Women and girls are a crucial part of agricultural communities and investing in them is smart choice with proven high returns. 43% of all work in agriculture is done by women. The ripple effect of supporting education and skills training for girls and women causes a huge list of benefits for communities. It helps boost economic growth, curbs infant mortality, improves child nutrition, leads to healthier, smaller families.
Quality education for girls
Research shows that every additional year of school a woman attends increases her wages by an average of 15 percent – earnings that she will likely invest in her family. Providing better infrastructure and materials encourages girls not only to enrol but also to remain in school into their teen years. Better water, sanitation and hygiene mean that girls can manage their periods in a safe and clean environment with dignity whilst at school. Jobs skills training in innovative farming methods, tailoring, mechanics, and IT help girls develop skills for life, by providing decent work opportunities, a better income and breaking the cycle of poverty.
Village saving and loan groups help communities to loan and save money. Improving financial management in rural areas reduces poverty and provides a steady income for many families. 60% of ECLT supported VSLA members are women. When women are financially independent are more likely to invest in their children’s education, keeping them away from child labour and providing them with a brighter future. Fyness, a VSLA member in Tanzania, shared “I am now able to feed my family three times a day, pay school fees for my children and make some savings”. Fyness used her savings to invest in goats and open her own shop, improving her household income, and making her less vulnerable to economic shocks.
Improved daily routines
Women and girls spend 200 million hours collecting water every day.Installing water pumps means that women don’t have to walk for miles to collect water, carry heavy loads and put themselves at risk of violence or dangerous animals. Women have more time to dedicate to their families and their livelihoods.
Collecting firewood is also traditionally a chore done by women and girls in rural areas. More efficient rocket stoves use less firewood, retain heat and produce less smoke than traditional stoves and are a safer option for rural families who do not have access to electricity. Women don’t have to collect firewood as often and homes are less polluted by smoke and gases, providing a safer, healthier home for children.
Simple solutions provide women with the tools to empower themselves and their families. Better education, financial independence, and cleaner, safer, less time-consuming domestic work mean that women and girls can reach their full-potential.