The key to economic development lies in unleashing women’s potential and investing in women’s capabilities. Women bear a disproportionate weight of extreme poverty, representing 70% of the world’s poorest. At the same time, it has been widely recognized that women have the potential to be the engine of economic and development progress. Addressing gender inequality and gender justice are crucial in enabling women to transform their lives and the lives of their families and communities.
Women’s roles as the primary caretakers of children, providers of household fuel and water, and in many areas of the world, producers of food, can only begin to illustrate their importance in the economies and societies of developing countries.
“As more cash and assets get into the hands of women, more of these earnings get into the mouths, medicine, and schoolbooks of their children, while at the same time increasing women’s bargaining position and power in the family and community; and their ability to act against violence in the home and in the world. There is no development strategy more beneficial to society as a whole – women and men alike – than the one which involves women as central players.”
Former Secretary-General of the United Nations
Our Work with Women
We’re deeply committed to serving women, who comprise 95% of Trickle Up participants worldwide. Our program is specifically tailored to the needs of women living in extreme poverty, and aims to directly confront the economic and social inequities which make conditions of poverty persistent. By providing livelihoods skills training and risk-free capital, women are able to undertake income-generating activities like agriculture or a small shop. Because many women living in extreme poverty have never had the opportunity to attend school, the Trickle Up skills training program is designed to be highly interactive, using games, “learning conversations” and one-on-one mentoring that not only helps build basic literacy and numeracy skills to strengthen their businesses, but also teaches best practices for sanitation and nutrition, and rights awareness. The end result is not just a better quality of life for women, but also for their families.
Being a woman living at the deepest levels of poverty nearly always means facing intense social isolation. As part of our program, women connect with one another in savings groups to help them begin to build a social support system outside of the household. By coming together in groups, participants are able to pool savings, access low-interest credit to grow their business and livelihood activities, and free themselves from domestic isolation. They also learn leadership skills and gain access to new information and resources.
Women report our program helps increase their self-esteem, decision-making ability, and control over their economic resources. They make decisions on central household issues like buying and selling land, family planning, sending daughters to school, and deciding when children will marry. We work with women to help them become powerful catalysts for change. Women who have traditionally had limited financial independence and low social standing are lifting themselves from poverty and becoming role models for other women and girls in their families and communities.