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Diplomacy in Action

Economic Security and Empowerment Programs

S/GWI programs aimed at increasing women’s access to training, mentorship, credit and finance, and skills building with the goal of increasing their economic independence, their participation in eco-friendly and agriculturally-successful practices, and the creation of women-owned enterprises (organized by region)


 Africa  East Asia and Pacific  Europe
 Near East and North Africa  South and Central Asia  Western Hemisphere



Empowering Vulnerable Women, Tanzania (Small Grants Initiative)
Project aims to economically empower women recovering from fistula and mothers of children with disabilities. Participants are taught a trade and provided the entrepreneurial skills they need to become economically self-sufficient. Training includes English lesions, business seminars, and sessions on life skills, focusing on communication, decision-making, leadership, and health education. Upon graduating from the program, women receive a business starter kit that enables them to put into practice the learned skills and start their businesses.

Pig-Farming Targeting Women-Headed Households, Rwanda (Small Grants Initiative)
Project supports women-headed households and other vulnerable families, through the creation of an improved social support system for women within their own communities, and the provision of training on food production and income generation from selling surplus produce. With the activities of farming using high yielding breeds of pigs, farming organic produce, and supporting self-help groups focused on savings, the project aims to reduce persistent household insufficiency and inadequate disposable incomes.

Promotion and Establishment of Microfinance for Women, Kenya (Small Grants Initiative)
This project is focused on assisting women returnees or internally displaced persons (IDPs) in improving their small businesses, increasing their personal incomes and promoting family livelihoods. Project activities include training in business skills and access to micro-credit loans.

Stigma Reduction and Economic Empowerment for Women and Girl Survivors of Sexual Violence, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Small Grants Initiative)
The overall goal of the proposed program is to advance the health, economic and social well-being of women and girl survivors of sexual violence in rural villages in the Walungu Territory of South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). To achieve this goal, the program will provide training to build the capacity of rural health care providers to assist SGBV survivors, develop culturally appropriate mediation tools for community leaders and health practitioners to raise awareness of sexual violence and facilitate survivors’ reintegration in their families and communities; and provide microfinance loans, in the form of pigs, to improve rural women’s economic stability.

East Asia and Pacific

Promoting Women’s Leadership in Building Civil Society in Burma, Myanmar (Small Grants Initiative)
This project aims to help women's organizations in Burma build leadership and organizational capacity so that they can increase their participation in the political process as civil society organizations. It establishes women's learning centers and provides vocational training to disadvantaged women in order to increase educational and economic opportunities. Together, these activities create a network of skilled women leaders who can serve as models of economic development and political participation in their communities.

Timorese Women’s Woven Art, Timor-Leste (Small Grants Initiative)
The goal of this project is to provide economic empowerment and support through the skill set of woven art in Timor-Leste. The project builds confidence and skills through training and practical assistance. It encourages the production of quality goods using tais, the traditional cloth that has been made by weaving on simple back strap looms for centuries. It seeks to generate immediate sustainable income opportunities for individuals and collectives of women, offer training to even more women for production and quality control, and provide wholesale and retail outlets within Timor-Leste and overseas. This project not only empowers women to provide a way out of a life of poverty by generating income, but it also builds self-esteem and confidence.

Vocational, Entrepreneurial Land Leadership Training Program for North Korean Refugees, South Korea (Small Grants Initiative)
This project promotes women's political, economic, and social advancement for Northern Korean women who have escaped the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Through the provision of practical, sustainable training, the program encourages the economic empowerment of Northern Korean female refugees. The project offers employment opportunities, skill-based certifications, leadership, and entrepreneurial training.


Women Disproportionally Affected by Economic Crisis, Russian Federation (Small Grants Initiative)
The goal of this project is to encourage women's social and economic activity, to inform women of their civic and economic rights, to provide entrepreneurship training and business/legal consultation for women entrepreneurs, and to provide job coaching through a new Resource Center for Women. It also promotes gender equity and business opportunities through organized informational campaigns.

Producing Solar Cookers by Women’s Collectives, Turkey (Small Grants Initiative)
The goal of this project is to increase the awareness and improve daily practices of rural women related to climate change issues. This objective is complemented with an economic empowerment component involving the production and sale of solar cookers in Istanbul and three other cities: Mardin (Southeast region), Bandirma (Aegean region) and Hatay (Southern Region). The project establishes a solar cooker production and sale enterprise run by a grassroots women’s organization, and trains the management team, the sales team, and the production team. An additional 3,200 female beneficiaries use the cooker, provide leadership of community climate change groups, and become more knowledgeable of local climate change issues.

Near East and North Africa

Entrepreneurship Masters Class, Egypt (Small Grants Initiative)
This project utilizes the latest educational modules and training methods on work readiness financial literacy and entrepreneurship to help young women who otherwise would have no opportunity to better the state of their lives. The goal of the program is for these women to take what they have learned and apply it to a small business or profession from which they could eventually support themselves and their families. This project expands the implementation of the Entrepreneurship Master Class through a workshop campaign focusing on 13 governorates mostly in Upper Egypt. The workshop targets women aged 15-21 and implements approximately eight workshops in each governorate to reach around 6,500 women.

South and Central Asia

Capacity Building Program for Increased Economic Opportunity, Bangladesh (Small Grants Initiative)
The goal of this project is to contribute to the reduction of poverty and to increase economic opportunities through improved and sustainable participation of rural and marginalized women artisan groups in entrepreneurial activities and economic growth. It facilitates the development of women artisan groups, thus increasing women’s participation in business. A capacity-building program is provided to gain knowledge and skills from activities which include training, workshops, meetings, mentoring, and counseling.

Capacity Building of Marginalized Women, India (Small Grants Initiative)
The project trains poor women to make sanitary towels from waste materials so that they can be afforded by everyone. Groups of women are trained to collect old clothes, sort them, wash and iron them, and then cut, stitch and package them. The women are paid wages that will increase the standard of living as well as enhance their personal self esteem. The products are initially sold in the same catchment area through local NGOs, short-stay homes, and hospitals. Later the distribution will be extended to reach more customers.

Empowering Women through Inclusion in Value Chain, India (Small Grants Initiative)
The focus of this project is to position women engaged in chili cultivation to own and manage microenterprises around value-added post-harvest processes in order to gain greater recognition and empowerment within the household. Given the fact that most of these small-scale farmers sell their produce without any processing, they are not able to receive a greater share of benefits from the value chain.

 Self Employed Women’s Organization Project, India (Small Grants Initiative)
This project aims to promote livelihood opportunities for the artisan silk weavers, and of the young women above 18 years of age in Delhi and Bhagalpur through access to developmental opportunities, education, and a decent income. Through the creation of economic opportunities both traditional and modern in nature, adolescent girls and young women are provided training in basic reading and writing in addition to vocational skills which enhance their productivity and employability.

 Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, Sri Lanka (Small Grants Initiative)
This project promotes entrepreneurship among disadvantaged young people from female-headed households and widows in the Hambantota district. It provides finance, mentoring and business development services to this target group. By helping the youth become successful entrepreneurs, the project also helps them to overcome their poverty and to improve their living standards.

Victims Suffering in Silence, Uzbekistan (Small Grants Initiative)
This project targets vulnerable women - single mothers, women with disabilities, women from families consisting of one or more disabled family members, the unemployed - in the remote Bektemir and Chilonzor districts of the Tashkent region.These women typically have irregular work, low salaries or have struggled with long periods of unemployment. Through this program, women obtain access to job banks to seek employment. By receiving practical training on business organization, marketing, and accessing credit from banks or credit unions, women gain the skills that they need to open their own businesses, improving the quality of life for their families.

Western Hemisphere

Building a Culture of Legal Commerce among Women Living in the VRAE and Monzon, Peru (Small Grants Initiative)
The project promotes legal employment opportunities for organized women in Peru through the provision of skills training, support mechanisms for the development of enterprises, and capacity building. This is achieved through the development of intensive work programs within four basic action lines: a) using conventional and new media tools (including Internet and audiovisual), creating awareness among the target population of economically-legal activities and identify the benefits of participating in them; b) the development of formation and training activities to provide organizational, managerial and community mobilization skills to women so that they may become leaders and promoters of local development opportunities; c) the development of a training program so that organized women may develop capabilities and skills for the implementation of small business endeavors with local resources, thus improving their family's income; and d) the strategic use of community libraries to work as training centers for women offering opportunities to improve their skills in issues related to entrepreneurship, healthy lifestyles, community leadership and others, thereby widening their development opportunities.

Creation of Business Opportunities in Eco-Tourism for Women, Suriname (Small Grants Initiative)
Young women from the rural areas and the interiors of Suriname will be trained to become partners in economic development as Suriname continues to promote its burgeoning eco-tourism industry. To guarantee sustainability, this program is based on four important pillars: (1) provide training on social skills; (2) provide credit to launch businesses; (3) collaborate with partner organizations/businesses in creating jobs; and (4) provide on-the-job-coaching. The project also involves the collaboration of community-based organizations and will directly benefit women participants from seven of Suriname's twelve districts.

The DeSdelChaco Project, Paraguay (Small Grants Initiative)
This project aims to replicate a fish farming program undertaken in another river town in the Chaco, Fuerte Olimpo. In this program, capacity building and organized participation in economic activities markedly enhanced the women of Fuerte Olimpo's self esteem and improved their social status. One aspect of the program is breeding native species of fish in artificial ponds for commercial purposes. In Fuerte Olimpo, the women used their training to organize the groups, manage the schedules, resolve conflicts and keep financial records. Another important aspect of the project is the establishment of community gardens and orchards on the perimeters of the ponds. Training in horticultural skills will also be provided and the production will diversify and improve nutrition and increase incomes by selling the surplus in local markets.

Weaving Stronger Families: Income Generation and Empowerment for Women Artisans in Ayacucho, Peru (Small Grants Initiative)
The project will help expand economic opportunities for women in Ayacucho by tapping into demand for high-quality local textiles through focalized training in gender issues that inhibit productivity. The project will address four primary issues affecting poor rural women in Ayacucho: a) lack of economic opportunities; b) need for strengthening artisan organizations, with special emphasis on women's roles in these organizations; c) need for mentoring and support in design, production, and marketing, and; d) low self-esteem and incidents of family violence can negatively impact productivity.


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