Comments on: Finding New Ways to Empower Women Making the Millennium Development Goals Happen Tue, 25 Jan 2011 13:09:41 +0000 hourly 1 By: Sunil Rodrigo Sunil Rodrigo Sun, 19 Dec 2010 06:19:09 +0000 [img][/img]

By: Sunil Rodrigo Sunil Rodrigo Sun, 19 Dec 2010 06:15:07 +0000 Women entrepreneurship Development at Dambadeniya by Sunil Rodrigo

In a society in developing countries like Srilanka where we need the involvement of rural mass in income generating activities at all the level, specially home base and village base enterprise development, although we required the direct involvement of the both men and women in this effort, despite all the steps taken by government/non government and other institutions still there is no signs in direct women involvement in rural development which is the key factor in eradicating poverty.

Although the development activities in entrepreneurial efforts are vital factors in developing the livelihood and eradicating poverty, the role of women is to be consider in a different angle as women involvement is nessacity in enterprise development. It is true that both sexes are playing important roles in the family and social economic development activities but the needs and approaches are different on men/women assessment in their involvement .The other involvement enabling to roll the activities such as opportunities ,communication, vocational training and skill development too to be considered in accordance with the gender requirement

When we look at the poverty levels it is found that men and women are looking it at in a completely different angle .Mostly women are very serious and broad minded when they look at their poverty but in case of men they are not so serious but very selfish giving priority to fulfilling their self vested needs

Hence gender sensitive grass root level development activities follow up with correct approaches to meet the needs and appropriate time allocations and management at home level, link with easy to handle low cost appropriate technology application , utilization of low cost natural resources and raw materials available in their environment would encourage more involvement of women in micro enterprise development with an assured linkages to obtain a justifiable price for their products and services. Further the concern of women in health, education and social status within the family circle encourage women to get involve in income generating activities to enhance their efforts in achieving that status.
In regard to women led house holds such as single, widowed and divorced is nessacity to generate funds to run the house hold either through employment or self-employment. Therefore it is well accepted that to meet the challenges through women empowerment, the enterprise development is the key factor to enhance their efforts.

Most of the micro enterprises base on home level depend on individual and neighboring market which is low cost and affordable with a good cash flow and as a result more women want to be within this range unless some other institutions in public/private or NGO sector to guide them to reach urban and suburban markets through sustainable and assured linkages. The group and participatory enterprises aiming at reaching a sustainable constant bigger market to cater the requirement of the private sector end users through facilitated forward market contracts enjoy better benefits reaching a broader range of services and benefits offered by such private sector institutions.

Dambadeniya provide the best model for all these performed activities having experience of two decades in achieving its goals in improving the livelihood of underprivileged families living under poverty level. It is the only place one could experience the strategies and methodologies applied successfully to operate all of these models. The interventions of Dambadeniya to approach poverty eradication and livelihood improvement through women empowerment by enterprise development and capacity building holds the best examples anyone could observe in Srilanka.

These models approaching neighbor market/urban & suburban market and forward contracts with private sector institutions shows their results achieved so far and the largest women group enterprise the Dambadeniya Export Product Village established with private sector forward market linkages to fabricate value added packaging for export tea market has brought them up to the status of highest income generators in North Central Province. Having around 3800 share holders and managed by an elected women board of director’s gives the best model for women empowerment through entrepreneurship development and capacity building in Srilanka.

The role play by Liyasaviya Rural Economic Decvelopment Programme which is the service arm of DEPV, facilitating and guiding small and micro enterprises to reach the urban and suburban market through producing consumer demand products and services through reverse engineering market approaches is successful in establishing significant no of women enterprises at village level attract the attention of many organizations and individuals keen in enterprise development at village level to eradicate poverty and meet the challenges of social and economic development .

The significant no of home base industries and micro enterprises to meet the neighboring consumer demand and requirements of day to day activities too play a major role in women empowerment at village level and self servicing lending and saving rural economic development programme called Liyasaviya[strength of women]formed by group of women in Dambadeniya too actively involve in not only home base enterprise development but providing required micro credits and other required services such as training & development, Appropriate technology transfer and capacity building with the assistance of other public and private sector service providers in the area.

The strategy applied at Dambadeniya in implementing the empowerment programme is too a model which could be replicated and applied in other parts of the island in eradicating poverty through women empowerment. The initial approaches in baseline need assessments through eye to eye meetings, participatory group meetings, dialogue with other rural base organizations such as funeral societies ,lending organizations and other similar organizations exist within the villages as well as through the coordination of intellectuals ,village leaders and priests in the are and periodical market and consumer need assessment surveys carried out with volunteers supplied initial information base to analyze to determine the required interventions to identify the end users, product and services specifications ,delivery frequencies quantities and quality .
Once identify the end user business linkages and the product quality and services which could offered by the women, follow up with service conditions and demands leads into the next step of networking the implementing methodology.

Prior to the networking process the capacity and leadership building of the women involved is taking to consideration in design required applications to mould them to fit into the net work. The networking is being carried out with experienced and dedicated field staff of DEPV to strengthen the linkages of women groups to share and care of each others abilities and interests towards the benefit of all groups and finally the whole women network.

The networking is vital in women empowering process as it provide the windows for facilitating access to data and information about the ongoing activities within and around in market, technology, distribution, procurement of raw material, service providers, pricing and sustainability of all the other related activities enhance their efforts in achieving their goals .Hence networking within the target group of women is very important in developing women enterprises at all the level.

Dambadeniya is proud to announce it success story achieved due to proper leadership and advisors from the private sector organizations, shed their tiring efforts to mould the system into a model which could adjust to the changing environment of the world with a vision to develop the rural women technologically advanced and built up to hold the responsibilities rest upon their shoulders to step into the new millennium facing modern day challenges.

By: Rodney D. Hetzel Rodney D. Hetzel Mon, 13 Dec 2010 15:33:58 +0000 “WPMEN EMPOWERMENT, We have designed a small enterprise for developing women entrapenures. We started by sending good used clothing for sale. After several months and not even covering our shipping cost the inventory was gone and nothing sustainable was coming out of the project, but the ladies of our group in Abuja Nigeria started renting out some of the fancie dressses that had been sent and it took off like a sky rocket on New Years Eve. We now have over 400 dresses in our boutique in Cagayan De Oro Philippines and the project is working beyond our wildest dreams. We have a web site for that location, . This is our Model Store just opened December 5, 2010, we are setting up the book keeping system and have several moduels of training (Text w/Audio). We have designed this Project to cookie cutter it (copy) the same program any where. We are making these Mico Loans, Training and Systems to ensure the success of the program. Each location will when fully staffed will employ five women. By suppling the computer with nessessary software, traing and all of the fundamentals, this program is slated for sucess. We are searching for other locatins where we can copy this program.

By: Robert K. Muraya Robert K. Muraya Wed, 22 Sep 2010 15:53:02 +0000 I am currently working as a business adviser among groups organized under Microfinance, where I do Business Development Support services. These are organized women groups of between 10 to 20 members though men are also allowed to join. The rationale of having these groups is to offer collective guarantee for group members who wish to access microcredit and other microfinance services whose amount offered is successfully and sequentially higher. This is because there are no collateral required against microcredits.
I could say this approach has been effective in empowering many women achieve their financial and life goals. I know of a lady, let me call her Lydia in a town called Chwele here in Kenya, who began with 500 Kenya shillings (about $6.25) selling charcoal. Through microfinance arrangement she developed the habit of savings regularly and finally had a breakthrough when she quit trading in charcoal (which in itself is an environmentally degrading activity, and common source of energy in Kenya, as is in many other developing countries) and started a cereals grocery that is big now running in to thousands of dollars in worth. Herself is quite different from her former image, as far as standard of living is concerned. I have seen women open up themselves to multi-streams of income, a sure way of maximizing wealth, through microfinance. Others can afford sustainable growth of the small enterprises, and others are able to put their children through education.
To others however, it has been a bane to their success especially when they take loans that prove too demanding for the businesses to pay back. They end up having some of their properties attached by their respective groups due to their inability to comply to loan terms. This is where demand for training in such areas as budgeting, savings, investing and debt management (i.e. Financial Literacy) has become handy. I am currently putting much of my effort in this training area.
Generally however, I think microfinance is a major factor in empowering women who as expected in a developing world’s context are ‘sustainers’ of families. It is not uncommon to find them bearing the burden of breadwinners in families.
I cannot say with firmness that all these is being done because they are aware of the millennium development goals. I would rather conclude each of them who wakes up early to look for income is motivated by the individual’s desire to improve her status quo rather than a commitment to MDGs. The motivation is inherent. In fact what I can attest to is the vibrancy with which the Kenya Government’s vision 2030 has been marketed perfectly overshadowing other wider-scale futuristic foci.
For me I am grateful for the push for MDGs, for I am aware of what it is doing in other social and economic sectors nationally. Yet more still remain to be done. I wish you success in all your endeavors as we push towards economically empowered women.
With best regards

Robert K. Muraya
Business Adviser
Faulu Advisory Services,
Tel: +254721274225
Public website
skype robertmuraya

By: Xiaoge Luo Xiaoge Luo Mon, 09 Aug 2010 21:30:17 +0000 Women’s empowerment in Hunan province, China

Hello, my name is Xiaoge Luo. I am a professor at Department of Chinese Language of Hunan Business College (HBC). I have been working on Women -rights related research and activities since 1995. In 2002, I founded Women’s Studies Center at Hunan Business College. Through years of research and social work, I often find that there is a significant gap between women’s studies theory and the social problems today’s women are facing in China. To address this, I initiated and hosted a Ford Foundation funded project in Hunan province, China from 2006 to 2009. The project is named as Cross-professional cooperation: building a Hunan women/gender studies lecturer team for fostering communications between women’s studies researchers and women’s right social workers. Here, I would like to share some details of this project.

1.Team building

This project gained wide support from many organizations and institutions in Hunan province. Among them, there were seven major participants: Women’s Studies Center of Hunan Business College, Hunan Province Women Prison, Female Education Studies Center of Hunan Women’s University, Female Academy of Hunan Institute of Science and Technology, Social Work Department of Changsha Social Work College, Women’s Studies Center of Hunan Institute of Engineering, Women’s Department of Changsha General Labor Unions.

During the team building process, we aimed to create a democratic and transparent atmosphere and ensure equal participation and equal share of resources among all participants, especially the grass-root organizations. To achieve such goal, we successfully developed a “small group” operational mode and worked out a set of regulations, which can be summarized as open information, equal opportunity, leadership training, platform development, network support and sustainable development”.

Specifically, we have carried on three types of activities:

1.1 Out of the classroom

For members with academic background, we organized various out-of-school activities to broaden their understanding of current social problems and improving their interpersonal skills with women from lower socio-economical class. One good example is the year-long cooperation between higher education institutions and Hunan Provence Women Prison. During the cooperation, we organized many students and young lecturers to carry on face-to-face in-depth interview with women prisoners, offered painting class for women prisoners and organized social events in the prison. Such cooperation greatly enhanced the communication between academic institutions and social/governmental organizations and was beneficial to both academic research and social/governmental operations.

1.2 Come into the classroom

To promote social workers’ projects and valuable personal stories, we invited many into the classroom to give presentations about their work and their experience. The people we invited include: 1) Jinzhen Tian, a Miao minority peasant from remote Xiangxi area of Hunan who produced and directed a documentary on a girl traveling thousands of miles searching for her mother; 2) Xiaoxue (fake name), a single mother from Changsha talking about her struggle to build a successful career and raise a family all by herself; 3) Lan Zhao, warden of Hunan Province Women Prison, who first introduced art education into the prison; and 4) Zhunlian Chen, a social worker from the Women’s association of Changsha, sharing her years of experience helping domestic violence victims.

1.3 Take turns to be the host

To promote equal cooperation, we alternated the host of meetings between the seven participating organizations, which successfully improve the communication between different organizations.


2.1 Curriculum design

In 2004, we organized more than 10 colleges and universities to jointly create a introductory textbook on women’s studies. This book was selected as designated standard textbook by Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. The book has twelve chapters, which cover topics on women’s studies from the perspectives of sociology, history, political science, laws, education, economics, communication science, literature, medicine, psychology, aesthetics and other disciplines. Since the first edition, more than 40 universities have selected it as the textbook for women’s studies course. The book has sold more than 30k copies since 2004.

2.2 Class, research and campus activity: a three-way education

Since the start of our project, more than twenty Women’s /gender studies related courses have been established in Hunan higher education institutions. Teachers and students are encouraged to design research projects relevant to their courses and create students’ association on Women’s /gender studies. The campus activities organized included “March 8th female students’ day, “Appreciating Mother” public speech contest, “white ribbon” campaign against domestic violence, “red ribbon” HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, etc.

2.3 Website

During the project, Women’s Studies Center at Hunan Business College created a website, which provides downloads for women’s studies and women/gender related social work.


After reviewing the current situation of women’s studies in China, we thought there were two categories of issues that need to be addressed foremost: 1) China’s local women-related social issues; 2) the diversity of China’s women culture and tradition. Our research were focused on these two categories of issues and lead to a series of published articles and books (for more information, see Here I would like to share one research project on art education for Hunan Province Women’s Prison inmates.

In this project, we used a participatory approach. All participated inmates were registered on a voluntary basis. There were totally 26 inmates joined the painting class, with age ranging from 15 to 59 years old. The majority of the participants are from the remote, poor mountainous area of Hunan province.

Instructed by painting teachers, participated inmates created more than 300 pieces of paintings (for more information see Art education gave the participated inmates a channel to express and communicate their feelings with families and communities outside the jail and helped to reduce the inmates’ fear of being rejected by society after releasing from the jail. Such activities significantly increased their willingness to correcting wrong behavior and the confidence to reintegrate into the society. Following are some quotes from the inmates,

“I have already taken the painting as my loyal friend and put what’s in my mind and what I want to say on the canvas. It gave my heart a relaxing place. ”

” I found myself feeling a lot better than before. My heart is now open and sensitive to the outside world. Wandering in the paintings’ world, (what) my eyes (see) are prettier, my heart lightened and life is fun again! ”


From this four-year Ford Foundation project, I find that cross-professional cooperation is an very effective way of promoting women empowerment and gender equality in China. Cross-professional cooperation can research much wider aspects of the society than pure academic research or grass-root campaign. From the academic research perspective, it provides the first hand understanding of current women’s living situation in China, while from the women social workers’ perspective, it helps them to accept and understand more up-to-date concepts of empowerment of women and gender equality.

Translated by Anzi Hu


By: Judith Feremba Judith Feremba Fri, 06 Aug 2010 11:17:55 +0000 I have taught Organizational Behavior and Entrepreneurship to 18 MBA classes in Zimbabwe and Mozambique since 2004.Gender equity issues are topical in these areas and the highest number of female students I have ever taught in one class is 5, irrespective of the total number of students in the class, with most classes having no female students. In Zimbabwe the MBA classes I have taught range from 20 to 60 students per class while in Mozambique the numbers are from 5 to 20 students (Mozambique is a Portugese speaking country but these classes are conducted in English, only at this institution.hence the number of studens doing MBA is generally low).

I always ask the question, “Why are there so few women in management and in business?” The following are some of the contributions that the students have brought up:-
a) People with limited financial resources ussually send boys through higher education and leave girls because the girls may marry a rich person even with little education.
b) Girls are usually given the task of being care givers when there is an ill person in the family(most people still believe that girls have to be taught house chores while boys have different roles from girls)
c) In church or in politics, women usually vote for men to be in power or positions of influence even though there are more women in the constituencies than men.
d) Most men prefer marrying a woman who is less educated than they are and will usually not support the woman to advance her education (especially if the advancement would end wih the woman being more educated than the man.)
e) Most women who run growing businesses are not married (they are either divorced or they have never married); Or, for those still married, the marriages are tumbling. NB: Marriage is viewed as very important in life.
f) Most women support male bosses more than they would support a female boss though men show little differences in their support for male and female bosses.

The students have given the following suggestions to deal with some of the challenges:-

1) There is need for governmens to set asside funds for the education of the girl child. Though a government may put incentives in place for he education of females, especially in higher education, financial constraints still inhibit the females from accessing higher education in particular.

2) There is need for a paradim shift in the way women view themselves and other women in power and politics. this can be achieved through training/education.

3) Women must be given a specific percentage of seats in parliament, with educated women being encouraged to participate in politics. (Most women in politics are deputies and no woman has ever been nominated for presidency). The students believe that with more women in parliament, a lot of policies will change towards more tangible development.

4) Research should be conducted to establish the authentic reasons why women’s participation in politics and in business is minimal.

By: Paolo OBERTI Paolo OBERTI Thu, 05 Aug 2010 13:27:57 +0000 Dear all,
I have vouched for a more determined fight against illiteracy which still keeps almost 800 million fellow human beings in the darkness of being unable to read and write and do basic math. It is a scourge that cries in the face of humankind. I will keep raising my voice until it is heard and more strict and effective measures are adopted by the international community at large to end it!
In previous interventions in the dialogue, I proposed that concrete measures be taken. For instance, the renewal of the Decade to fight illiteracy, since the first decade will end in 2012 with very meager results; I have also appealed to world magnates and most active and generous activists in the field of philanthropy so that they turn their attention also to this aspect of development, certainly a less appealing subject than HIV/AIDS, health care for malnourished children, basic ICT access capabilities to children, etc..; I have also briefly described an effective system that has brought enlightment and hope to over 1 million people already in Latin America and the Caribbean in a simple and very joyful way, by playing.
I HAVE A DREAM which I would like to share with you. And that is that sooner rather than later, we will have obliterated illiteracy from the face of the earth, that not a single adult or youngster, be denied the fundamental right of access to reading, writing and do basic math; and that all children have access to quality schools;
I HAVE A DREAM that more and more people devote their attention to this basic obstacle to human development in its holistic conception and to the achievement of all the MDG’s;
I HAVE A DREAM that social injustice will decrease tremendously once illiteracy is deleted and more and more people will participate in the building of a prosperous and peaceful world;
I HAVE A DREAM that the ABCDEspañol method will call the attention of funding agencies and/or philanthropists (The Giving Pledge) so that a revolving fund of 10 to 20 million dollars is established to help decrease illiteracy significantly in various countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean, and to expand its use also to Africa and Asia.
I am doing my best. Will you also join in to make my dream come true?

Paolo Oberti
5 August 2010

By: scholarships for women scholarships for women Wed, 04 Aug 2010 01:03:33 +0000 Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

By: Oliver Subasinghe, Devex Moderator Oliver Subasinghe, Devex Moderator Mon, 02 Aug 2010 14:18:54 +0000 The White House unveiled today (June 30) its strategy for meeting the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. Members of the development community said the plan was a welcome move but added that many questions remain unanswered. (Read more).

By: kalibongo Robert kalibongo Robert Fri, 30 Jul 2010 09:15:33 +0000 millenium Development Goals can only be achieved if corruption is dealt with, political leaders in third world countries like uganda are doing things that best suit their interest. development initiatives are segregativey given to those who support the party in power (NRM) and this make the majority population marginalised.precisely democracy and the rule of law should first be promoted .
Secondly women especially from third world countries should be sensitised to understand clearly gender equality because the misinterpretation is fueling domestic violences in families which directly affects economic planning in homesteads.
Thirdly promotion of technology should be emphacised inorder to combat the problem of joblessness among the productive youth and service delivery in the health sector should be improved(stealing of drugs by health workers is the most challenge)