Through the years, Convoy of Hope has seen firsthand that when women are given the opportunity to generate income, it has such a huge impact that not only their families benefit, they also increase their country’s economic growth. That’s why the organization works to empower women around the world to make strategic, independent life choices through community-based training and non-traditional micro-enterprise development, and why Women Connect4Good is helping them continue their important work.
The situation for women worldwide is dire. According to UN Women the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, “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’.”
UN Women also reports, “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.”
For the past 10 years, Convoy of Hope has worked hard empowering women and girls. Now operating in 10 countries, the organization had 9,043 Women’s Empowerment program participants in 2019, and has trained 19,400 women to date.
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.
Dr. Nancy traveled with Convoy of Hope to Ethiopia to experience firsthand how Convoy helps women and girls. The experience allowed her to interact with the women of Ethiopia, and see how job training and education was helping them gain self-esteem and build self-confidence. “With these tools, and with micro-loans, these women can start their own businesses and give better lives to their children” she said.
Convoy of Hope is doing amazing work, and not only changing the lives of women and children but building strong communities where women’s voices are heard and their contributions matter. They are lifting women up out of poverty and providing tools for supporting their families, their communities and the world. To learn more about Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program, and how you can help them #LiftWomenUp, go to www.convoyofhope.org/we.