverty are often denied access to critical resources such as credit, land and inheritance. Their labour goes unrewarded and unrecognized. Their health care and nutritional needs are not given priority, they lack sufficient access to education and support services, and their participation in decision-making at home and in the community are minimal. Caught in the cycle of poverty, women lack access to resources and services to change their situation.
The Women’s Empowerment program realizes that when we help a woman, we help their families, and that communities of women reinvest up to 90% of their earnings back into their households and apply it toward nutrition, food, healthcare, school, and income-generating activities. This helps break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
To empower women and girls, the Women’s Empowerment program takes a three-pronged approach. Convoy’s Economic Empowerment program equips women with financial education, vocational training, cooperative saving groups, and even start-up capital. After receiving training and the distribution of capital for small business start-ups, women participate in income-generating activities as they launch their own small business. Those activities are coupled with self-esteem building activities and education in basic literacy and numeracy, family health and nutrition, family planning, and the prevention of communicable disease.
The Family Health Empowerment program provides women with educational sessions where they are trained in nutrition, health and hygiene, literacy, small-scale community agriculture, and craftsmanship/cooking. Participants who display consistent attendance receive a month’s worth of food to help supplement their diet at home. This provides additional incentive for women to come and learn, and helps Convoy address the nutritional deficiencies of children who are not enrolled in school. Caretakers, especially those who are pregnant, are provided with vitamins for both themselves and their children.
Convoy’s Girls’ Empowerment program rounds out their offerings for women and girls and brings educational programs to schools and communities. Sessions include contextually appropriate topics such as self-esteem, gender-based violence, and harmful cultural beliefs and practices.
“Convoy of Hope equips women with financial education, vocational training, cooperative saving groups and even start-up capital. Women can then participate in income generating activities as they launch their own small businesses,” Dr. Nancy said. “With these tools, and with micro-loans, these women can start their own businesses and give better lives to their children.”
Convoy of Hope is changing the lives of women and children, lifting women up out of poverty and providing them the tools they need to support their families, their communities and the world. To learn more about Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program, and how you can join Convoy:Women and help them #LiftWomenUp, go to www.convoyofhope.org/we.