We focus on small groups, allowing each individual we work with to tell us what she needs to feel equipped for her own success. Our micro grant program allows for the flexibility needed for each iperson, and our small scale allows for minimal overhead and maximum impact
Women Equipped believes in the voice of the individual, the strength in community, and the power of relationships.
Our Small Business Development Program
Our January 2014 Business Training Group meets with our trainer.
Our Business Training Groups are the heart of Women Equipped's work. Training groups are generally made up of three people. With the support and guidance of our Ethiopian staff, members create a plan to starting or grow a small business, capitalizing on their talents and aspirations.
Our group participants are drawn from same community - often members of the same family - providing each other with day-to-day support during their business development process.
The types of businesses developed vary widely. Our members have opened small shops in their homes, built businesses providing traditionally served coffee, opened vegetable and fruit stands, expanded roadside tea and beer shops, and started making injera, the staple bread in most Ethiopian households, to sell outside the home.
Our participants receive training in topics related to running a small business, ranging from marketing to book-keeping. After their first two-day session, our participants receive a grant (typically about $300) to launch their business. They later receive individualized follow-up training, and have access to the counsel of our in-country team in the meantime.
Participants provide updates on their progress for the first year after receiving their grant, and most also agree to serve as mentors to future trainees opening similar businesses.
Our School Uniform Program
Schooling is provided by the government in Addis Ababa, but uniforms are not, and they are required for each child who attends school. For many disadvantaged families, the purchase a uniform is a barrier to access to education for their children. We help remove that barrier to opportunity by covering this expense for the families we work with. We also provide a backpack and school supplies.
Fifty dollars provides a child with a uniform and school supplies, supporting education and a brighter future!
Our Short Term Sponsorship Program
Women Equipped provides short-term (6-12 month) sponsorships offset education and nutrition costs for children as their families develop and grow their businesses.
As is the case for small business creators everywhere, proceeds from the businesses often are funneled directly where there is the most need - immediate household demands, outstanding debts, etc. Our short term sponsorships are intended to cushion families, giving them the best chance for long-term success.
These sponsorships are offered on a case-by-case basis, with the amount and duration determined by the needs and vulnerabilities of each individual family.
Our Ongoing Sponsorship Program
This is our smallest program. We provide a limited number of ongoing sponsorships for children and families who have previously worked with another nonprofit, who has since shut its' doors. We feel that these sponsorships meet the needs of the specific individuals involved - however, this is a program we do not currently plan to expand.
Questions? Please use the Contact Us form to get in touch, or email us at womenequipped [at] gmail [dot] com. We'd love to tell you more about our current programs and our plans for the future.