Empowering women is a catalyst to change families, communities, and countries.
Empowering women means offering them opportunities to lead, make change, have their voices heard and skills employed. It also means educating men and boys to value the contribution of women and see them as respected members and agents of change in their communities.
“Women’s empowerment helps raise economic productivity and reduce infant mortality. It contributes to improved health and nutrition. It increases the chances of education for the next generation.”
Education Offers Healing and Hope
Sierra Leone has one of the highest under 5 and infant mortality rates in the world. When N’balia’s 8-month-old son got sick, she didn’t know what to do. With what knowledge she had, she did her best for her son. Complicating factors of using medications that weren’t approved, measured, or dosed out correctly created a perfect storm and her son passed away, likely of a diarrheal disease.
“If I had had the knowledge at that time, that this is how I should care for my son, he wouldn’t have died.”
As a World Hope staffer in Sierra Leone, N’balia then learned potential causes of death, which helped develop her knowledge of common childhood illnesses. N’balia is now able to guide parents on how to seek care for their children whenever they are sick, or they are concerned for their health. That has helped in saving the lives of many children.
Through World Hope N’balia learned what to do when her kids are sick, and not just her kids, but her neighbours, her community, how to give good advice and direct them to the proper help. Not only are less kids dying, but the kids that are living are thriving. Information is empowering and allows for healing and hope for N’balia and others.
“When I support another mother to save her daughter or son’s life, it gives me joy to have helped another woman not to be in my own position. Not to bear the guilt that I was bearing.”
Climate Resilience Education Empowers Women
Madam Mary is a single mother of 4 who lives in Sierra Leone. Through Climate Resilience education she received seeds and learned best practices for growing vegetables. This has allowed her to become more self-sufficient. She has been using the proceeds from the sales of vegetables to pay medical bills, improve her family’s food security and help pay school fees for her children. Rehabilitating land that was once used for waste, Madam Mary was able to expand her vegetable gardens, passing on her knowledge to her children who have given her support when preparing the land to plant.
“I am very thankful to the Climate Resilience project team for helping me to improve on my vegetable acreage and skills in vegetable cultivation and also gaining knowledge in using kitchen organic waste as manure in taking care of my crops and be able to get a good yield and bumper harvest, this has led to a good market prices for my vegetables.”
Empowering Women Means Educating Men
“When women gain a voice in society, there’s evidence of less violence.”
In Mondulkiri province, Cambodia, long held gender norms can mean that women become victims of abuse and violence. World Hope is working in communities to not only educate and empower women about their rights but also educate and empower boys and men to make healthy decisions concerning their treatment of women and girls. Groups of men are learning about safe migration, human trafficking, violence against women, sexual harassment, alcohol abuse, and promoting the safety of women and children in their communities. By educating men women will be empowered.
When we educate women, teach them to read, make space for their ideas, support them with micro-loans, offer them opportunities to work, believe their stories of abuse, and create safe communities it’s not only women who benefit, everyone will experience the good that comes by empowering women.