WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT

“The seeds of success in every nation on Earth are best planted in women and children.”

Communities are central to everything we do at PanAfricare. We take a holistic approach to improving the health and well-being of communities and focus on scaling proven interventions – we do what we know works best. For example, we know that when women are educated and empowered they can increase their households’ income, become the primary drivers in improving household nutrition and food security, and follow best practices to advance the health and well- being of their families. An investment in women offers a community multiplier effect and increasing the power of our efforts by extension.

Communities are central to everything we do at PanAfricare. We take a holistic approach to improving the health and well-being of communities and focus on scaling proven interventions – we do what we know works best. For example, we know that when women are educated and empowered they can increase their households’ income, become the primary drivers in improving household nutrition and food security, and follow best practices to advance the health and well- being of their families. An investment in women offers a community multiplier effect and increasing the power of our efforts by extension.

One main key to success for women is financial empowerment. Our staff urge women to set challenging goals for themselves. We then support them to achieve these goals by combining literacy, life skills, and business training for income generating activities and to address specific constraints to women’s participation in markets. We also mobilize groups into community-based savings and loans cooperatives (SILC), open up access to finance sectors, and link women to markets. To culminate these efforts, we help to place women in positions of influence in their communities. Through outreach, discussions, and sensitization with local leaders, women are serving on community food security, distribution, and water and sanitation committees. With PanAfricare-vetted leadership coaching

and mentoring by other successful women, we train women to assume leadership roles on committees and SILC groups, serve as peer counselors or as the heads of organizations, and learn to speak out and make sure they are heard. To be successful all of our activities need to be context specific – we work to support and enhance African women’s situations based on what advancement means to them. We look at the spheres of influence around women and the key actors within those spheres to identify effective approaches for improving the situation of women and addressing gender power dynamics. We also utilize the local expertise and respect our field staff have in these communities to effectively and sustainably influence gender norms. Ultimately we focus heavily on gender integration in our programs, understanding that improved well-being cannot occur without addressing underlying, persistent gender gaps.