MicroLoan Foundation has launched its latest campaign, EmpowerHer, today in a bid to help 50,000 female entrepreneurs in Africa. The initiative comes as the poverty gap for vulnerable women and girls continues to grow, something that the Covid-19 pandemic has made worse because of its disproportionate impact on this demographic.
UN Women, for instance, has warned that the pandemic will push 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line, reversing decades of progress to eradicate extreme poverty.
In 2019, 80% of the women who joined MicroLoan Foundation were living below the global $2.50 per day poverty line and 47% were living in extreme poverty, meaning they were struggling to survive on less than $1.25 per day.
MicroLoan Foundation, which operates in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, wants to offer loans and ongoing business training to help women become self-sufficient for their daily needs and to counter the financial impact of Covd-19. Over time the money they earn helps to provide food security, better housing, access to healthcare, and an education for their children. Over 17% of the women who have been with MicroLoan Foundation for more than one year are moving out of extreme poverty. This is a significant achievement considering many of these families have been living in extreme poverty for generations.
The EmpowerHer campaign has the support of scores of female entrepreneurs across the UK, including Founder and CEO of Mutu System Wendy Powell, Gill Thorpe Founder and CEO of The Sourcing Team, Sandra Pinnington Founder of the WLA (Women’s Leadership Association), Eva James Director of Impress Travel, Hannah Martin from Talented Ladies Club and many more.
MicroLoan Foundation also needs the support of others and is asking people to consider donating £40 or more to help the EmpowerHer campaign. To put that figure into perspective, £40 will help a women with a start up loan and £121 will be able to provide training and loans to an aspiring woman for a whole year. You can contribute to the campaign here.
Medha Wilson, Group CEO of MicroLoan Foundation, said: “We are delighted to launch the EmpowerHer campaign, with the aim of transforming the lives of 50,000 female entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa by helping them become self-sufficient for their daily needs. The Covid-19 pandemic has catalysed many things, including the widening of the gender poverty gap, making women and girls more vulnerable. That is why it is so important that we launch this initiative now with the support of female business leaders and founders across the UK.”
Hannah Martin, Founder and Director of Talented Ladies Club, said: “It’s a privilege to support MicroLoan Foundation’s EmpowerHer campaign. As a company our mission is to unlock the potential of mothers; to empower them and help them provide for their families. So we see MicroLoan’s work as essential. MicroLoan doesn’t just change the lives of individual women – they transform the fate of entire communities. Just the smallest donation can make the world of difference to people living in unbelievably tough circumstances, thanks to their work.”
Sandra Pinnington, Founder of the WLA (Women’s Leadership Association, said: “As founder of the WLA (Women Leaders Association) I am delighted to support the EmpowerHer campaign. MicroLoan Foundation offers true hope for women who have nowhere to turn. Not only does the entrepreneurship programme help women get back on their feet, but it has a powerful knock on effect on their immediate families and surrounding community. We are very lucky here in the UK to have enough food to feed ourselves and incredible healthcare and education to enable us all to achieve more in the world and we sometimes take this for granted. We have seen, at first hand, the powerful effect empowering women can have whatever their context. And that’s why the WLA is creating the first of its kind ‘Coach-a-thon’ with all revenue going to the EmpowerHer campaign.”
Gill Thorpe, Founder and CEO of The Sourcing Team, said: “I am proud to support the work of MicroLoan Foundation now more than ever with their much needed EmpowerHer campaign. As a female business owner, I understand the pressures we face here in the UK but the challenges for these women in Africa trying to find an income are immense and even more so due to the impact of Covid-19. The wider impact of changing not only their lives but the lives of their children and communities by giving them the opportunity and tools to help lift them out of poverty now is a brilliant initiative.”
Wendy Powell, Founder and CEO of MUTU System, said: “I am delighted to be supporting the Microloan EmpowerHer campaign, which is spotlighting several crucial challenges faced by our generation regarding gender inequality and poverty. In times such as this, it is more important than ever to have a clear call to action in order to support those hit hardest by the pandemic. This is not just about advocacy but inciting sustainable action which can really make a visible difference to people’s lives, and this is something that draws me to the incredible work of the Microloan Foundation and in particular this campaign.
“Women around the world are facing constant challenges, the likes of which have only been heightened as a result of the ongoing pandemic which has been shown to impact women in a disproportionate way. The very crux of the EmpowerHer campaign is about mobilising a collaborative effort to reach these women, give them hope and equip them with the means to build the brighter, sustainable futures they deserve.”