Women’s Empowerment & Social Enterprise

We assist local ministries in establishing and carrying out vocational programs, including job training and support for microenterprises.

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 their chosen vocation.

The women who are selected to receive support are all ultra-poor, meaning they live on $2.15 per day or less. In each country or region where we support women’s empowerment projects, a local project coordinator 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 typically $700 or less. Regardless of what vocation a woman chooses – sewing, livestock raising, weaving, 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, assisting with 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 learned that without the additional help these projects typically fall flat. As soon as a family emergency happens, or school fees come due, or a woman is pregnant, etc., their animal(s), 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 avoid selling their business assets. It also means that the first profits from selling their products can more quickly be saved and/or reinvested, instead of all going to basic necessities like food or medical treatment.

To date, we have made 79 grants to women-led ultra-poor households across 10 regions of three countries: Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar. For those grants where enough time has elapsed to reliably estimate the program’s impact, at least 82% of the women have escaped extreme poverty. We are in the process of expanding our work to include supporting pastors and missionaries with similar grants aimed at facilitating economic self-sufficiency; so far, we have piloted 10 such grants in three countries.

Give directly to Women’s Empowerment & Social Enterprise: