Since 2007, Women for Women International’s (WfWI) partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies has catalyzed our mission to help women marginalized by war and conflict around the world achieve financial independence, become advocates and change makers, and create a ripple effect across generations to come with their newly embraced rights and opportunities.
With the support of four generous grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies provided through the organization’s Women’s Economic Development program, WfWI has established dynamic local partnerships across 90 communities in Rwanda, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to create programming to achieve our goal of investing in women’s holistic health and wellbeing including, opportunities to earn and save money and become decision makers in their families and communities. After shifting our operations to focusing on more targeted program for Rwanda and the DRC in 2013, we’ve established twenty private and public sector partnerships in both countries since the program’s inception.
An independent report published by the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) this year attested to the success and impact of our Bloomberg-sponsored programming in Rwanda and the DRC. Between 2008 to 2018, SAIS surveyed 14,370 people for the evaluation, which included program participants, program graduates, and key stakeholders.
The report compared the income, emotional well-being, savings, debts and assets of program graduates to those of non-participants over a period of 30 days. Not only did the program have high participation and graduation rates, but program graduates also reported achieving measurable goals, such as financial independence, which was identified as one of the most significant changes in their lives due to Women for Women International's programming.
“The difference between the woman I am today and the one who enrolled in the program is that I now control my income. I have become intelligent and smart, I know how to save, I know how to grow coffee, I control the little income I earn.”
-Program Graduate, DRC
Below are the findings of the comparison:
Graduates of our program in Rwanda reported an increase in their income to $11.27. They also doubled their savings to $27.26, compared to an average of $12.27 for women who did not participate in the program.
In addition, participants increased their earnings as owners of land, livestock, and possessions like televisions and radios, compared to women who owned these assets but didn’t participate in the program.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Overall, 83 per cent of program participants had a positive view of the program’s impact on their economic opportunities.
The progress made by participants is evident – they reported an increase in their earnings to $53, and their savings rose by 40 per cent, reaching $43.35 compared to an average of $30.04 for non-participants. Women who owned assets also saw an increase in their earnings.
The results of interviews conducted with program participants in Nigeria found that the program had a positive effect on their overall social welfare and well-being.
Participants reported feeling more confident in their ability to solve a crisis, with an average rating of 7.3. This increase was particularly notable among women who did not participate in the program.
Every day, the women we serve through Women for Women International’s programming use their training, skills and resources to achieve social empowerment and financial independence, because it's clear:
Investing in women is the smart thing to do.