Empowering women and girls in Ghana through education, access to healthcare, and economic development.
Poverty is not a women’s problem per se, but it is a problem that disproportionately affects women. Women make up half of the world's population, yet represent 70% of the world's poor. Although women do 65% of the work to support their families, they earn only 10% of the income and own only 1% of the land. Obviously, this has to change.
Research has shown that one of the most effective ways to improve women’s lives is to help them become economically independent. According to the World Bank and the Council on Foreign Relations, when women are able to support themselves, not only do their own lives improve; they typically reinvest 90% of their earnings in their families and communities. They send their children to school, nutrition and health care improve, domestic and sexual violence decrease and life in their communities improves. An increase of $10 in a woman’s income achieves the same improvements in children’s nutrition and health as an increase of $110 in a man’s income.
WomensTrust is committed to women’s economic development. Earlier this year, after much soul-searching, we concluded that our borrowers would be better served by a larger organization with better technology and resources, and transferred our micro-lending business to ID Ghana, a large NGO dedicated to serving the needs of people at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Following the transfer, we met with a large group of local women to ask them what else we could do to best support them in growing their businesses. The women, petty traders, seamstresses, hairdressers, caterers and the like, all of whom work hard to support their families, answered us loud and clear. They wanted to learn how to read and develop basic mathematical skills to facilitate doing business. They also wanted to learn to speak English. We responded by creating an Adult Literacy program, Phase One of which involves teaching the women to read in the local language and Phase Two of which is composed of classes in English and math. These classes have proved very popular and are offered three times a week, each class lasting two hours.
In addition to our educational efforts, WomensTrust is developing programs to foster entrepreneurship by women. Working with our partner, WISE, we are providing grants, loans and investments to women’s businesses otherwise unable to access capital. With your help these programs will continue to grow, helping entire communities.