Plan International USA’s experience has shown that investing in women results in ripple effects that transform entire families, communities, and countries.
A better future for children and girls is not possible without women leaders, role models, and decision-makers. Therefore, Plan’s WomenLead Institute programs aim to partner with and empower these women.
Here are just five of the many reasons why:
- Empowered women raise empowered girls, gender sensitive boys and better educated children.
Lufuno is an example of a child who, because of her mother, grew into a woman able to transform her community and country.
Lufuno’s mother single-handedly raised four children and put them through university by selling fruits and vegetables and working as a farm laborer.
“I want to see women financially independent, being able to provide food for themselves and for their household, taking their children to school, and living a better life,” said Lufuno, a recent Plan International USA Global Women in Management (GWIM) alumna. “If we help women understand the importance of taking their children to school and enable them to do so, I see that cycle of inequality and financial dependence subsiding in the next few generations.
“I’m an example. Can you see that if we get more women to do that, then society is going to change for the better, not in many decades to come, but sooner than that.”
- Women who are empowered create stronger and more economically resilient families.
Angela is discovering how becoming financially independent is benefitting her entire family.
With the help of a Plan-supported savings and loans group, Angela started her business by buying produce and selling it at the roadside. As part of the group, Angela received training on how to manage and grow her business and, most importantly, how to save and borrow for a purpose.
“From this time on, I started to focus on how to increase and diversify my business,” she said.
From her profits, she manages to set aside money for her savings and loan repayments, and also for food and other family needs.
“I am very happy that I received business skills training through the savings group that has helped me grow my business,” she said. “I now know how to keep business records and calculate my profits, which was not the case before training. In the future, I want to establish my own shop alongside what I am currently doing, and I know with money from the savings group I will manage.”
- Women leaders contribute to vibrant and thriving communities.
Patricia’s enterprise is transforming the lives of women in her community.
Quickcash, a social enterprise in Cote d’Ivoire, is designed to give rural farmers access to money transfer services. When she discovered that her product wasn’t reaching women, Patricia applied some of the new skills acquired during her time at a GWIM workshop to her business.
“I dream every day in color,” she said. “My dream is to see women farmers have machines to help them have better harvests so that their children can go to school, instead of helping to plant and harvest. My dream is to see the rural area transform. To see the people in these areas have access to financial services, micro loans, and micro credits. And, I want QuickCash to be the transformer.”
- Empowered women are innovators.
Maritza was very young when she founded HUNAB, a nonprofit dedicated to the sustainable development of communities through integrated environmental education, in Merida, Mexico. When she started working in this sector, there was no term for environmental education in Mexico and there was no career path.
There were plenty of doubters who discouraged her.
Despite the naysayers, she is currently overseeing the construction of a world-class, environmental education theme park called El Parque Ceiba Pentranda. The educational park provides environmental learning activities for everyone, from children to adults. The hands-on learning center helps visitors better understand their environment and how to live sustainably. There are courses for children, young people, and women.
“I love the GWIM motto, ‘When women move forward, the world moves with them.’ I believe this is true,” said Maritza. “The reality is that women help each other and are ultimately responsible for educating and raising our families. That is why it is so important that we have the right tools.”
- Empowered women takes risks and travel new roads.
The launch of a female-only rickshaw taxi service in the city of Punjab Chakwal is breaking barriers and challenging gender stereotypes for women and girls in Pakistan.
The new all-female initiative, launched by Plan International, is providing the passengers that use it with a level of safety and security that, until now, had been hard to find. The drivers’ vibrant pink rickshaws are enabling those who use them to feel safer as they travel through their city.
“I feel socially and economically empowered,” said Bali Rani. “But at the same time, I wonder what people will say. I am determined to drive the rickshaw and to change the community. I feel honored to be a role model for girls in my community.”