When you help women, societies prosper. It’s one of our core beliefs here at All Across Africa. This year, we want to do more. That’s why we’re going to donate 10% of all revenue from our Mother’s Day collection for April and May to Every Mother Counts, the charity that supports improvements to maternal healthcare.
How Helping Women Helps Society
One of the reasons so many of us honor our mothers every year is because we recognize their pivotal role in our growth and development. But mothers – and women – are also pivotal on a global scale.
A recent World Bank report highlighted that increasing women’s voice – their ability to speak and be heard and considered – and their agency – their ability to contribute as equal partners and make decisions – helps to improve families, communities and society. Everyone’s economic and psychological well-being prospers as a result.
But though this recognition is helpful, we’re a long way from a world where women have the voice and the agency they need. Across the world women are affected by gender-based violence, a lack of control over their reproductive rights, less legal power and representation, and less access to land and housing. All of this perpetuates a cycle of poverty.
Empowering Women Across Africa
We want to help break that cycle. While All Across Africa works with whole communities, one of our primary focuses is empowering and investing in women. They are the engine that drives other progress in communities and societies. Provide women with financial stability and they can educate their children.
It’s why we do what we do: connecting women – and men – in rural communities with markets in bigger countries that value their work. Many of our artisans are women and mothers, using the income they earn to support families and communities with food, shelter and education. They all earn a regular living wage, as well as incentives for meeting quality standards.
We measure success not just by product sales, but by improvements in their lives, and the lives of their communities. And we can see progress in the breaking of the cycle of poverty. Many of the women who run cooperatives and work as artisans also recognize this:
Seraphine, an artisan from Rwanda had to drop out of school at 14. By working with All Across Africa, she’s broken the cycle for her children. “I’ve been able to make more than enough money to satisfy my basic needs and children’s education. I was able to take out a loan to build a new house, pay school fees for all seven children, and that’s not all – I actually have money to invest in different things like land for farming, livestock, renovating my house, and electricity.”
Nyanzira, a weaver from Rwanda is paying it forward. "Weaving has uplifted my life. As a result, I try to uplift the lives of other women. I was elected to serve on a council of women in my sector, where I advocate for the development and advancement of women in my community... Not only has All Across Africa helped me take care of my children and give them a better life, but it has also inspired me to reach out to the greater community. I hope that my role as a strong female leader encourages other women to be strong leaders as well."
Dancile Mukansanga, a coop leader from Uganda has used her income to support the family after her husband lost his job: "With my increased income, we were able to continue supporting my son’s education. He recently graduated high school, and we could not be more proud. As a parent, the biggest pride in life is watching your kids succeed. Since weaving in a cooperative for KAZI, life has significantly improved for my family. Since I am able to financially contribute to my family’s wellbeing, I’ve gained confidence to speak to my husband in a different way and see our relationship growing. I know I am fulfilling my family’s needs and leaving them in a better place. I am more confident in myself knowing that my children are proud to call me their mom, and my husband respects me as an equal partner.”
Their experiences keep us motivated to keep doing more to help mothers, women and communities thrive. Our partnership with Every Mother Counts is one more way to do that and to celebrate mothers, not just on Mother’s Day, but all year round.