In December 2011, the United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child.
The U.N. saw the need to recognize young girls’ rights and challenges globally – encouraging communities around the world to commit to realizing their potential. Eradication of poverty and involving girls in decisions that affect them are vital aspects of breaking the cycle of violence and discrimination, and ensuring the rights of all young women.
Convoy of Hope believes in the empowerment of young girls, and is proud to be committed to the mission of empowering women and eradicating childhood poverty.
Convoy of Hope currently feeds nearly 150,000 children in 10 countries. Through the Children’s Feeding Initiative, they have access to clean water and nutritious meals, giving them energy to engage at school.
Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program is active in six countries. The program exists to empower women to make strategic, independent life choices through training, savings groups and non-traditional micro-enterprise development.
“To break the cycle of malnutrition and poverty, we have to reach younger girls,” says Andrea Frey Metzger, program director for Latin America. “If we don’t, they become a part of the same cycle that wronged them.”
We are breaking that cycle through our Empowered Girls Initiative, which brings educational programs to schools and communities. Topics covered in these sessions include self-esteem, gender-based violence and harmful cultural beliefs and practices.
Convoy partners with girls from a young age because we believe these girls will one day grow up to become contributing members of their societies and leaders of their communities.
Just a hand up. Sometimes that’s all a person needs to rise out of a poverty and feel like they’ve finally made it. A simple hand up can mean the difference between a success story and a life lived in despair. And that’s what we’re here to help provide: a hand up to families who need it.
Our Women’s Empowerment Initiative began five years ago, and was birthed out of a desire in our hearts to change the circumstances of women who were marginalized in society, with no hope of ever becoming more. Many we saw were homeless, with no job skills or income, and no way to provide food or shelter for their children.
We wanted to help women like Murida, who was forced onto the streets when she could no longer afford her house when her husband left her and their four children. With no income or formal training for employment, she survived on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She tied a long scarf to herself and around her children at night so they wouldn’t be kidnapped while they slept.
For 14 years she lived this way — but her life, and her children’s lives, have changed now.
Murida was chosen to enter our Ethiopia Micro+ program and was trained on how to make and market “njera,” a staple Ethiopian food. After her training, she was given seed capital to start her business. Today, her children are living in a home, with no threat of being kidnapped when night falls on Addis Ababa.
Because she’s able to provide for herself and she’s running a successful business, Murida couldn’t be happier. “To have someone look me in the eyes and to feel their care,” she says, “I know I am human and worth something.”
“Of an estimated 1.3 billion people living in abject poverty, 70 percent of those are women.” says Kara Edson “That’s unacceptable. We’re helping women break the cycle of poverty.”
On this International Women’s Day, we will continue to provide a hand up to women and families who need it all over the world — because we want every woman to know, like Murida, that they’re worth more than they ever thought.
In honor of International Women’s Day we are giving away this beautiful hand made bracelet engraved with the seven countries where we are striving to change the lives of women. Comment on this blog or share our Facebook post for a chance to win!
This week we are highlighting the seven countries our Women’s Empowerment Program works in. Each day we will be giving away a small gift from each of the countries with a one-of-a-kind gift being given away on International Women’s Day.
In Tanzania we run a program called Empowered Girls. Empowered Girls has girls’ clubs in seven schools teaching topics like self-esteem, confidence, leadership, conflict resolution and study skills. Lessons are reinforced by fun activities like essay contests, fashion shows and singing.
Girls from four Tanzanian schools wrote and recorded an album called “Watoto wa Afrika,” meaning “Children of Africa,” which was launched during the graduation. The album has songs about the challenges they face as girls, including some real-life situations they encounter. Some songs teach girls about how to resolve problems that come up, while others encourage girls and women to know their rights and to stand up for themselves.
We are offering one of their songs for free download today! Just click the button below to download the song “Enaboishu” — written and performed by girls from the program!
Our Mother’s Clubs in El Salvador teach women job skills training — something they’ve never had before — while also providing self-esteem classes and nutrition and hygiene training.
Mother’s Clubs are helping women, like Maria, who is the mother of Jacqueline, 7, and 1-year-old Marcos. She also watches her nephew, Diego, 2, while her sister works. Maria is learning how to run a poultry farm so she can provide her children with food, a home and a better life.
“My dream is for my children to have a future,” she says with a wide smile. “When they are successful, I will know that I worked hard so they could have a good life.”
Today we are giving away this cool bracelet hand made in El Salvador! Share our Facebook post for a chance to win!
Kenya is the most recent addition to our Women’s Empowerment Program. Our first graduating class passed through the program near the end of 2014 and have now received seed capitol for starting their own businesses!
We are excited to see how these women’s economic opportunities improve as they continue to work on growing small businesses.
We believe providing a women with economic freedom makes them more secure and confident of their intrinsic worth and value to their homes and communities.
Today we are excited to give away these beautiful hand printed Convoy of Hope leather notebooks from Kenya! One is an iPad holder and the other is a notebook holder. Share either of our Facebook posts for a chance to win!
Here at Convoy of Hope, we are extremely thankful for the women in our lives. Mothers, daughters, wives, sisters and friends have helped each of us become the people we are today.
While we are continuously proud to celebrate the women in our Women’s Empowerment Program, we are especially excited to highlight our work this week, leading up to International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8.
We currently have Women’s Empowerment Programs in seven countries including Ethiopia, Tanzania, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Kenya. Through these programs, we aim to facilitate sustainable generation activities and entrepreneurial thinking that equips women to make positive choices for themselves and their families in the areas of health, education and economic welfare.
“Of an estimated 1.3 billion people living in abject poverty, 70 percent of those are women,” says Kara Edson, director of women’s empowerment. “That’s unacceptable. We’re helping women break the cycle of poverty.”
Follow us this week as we take you on a journey to each country where women are being empowered and lives are being changed. Each day we will be giving away a gift directly from the seven countries we are working in. On International Women’s Day, we will be giving away a prize package with a variety of goodies from the countries where we work. So like, share and comment on our posts to enter yourself for a chance to win some awesome gifts from around the world!
Help us say thank you to women all over the world, for what they are doing today and every day.
We are very proud of the progress we have made with our Women’s Empowerment program in Ethiopia. Over the last five years we have been equipping women through micro-enterprise to start and run their own businesses. More than 1,000 women have graduated our Ethiopia program and we have seen an average 240 percent increase in income compared to before the women joined our program.
One of the most exciting things for us is seeing women who have been through our program and now employ other women from their communities. Breaking the cycle of poverty starts with education and someone who believes in you.
In 2013, the Ethiopian government gave Convoy of Hope an award for being “life-changing, corruption free and impactful” in our Women’s Empowerment Program.
Today, we are giving away a pound of Ethiopian coffee from our friends at Brick and Mortar. Ethiopia is known for its amazing coffee. Get a taste of this amazing country!
In such a beautiful country it’s hard to see so many women struggle to provide food for their children. For the last year, we’ve been working in the Philippines to equip impoverished women with the right education and resources to start and run their own small businesses. Our first graduating class has been doing some amazing things from running shops at the local market to creating a small chicken farm.
Honeylie was part of our first graduating class and now sells fish at the local market. A year ago, she made only $2.50 a day. Now, her income is enough to build a new home and keep her four children in school. “My heart is overflowing with joy because now I can help my husband, not just with our bills, but also provide for my kids things that they want,” said Honeylie.
Today we are giving away a miniature Filipino Jeepney! Comment here or on our Facebook post for a chance to win. Winners will be decided at the beginning of next week.
In 1969 my parents’ automobile was hit by a drunken driver. My father was killed and my mother was seriously injured. Suddenly, my mother became a single parent and began looking for a job to support the family.
She did not have a college education or formal training. She wanted to care for her children but she found it difficult to find employment that provided adequate compensation. Although I was just a boy, I remember her leaving the house day after day to search for a job. She was determined that her family would not stay on welfare forever.
Finally, she was offered a temporary position which eventually led to full-time employment. That was one of the greatest moments of her life.
In countries like Ethiopia, Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment Initiative, which teaches women skills to earn and save money through job training, is giving women an opportunity to earn an income that enables them to feed their children. In essence, they are accomplishing what my mother did many years ago.
Many of these women have been abandoned and abused their entire lives. But finally, through Women’s Empowerment, they are being given a chance at a better life.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the businesses these women have started. I wish you could see their smiles and hear their words of gratitude.
Because the women are being taught how to save a portion of their earnings, no longer will they be living in the streets or struggling to make ends meet. They have new skills and a greater understanding of business principles. As a result, their future is bright.
Thank you for caring and giving so Convoy of Hope can continue to meet the needs of women in places like Ethiopia, Tanzania, El Salvador and more.