Strengthening Inclusive Economies: Initiatives/Partners

Women’s Leadership for Economic Empowerment and Food Security in Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia

Issues of sustainable economic growth and food security have enormous and interlocking impact on the lives of women and girls, particularly in the African context. Without economic security, women may lack the means for food security. Women play a key economic role in the food system – as farmers, market traders and preparers of food, yet often fail to benefit economically from this role due to broader barriers that limit their voice, their access to land and resources, and their opportunities to develop and use considerable knowledge and strengths. Despite the interlocking nature of these issues in the lives of women and girls on the ground, at the macro level, they are often treated as separate sectors to be addressed from above by large-scale development actors.

This project has at its core women’s empowerment and capacity building as key to achieving broader goals of economic development and food security. The Coady International Institute will work with partners in three key countries, Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia, over a five year period to ignite the leadership of grassroots women and their organizations to address these issues in an empowered, sustainable and effective way.

The project arises out of long-term relationships between the Coady Institute and each of the country partners: University for Development Studies (UDS) in Ghana, Women for Change (WfC) in Zambia, and Women in Self Employment (WISE) in Ethiopia. While delivering concrete results on the ground in-country, the project will strengthen the institutional capacities of our three key partners as important educational institutions for women’s leadership and economic empowerment; will develop, test and disseminate innovative approaches to food security and economic livelihoods issues; and will build stronger networks and linkages with private sector, government and other development actors to increase aid effectiveness and leverage impact more broadly.

Indian School of Microfinance For Women

In 2003, the Self Employed Women’s Association of India(SEWA)Friends of Women’s World Banking and the Coady International Institute joined together to start the first-of-its-kind Indian School of Microfinance for Women (ISMW), which aims to build the capacity of like-minded organizations to respond to the financial needs of the millions of Indian women engaged micro-enterprises – selling vegetables on the street, carrying goods to the market, rolling cigarettes, and tailoring.

ISMW has emerged as a key resource for the microfinance sector in India in the areas of research, capacity building of microfinance institutions and particularly financial literacy. In 2008, ISMW launched a National Financial Literacy Drive aimed at reaching over one million women with financial literacy training.