Welcome! Whether you have been following us from the very beginning or have only just heard about us, as our President, Marjorie Margolies is well-known to say: “You’re gonna love us.” Welcome to our new blog series, where we hope to provide our readers with an inside look at Women’s Campaign International, and the stories behind why we do what we do. Now, to remind you all how we began, and where we are now…
Women’s Campaign International (WCI) was founded in 1998, under the direction of former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies. After leading the United States delegation to Beijing for the United Nations World Conference on Women, she returned to the United States with the determination and vigor to influence worldwide change toward equality and peace for women. Equipped with a deep understanding of the profound difficulties faced by some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, including refugees, women in post-conflict regions, and victims of sexual and gender based violence, WCI was born. Fast forward almost two decades, and present day WCI has now worked in over 45 countries worldwide with more than 400,000 individuals. WCI’s flexible, sustainable program design is unique to the nonprofit sector. In order to inspire true change that will last generations, our programs are carried out at the grassroots level through partnerships with local organizations, implementing skill building to be passed down after active programming has concluded. With each program, we are committed to instilling the culturally sensitive support and relevant skills that empowers women and transforms communities. We are extremely proud of where we are today, and thankful to those that have helped us get here. Keep reading for an exciting update on our ongoing programming in Liberia!
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program in Liberia
WCI has partnered with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program since 2010, an initiative to foster economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world with business education and access to capital. To date, the program has reached over 10,000 women across 56 countries through a network of 100 academic, nonprofit and capital partners. In Liberia, through partnerships with WCI and Global Communities, the program has provided nearly 300 women with entrepreneurship training, business advising and mentoring.
This past July, WCI and 10,000 Women successfully completed the third round in a series of trainings. The latest training was held in Monrovia, with 47 alumni of the 10,000 Women program in attendance. The daylong training was focused on empowering women as money managers, teaching tangible financial skills such as budgeting and record keeping. Topics are determined as a result of in-depth discussions with alumni leadership ensuring that the curriculum is relevant and useful, and tailored to the participants needs. Designed to build upon one another, the past two trainings covered business leadership, focusing on problem solving and how to identify strengths and weaknesses of a business, and organizational development, teaching networking skills.
Throughout the lesson WCI encourages the 10,000 Women alumni to work together and share ideas, while being provided with a safe space to make mistakes and ask questions. The women are then prompted to make connections to their own finances from the hypothetical situations presented during the lesson. As a result, participants leave the trainings with a concrete set of skills and the practical background knowledge to implement it in their daily lives.
Dede Dolopei was excited to tell us how her revenue has grown since she began the program with 10,000 Women and WCI. Her catering business has expanded from her house to a business center, and she has recently hired two new employees. Dede explained that as a result of the program, a business network of women has been established throughout Liberia. Dede now mentors women in her community on savings and loans practices.
For Helen Kulue, the trainings opened her eyes and boosted her confidence. Although her waste management work that keeps communities clean is on a contract basis, she has recently hired 41 new employees including 20 women and 16 youth across 2 new communities. Helen mentors 17 women in her community, maintaining that, as she put it, “Anything a man can do, a woman can do better”.
Coming up, the third training session will be held this September, focused on marketing and making informed business decisions. Following the September training will be a trade fair in November, where all participants are invited to showcase their products or services, networking with investors and one another to put their newly learned skills to use. We are excited to share the final results with all of you. Don’t miss it- make sure to subscribe to our blog here!