Women’s Empowerment Program (Havu, Togo)

Project Lead: Maci Woyat

Overview:

The women we will be working with for this particular women’s empowerment program will be women who are in the palm oil cooperative. They are hoping to be given a loan for a palm oil machine to ease the production of palm oil. Although we will be teaching general personal finance skills to the women in the program, they will be clearly using FinMango to help with their business, and for that reason we aim to teach them entrepreneurial skills and how to finance a business as well. We hope to also talk about investing in their communities and themselves.

Goals:

  1. Put together a plan for a loan, and integrate the cooperative saving into the class to use the skills in class in a real life situation
  2. Discuss the benefits of saving, look into using microfinancing groups in Havu as a place to put saved money instead of saving it personally
  3. Talk about running businesses (ie. the principles of coops, basic business principles, trade and negotiation agreements) and the importance of investing in the community and themselves (Possibly discuss RSPO certification in the future)
  4. Give the women the tools to run a successful business and successful saving plans to empower them to become not only leaders in their community, but to inspire other women and girls to take charge of their financial futures and independence. 

Specifications:

When we do this program with the women in Havu, we will be specific to their industry and interests. However, we can make this more general for groups of women/girls with variable interests or change the course to fit other industries and interests. This model is simply a first step and therefore is the foundation or structure that we can base our other female empowerment programs on.

Milestones:

  • Basic Personal Finance Skills
    • To repay the loan the women will need to learn how to create realistic savings plans and day to day budgeting. This will replicate closely the previous FinMango programs. Using the loan in class as a reason to save (as well as adding any other personal savings goals) will make the class relevant and hands on.
  • Basic Business Skills
    • In order to help with making their investment in their business worth it (the loan) we want to help them go further. The more they know about their work, the further they will take themselves. We will discuss definitions and the principles of being a cooperative, understanding how to make trade agreements and negotiation skills, discuss group saving and cooperative financing, and discuss organization and business planning.
  • Invest in Their Community and Themselves
    • This coincides with the business skills, but will leave the women looking into their bright futures that are theirs for the taking. Part of saving cooperatively is to raise money to invest. Investing in others in their community can give them a nice return (especially businesses that use their services). Also, investing in their futures. Discussing certification (something like RSPO possibly), further education, further innovation will remind them that there is no limit to how far they can go!

Pictures from our Empowerment Project Launch in Havu, Togo: