We support women and girls in war and crisis zones

Fighting poverty

Secure livelihood, enable self-determined future

Worldwide, many girls are denied the right to education and thus to a self-determined future. Patriarchal role models contribute to women being financially dependent on their husbands or families. Unmarried women, widows or single mothers are often faced with discrimination and hostility in many patriarchal societies even today. Additionally, they carry the stigma of having been raped, making it even more difficult to return to a life free of violence and oppression.

medica mondiale supports women with income generating measures, so they can secure their own livelihood and shape their own future in a self-determined manner. These include vocational training, start-up aid to set up a small business, self-help groups and literacy courses.

Practical example: Loan associations in Liberia

In Liberia there is a widespread movement of “village savings and loan associations” (VSLA), which primarily help with income-generating measures. In the target communities, medica Liberia establishes VSLA, which generally have 20 women members. The five or six women in the Women Support group of that community form the board of directors of the village savings and loan association.

Each participating woman pays a membership contribution and, in return, she is entitled to borrow money from the VSLA. She might need this to pay school fees or invest in seeds. She then has to pay back this money, plus interest. These interest payments then form an emergency fund, which is administered by the directors (members of the Women Support group). The emergency fund also receives money in the form of “fines”, which have to be paid if, for example, a member fails to attend the weekly meeting without excusing themselves in advance. Part of the interest payments can also be paid out to the women in the group at the end of the year. These funds, which are at the disposal of the women themselves, lead to financial independence and thus contribute to the self-empowerment and self-confidence of the women.