International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, here are eight ways to empower daughters, sisters, and mothers around the world while simultaneously bolstering the fight against global poverty.
- GIVE A MICROLOAN
Organizations such as Mentors International lends small amounts of money to women who do not have access to traditional banking systems. When given microloans, these mothers can start or improve their own small businesses and better support themselves and their families. Microloans help women gain financial independence, save for the future, create jobs for friends and family, send children to school, … the list of benefits goes on. Women make up 90 percent of the micro-loans that Mentors International gives out.
- TEACH JOB AND BUSINESS SKILLS
In its annual “State of the World’s Children” 2017 report, UNICEF says 124 million children worldwide do not attend school. The report also states that an estimated 65 million girls are being denied basic education, increasing the likelihood they will live in poverty or die young. Many of the women working with Mentors International have had little to no education, and even fewer opportunities. We provide ongoing and personalized training and guidance appropriate to their situation. Our business record keeping and inventory tracking methods are simple, yet effective. The women we work become very excited when they realize that they can run a “proper” business and see for themselves because of their recordkeeping the growth and improvements they are making.
Because of the success of their businesses these mothers are able to afford to send both their sons and daughters to school.
- INCREASE SAVINGS AND INCOMES
Women are taught and encouraged in our business skills training courses to start their own saving account. 63% of the entrepreneurs we work with start a personal savings account. Our clients increased their incomes on average by 41%.
- BUILD SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE
A majority of women report that their self-esteem or confidence has increased since coming to a Mentors International training class. They become more comfortable speaking in front of groups and sharing opinions. Our mentors teach these women to create a vision for their families and their businesses and help them understand that they can achieve more than they think they can. The knowledge and encouragement these women receive are vital to their success as they move forward to build their own futures.
- IMPACT HEALTH
Many women and mothers trapped in extreme poverty don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Many families impacted by Mentors International have the financial means to feed their children meals higher in nutrition value. Rosa from Guatemala is now able to feed her six children three healthy meals a day. With stable incomes, our clients can afford not only to feed their families but provide them with preventative medical services like prenatal care.
- BUILD SOCIAL NETWORKS
By building social networks, women have more support and greater opportunities to effect change in their communities. Women are empowered and inspired to grow and improve their situations when they meet together in their loan groups through Mentors International. Knowing that they are not alone in facing issues associated with extreme poverty gives these women hope for the future. They become more inspired to help other women in their community by sharing the knowledge and business skills they have learned.
- CREATE PUBLIC LEADERS
In many developing countries, women rarely hold public leadership roles. With their growing businesses, many of our clients become local leaders. They take on leadership roles in their lending groups and help encourage and mentor others. Naomi was once considered an outcast in her village because of her handicap, now she runs the mobile money center (the bank). She is a now leader and well respected. Women are joining committees, facilitating meetings, raising their voices against injustices, and organizing community improvement programs.
- TELL THE WOMEN IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU CARE
Empowering women starts right in our families, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Write a note of thanks to a mentor that encouraged you along your lives journey, pick up coffee for a mom who’s struggling to balance it all, or tell your own sister, daughter, or mother how much you appreciate them.
70 percent of the worlds’ poor are women, which is an unacceptable number. Today on International Women’s day join our vision of a world where everyone has the choice to be free from extreme poverty.
Through meaningful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential they offer to economies the world over. Will you empower another on International Women’s Day 2018 and donate to Mentors International so that we can continue to help mentor and provide business training and micro-loans to these worthy women entrepreneurs? Mentors International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. EIN/