Women and Gender Equity

Woman sewing

Women’s empowerment by the numbers

According to sub-analysis of our Randomized Controlled Trial results, Village Enterprise program households with female participants benefitted more than households with male participants in regard to increases in total asset ownership and consumption as well as access to savings groups. Moreover, women participating in the Village Enterprise program reported increased standing in the community and subjective well-being, including improved mental health and an overall sense of happiness.

Advancing gender equity through economic inclusion

Promoting gender equity is a priority of our organization and an outcome of our program. Over 83% of our participants are women and we believe that rural African women are key agents for achieving the transformational economic, environmental, and social changes required for sustainable development.

Limited access to credit, health care, and education are among the many challenges women in rural sub-Saharan Africa face, which are further aggravated by the global food crisis, economic downturn, and climate change.

Our evidence-based program provides a solution to these and many other obstacles for women. Our first-time female entrepreneurs build resilience through their income-generating sustainable businesses. They prioritize education, health care, and nutritious food that benefit their families. They invest in their communities. Increasing the bargaining power of women creates a virtuous cycle as female spending supports the development of human capital, which in turn fuels current and future economic growth. Successful women entrepreneurs also strengthen social justice in the communities where they live. Empowering them is key not only to the well-being of individuals, families, and rural communities, but also to overall local and national economic productivity, given women’s large presence in the agricultural workforce in sub-Saharan Africa.

The group-based model is particularly beneficial to overcome poverty since women have many other household responsibilities, and mitigate low levels of numeracy and literacy among our program participants. Women report that being part of a group reduces the risk of gender-based violence and improves their social capital in the community.

Village Enterprise’s approach supports women’s social and economic empowerment by providing access to resources and opportunities through training women in business management, financial literacy, and saving. Through the income generated by their small business, women can provide for their family, including school fees, improved food security, and access to medicine. The program also results in increased decision making within the household and improved standing within the community, leading to greater sense of hope and overall happiness.

Smiling woman holding baby

Top charity for women’s empowerment by Founders Pledge

Founders Pledge endorses Village Enterprise as a top charity for women’s empowerment. Founders Pledge is an organization through which company founders and investors commit to donating a percentage of their personal proceeds to a charity following a successful exit. From a list of 163 women’s empowerment charities, Village Enterprise was selected as one of only four endorsed by the organization. In order to make their selections, Founders Pledge conducted a deep dive investigation that included analyzing our RCT results and comparing them to similar evaluations. According to the Founders Pledge’s report, “Village Enterprise excels at improving the lives of women, and has strong 3rd party evidence that its model is an effective way of addressing extreme poverty.”

Who We Serve

Learn more about the other populations we serve

Who We Serve