Country: Tanzania

Matilda: Changing her story through Women’s Empowerment

Matilda and her son, Junior, live in the beautiful country of Tanzania. Each morning, Matilda opens up her shop, confidently expecting another successful day of business. But, not too long ago, life looked very different for Matilda and Junior.

Despite working long hours making and selling donuts, oftentimes Matilda would not earn enough income to provide for Junior or herself … forcing both of them to go to bed hungry. Junior watched his mom struggle, and with wisdom beyond his years, he would encourage her that the next day would be better.

After Junior enrolled in a school benefiting from Convoy of Hope’s feeding program, Matilda enrolled in the Women’s Empowerment program. From then on, everything changed!

Now, Matilda sells many different items in her shop! She makes enough money for today and has also learned how to budget to save for the future.

Because of friends like you, women like Matilda — and their children — are receiving opportunities through Convoy of Hope that enable them to live better lives.

Thank you for helping change her story.


Click here to help us empower more women like Matilda.

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Field Story / Women's Empowerment

Kellen’s Story — From Impoverished to Empowered

Kellen Msseemmaa has been with Convoy of Hope in Tanzania since 2013 as the Director of Empowered Girls.

Kellen was born and raised in Uganda and experienced poverty firsthand as the firstborn of six children. They often only had one meal a day or sometimes — nothing at all. See how her passion for empowering girls has transformed countless lives!

Tell us about your background.

Girls were seen as an income, but I never accepted the negativity around me. I knew learning was the only way out of poverty so I worked and studied hard to become a teacher.

Why is Women’s Empowerment so important?

Through the program, women don’t just receive money — they are trained to become good entrepreneurs. They become self-sufficient and are able to feed their children.

You launched the Empowered Girls program. What was your motivation behind that?

As a teacher, I noticed many girls would stop attending classes because they were getting pregnant. From that, I had the idea to start Empowered Girls to teach all young women they have value.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The programs really work. The young girls dream of becoming doctors, engineers and scientists — women who can change the world. That’s my best part.

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Staff Spotlight
We seek to break down barriers that hold women back — in places like Tanzania — from reaching their full potential by educating and equipping them to make good decisions and lead self-sufficient lives. We seek to break down barriers that hold women back — in places like Tanzania — from reaching their full potential by educating and equipping them to make good decisions and lead self-sufficient lives.

Breaking the cycle of extreme poverty

 

More than 3,300 women from seven countries have participated in Convoy’s Micro+ program since 2011. This economic empowerment initiative works with women living in extreme poverty and provides materials and training for income-generating activities, life skills coaching, weekly food support, access to savings accounts, and health and nutrition education.

As with all of our international work, we actively monitor and evaluate these projects: The results have been remarkable. A pilot project conducted in the Philippines in 2015 revealed 100% of the participants reported an increase in income and 90% reported a decrease in hunger in their household. That’s why we’re so passionate about projects like Micro+: They enable us to address the underlying issues that will end poverty and hunger in the long run.

In addition to our own evaluations, current research of what works in the global fight against poverty and hunger shows significant positive results. A recent article in Science from Innovations in Poverty Action (IPA)**, a research group at Yale University, also validates our approach with Micro+.

The researchers used a randomized evaluation — similar to medical studies — to test the effect of projects on 10,000 households in six different countries (two of which COH works in). The objective was to give extremely poor families a significant boost out of poverty over a short amount of time. The results showed significant increases in food security, household consumption, physical and mental health, and women’s empowerment. Families continued to see substantial benefits two and three years after the start of the program, meaning they are beginning to break the cycle of poverty.

We are continuing to invest in Micro+ and women’s economic empowerment because we’ve seen the positive results in our own work, and because the approach is being validated through studies by leading academic researchers. Micro+ is lifting women and households out of poverty, which means many families are now able to provide necessary meals for their children. Addressing the root of hunger requires a holistic approach — every investment is making a difference.

**footnote: A multifaceted program causes lasting progress for the very poor: Evidence from six countries. Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Nathanael Goldberg, Dean Karlan, Robert Osei, William Parienté, Jeremy Shapiro, Bram Thuysbaert, and Christopher Udry. Science 15 May 2015: 348 (6236)

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Program Updates / Women's Empowerment