Last week on Small Business Trends , I shared six organizations that are helping U.S. women and girls improve their business and financial skills so they can get jobs and start businesses. Your dollars can make even more of an impact in developing nations, where women are often restricted from education and other opportunities. Here are five nonprofit organizations helping women around the globe find financial security for themselves and their families through entrepreneurship.
Ways of Supporting Women in Business Globally
This organization works to eradicate poverty in Rwanda by developing entrepreneurs through its Kula Fellowship program. While the Fellowship program is open to both men and women, Kula also has two Women’s Centers specifically designed to provide vocational training for women. Women participate in business training, then get specific skills training to empower them to create their own sewing, weaving and agriculture businesses. The women learn to create handmade products and agribusiness goods to sell on the local market.
Women for Women International
Women for Women International provides programs that give marginalized women in countries affected by conflict and war a way to earn and save money. During the organization’s year-long social and economic empowerment program, classes of 25 women build support networks, share experiences and learn critical skills to help them financially support their families. After completing the program, women can access the graduate support program, which encourages continued mentorship and provides additional advanced financial and business training. There are many ways to support Women for Women International ; for instance, for a monthly $35 contribution you can Sponsor a Sister and provide ongoing financial support for a particular woman.
Women’s Global Empowerment Fund
Women’s Global Empowerment Fund bundles microcredit loans with business and leadership development training to help empower women in northern Uganda to support their families. The organization’s Credit Plus program participants are required to attend regular meetings and have the opportunity to take classes in business skills, literacy, health or leadership development. The ultimate goal: to help women create sustainable income, increase their food security, and improve their families’ health and nutrition.
Empowering women in war-ravaged Guatemala to build a better life is the goal of Friendship Bridge. The organization makes small loans to impoverished women who have been deemed “unbankable,” giving them the chance to start or expand small businesses and begin creating their own sustainable solutions to poverty. Today, Friendship Bridge’s Microcredit Plus program reaches more than 22,000 women. Borrowers must form groups of 7 to 25 members, called Trust Banks, that co-guarantee individual members’ loans. At monthly Trust Banks meetings, the women participate in informal education sessions. Friendship Bridge’s Artisan Market Access Program trains artists and artisans to make products that can appeal to the global market. There are many ways to get involved with Friendship Bridge , including donating, volunteering and hosting fund-raising events.
One of the first socially responsible lending organizations, Kiva crowdfunds an average of $2.5 million in loans each week for borrowers in more than 80 countries. The organization helps borrowers worldwide who have difficulty accessing other fair and affordable sources of credit. In the U.S., Kiva crowdfunds loans for borrowers who are either financially excluded or creating social impact in their communities. Kiva borrowers include farmers, artisans, students, shopkeepers, builders, restaurant owners and more. Although the loans are available to both men and women, 81% of the borrowers are female. You can search women entrepreneurs  in need of financing if you want to ensure your contribution goes to a woman.
As nations become increasingly intertwined, helping women in developing nations helps us all. And when supporting women entrepreneurs in other countries costs so little, why not make it part of your business’s giving plan?
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