Connect with us

Opinion

Women’s economic empowerment: an urgent need for African women and children

Published

on

empowerment

Every year on March 8, the world devotes one day to women, to praise their accomplishments, to draw attention to the challenges they face and to advocate for their equality in a world in which the scales are still tipped – in many respects – in favour of men. When it comes to African women, the equality gap is often more pronounced than in other parts of the world.

Although some African nations, such as Rwanda, Namibia and South Africa rank among the top 20 for gender equality, two thirds of sub-Saharan African countries fall in the bottom half of the global list, according to the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report (a total of 30 African countries were evaluated for the report). The 2017 Global Gender Gap report states that if countries in sub-Saharan Africa continue to work towards gender equality at current rates, it will take 102 years to close the remaining gaps in women equality.

One of the areas in which African women’s equality is lagging is economic participation and opportunity. At Reach for Change, we are very concerned by this issue because we understand not only the importance of women’s economic empowerment as essential to bridging the gender gap in Africa, we also know that when women are disadvantaged economically, their children also suffer.

The good news is that when mothers are empowered economically, their children experience positive outcomes in their quality of life, such as health and education, and their risk of exploitation decreases substantially. We envision a world where all children’s needs are met, and we believe that in Africa in particular, a crucial step toward realizing this vision involves supporting social ventures that foster economic advancement for women.

Change Leaders empowering African women

Cecilia Fiaka is a social entrepreneur who works with vulnerable Ghanaian youth. Her organization Nneka Youth Foundation runs a program for teenage mothers and young women who are not in school for other reasons to help them acquire vocational and business development skills. The program, called Vocational Entrepreneurial Pathway (VEP) empowers these young women, helping them to earn income to support themselves and their children as a means of curbing poverty among this high risk sector of society.

Participants in the VEP program have the opportunity to learn a variety of skills such as bead-making, cassava flour production, soap and detergent making and batik design which they sell in markets and to clients in various businesses in Ghana. The young women are also provided with basic trainings in entrepreneurship, bookkeeping, financial literacy and business development so that they have the abilities required to set up their own ventures.

Another social entrepreneur working in women’s economic empowerment is James Kofi Annan, founder of Challenging Heights, a social enterprise that is working to bring and end to child trafficking in fishing and cocoa industries in Ghana. James and his team have implemented a women’s economic empowerment project to address one of the root causes of child slavery – poverty among mothers.

Also Read:  Interesting Things About South Africa’s Nightlife

Challenging Heights’ Women’s Economic Empowerment Project (WEEP) in Winneba provides skills training programs, food preservation and preparation equipment and a microfinancing program to help alleviate causes of poverty among women. It also provides women with the skills, equipment and capital they require to run financially sustainable businesses. The project has set up a cold store for fish, as well as a covered community smokehouse, with 58 smoke ovens available free to women in this vulnerable community. Connecting women to these facilities has helped reduce losses and increase the profits that they earn from their work. As these women are provided with opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty, the risk that their children will be trafficked significantly decreases.

Driving sustainable economic empowerment for women: we can all find ways to help

James and Cecilia’s work has impacted hundreds of women, creating a ripple effect of positive outcomes on children and, arguably, the communities where they work as well. Of course, as with any successful social enterprise, they have not been carrying out their women’s programs in isolation. James and Cecilia both benefited from the Sophie Stenbeck Family Foundation, which provided generous financial support to enable them to scale their programs and develop them up in a business savvy way, promoting profit generation and leading to long-term sustainability.

While James and Cecilia are making substantial contributions toward economic empowerment for mothers, there is no shortage of work that needs to be done.  We may not be social entrepreneurs, or members of philanthropic organizations, but we all have a role to play to make Africa more equitable for women.

In order to harness social entrepreneurship as a tool for improving women’s economic empowerment, there are a number ways that individuals, businesses and other organizations can make a difference.

As individuals, we may have strengths that we can bring to the table. If you have expertise in business operations, finance, communications, sales, fundraising, etc., you may want to consider serving on the board of a local social enterprise. Others might be able to make valuable contributions as volunteers that work on the front lines and impact beneficiaries through one-on-one interactions.

As consumers, we also have the ability to influence positive change. Many women’s economic empowerment programs involve the production and sales of every-day products and the success of these programs depends on access to markets. We can make a positive impact on women’s economic empowerment by purchasing products from social enterprises that run economic empowerment programs for women. Africans who work in supply chain management can make an even more substantial impact by opting to procure made-by-women goods from social enterprises, as opposed to strictly for-profit suppliers.

Also Read:  Like Busola, Adesua Etomi Tells Sexual Abuse Story

Business professionals responsible for corporate social responsibility (CSR) resources, and philanthropic organizations, can explore ways that they can invest in grassroots social enterprises – whether through grants or by connecting innovators to social enterprise development programs, or both. This type of support is essential for setting the foundations for great ideas to to become scalable solutions with wide-scale impact. Large businesses can also provide a great amount of expertise to social entrepreneurs, helping them to implement sustainability and scaling strategies that enable them to take their impact to new heights.

This International Women’s Day, we’d like to challenge you think about what opportunities you have to support women’s economic equality in your community or even your country.  What strengths or resources do you have that could empower local social enterprises to scale effective solutions for this challenge in your community?

About Reach for Change

Reach for Change is a non-profit organization that supports social entrepreneurs who are solving the most pressing issues facing children and youth in 17 countries worldwide. It runs innovation competitions, accelerators and incubators that unleash the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to create a better world for children. In Africa, Reach for Change also focuses on women’s empowerment as a fundamental catalyst for change for driving change in children lives.  Reach for Change first launched its African operations in Ghana in 2012 and has since expanded into Senegal, Chad, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania, where it has supported the development of more than 300 social entrepreneurs and impacted the lives of over 1 million children.

Click here for high resolution image.

A woman smokes fish at the Challenging Heights smokehouse in Winneba, Ghana. The community is becoming less vulnerable to child trafficking due to women’s economic empowerment programs. Photo: CHALLENGING HEIGHTS/Christine Bedenis

Click here for high resolution image
A woman prepares to smoke fish at the Challenging Heights smokehouse in Winneba, Ghana. The community is becoming less vulnerable to child trafficking due to women’s economic empowerment programs. Photo: CHALLENGING HEIGHTS/Christine Bedenis
Click here for high resolution image
Young mothers in Nneka Youth Foundation’s Vocational Entrepreneurial Pathway work to earn income for their families. The initiative is helping to curb poverty among young mothers in Ghana. Photo: NNEKA YOUTH FOUNDATION.

Casava flour produced by women in Nneka Youth Foundation’s Vocational Entrepreneurial Pathway. The initiative is helping to curb poverty among young mothers in Ghana. Photo: NNEKA YOUTH FOUNDATION.

By Amma Sefa-Dedeh Lartey and Fiona Buchanan, Reach for Change

Share
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion

Award of Excellence: Eze declines nomination

Published

on

…Cites need to give more devotion to ‘the struggle’

A vocal good governance advocate in the Niger Delta, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has declined accepting the Oil City Advancement Awards 2019, citing personal reasons.

Eze, according to the organisers of the awards, had been nominated due to his “immense contributions towards humanity and service towards ensuring peace, development and advancement of the Niger Delta region”.

However, responding to the award offer, Eze, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and an opinion moulder in the oil-rich region, said he had to turn the offer of award down for now so he could work more dedicatedly and become more worthy of the honour in future, even as he expressed gratitude to the award organisers.

Also Read:  Interesting Things About South Africa’s Nightlife

According to him, he had not achieved his actual mission in the region, which he said is to ensure the total enthronement of genuine democracy, through the election of APC government in the entire region, adding that until he achieves thist, he would not consider himself as being ready to accept an award for his inputs to what Niger Delta region is at the moment.

Also Read:  32 Skye Bank Customers Emerge Winners in Western Union Promo

He also reassured the people of the region that he will not relent in his struggle to ensure that the region benefits from what is due to her in the politics of Nigeria being the main source of the wealth of Nigeria.

“I will beg to decline accepting this prestigious award at this time for reasons surrounding my devotion and the need to give more of my time to ensuring that the people of the region get a deserving good governance”, he said.

Share
Continue Reading

Opinion

25 year old Orphan stranded in LUTH, three months after surgery

Published

on

LUTH

A 25-year-old Nigerian orphan, Adeniyi Onalaja, a generator repairer, has been in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos in the last three months after undergoing surgery in his stomach. His ordeal started when he was experiencing pain in his stomach and the journey began from a hospital at Agbowa, Ikorodu and he was eventually referred to LUTH on April 4, 2019.

Upon medical examination, he was advised to go for a CT-Scan and this showed that a tumor was growing in his stomach and he was scheduled for emergency surgery on April 10, 2019, after signing an undertaking that funds will be made available. Afterward, there was a little complication that made him undergo another surgery because he could neither sleep nor eat on April 23, 2019. He has since been a resident of Ward E6 in the hospital.

Also Read:  Next Project Alert From Wizkid***Its "Zion"

According to Onalaja, who hails from Ijebu-Ode, his father passed in 2006 and his mother died not more than a month ago. He is currently owing the hospital about Six Hundred Thousand Naira (N600,000) only which are the expenses incurred from the surgery, admission, laundry, and drugs from the pharmacy.

The orphan said he is currently living on the remnants of other patients on admission in the Ward because he has nobody catering for him. He expressed his readiness to fend for himself through his generator repairing skills if he has the opportunity to leave the hospital.

Also Read:  Impeachment Saga: NBA Epe Lauds Lagos House Of Assembly, APC Stakeholders, National Leader For Peaceful Resolution

He is appealing to well-meaning Nigerians to please help me out of his travail. Adeniyi Onalaja can be reached on 08165635903 and financial assistance will be appreciated, payment can be made into his Sister’s bank account- Bassey Rukayat Aduke, 3107620191, First Bank.

LUTH

Adeniyi Onalaja

 

Image

Image

Share
Continue Reading

Opinion

BUSTED: Imo State Government Recover Mansion Ex-Governor Okorocha Gave To His Ethiopian Girlfriend [VIDEO]

Published

on

Governance

A video trending online shows the moment Imo State Recovery of Moveable Assets Committee stormed a property belonging to the immediate past governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha in Imo State.

A voice as heard in the video clip claim the former governor gifted the house to his Ethiopian girlfriend and she has been evacuated from the premises.

Also Read:  Impeachment Saga: NBA Epe Lauds Lagos House Of Assembly, APC Stakeholders, National Leader For Peaceful Resolution

Various items along with the lady’s undies were seen littered over the place.

According to Information Nigeria, the recovery team was led by Governor Emeka Ihedioha, who visited the place, with men of the Nigeria Police.

 

You will recall that officials of the State Government Committee on Recovery of Government Property, have broken into the sealed premises of Nneoma Okorocha, wife of former Imo state governor in search of stolen property.

Also Read:  Africent Group CEO, Juwon Lawal, Takes Business Innovation To The World

Culled: Society Gist

Share
Continue Reading

Facebook

Trending

Copyright © 2019, February13 Media