“Charities should not come into existence to become businesses.” Lucy Rae, Project Director, Forgotten Women
Standard charity models revolve around providing food, medicine, shelter, educational aid etc. All these aid streams require constant feeding of donor capital in order to maintain them. This makes women dependent which could compromise their dignity. Month after month the same person and same causes are drip fed donations collected from the donors. The problem with this model is that it can and will create donor fatigue and it also puts the welfare of the recipient at risk by making them vulnerable on handouts and this not the best strategy and use of funds.
Survival Vs Basic Needs
Dependency negatively effects self-worth, in self-esteem and confidence to impact the individual to make a change. Research shows that women in Somalia, Malawi, Bangladeshi, Pakistan and India will do a full day’s work for less than $2, simply trying to feed their family and provide a safe shelter. $2 is just enough to buy just one very basic meal. As the woman of the house struggles to support her family, the pressure is often passed on to the children who in most cases will take to the streets looking for opportunities to make quick money. This can result in child labor and child prostitution.
‘LIFT’ Leveraging Investment For Transformation
The LIFT model developed by Forgotten Women differs from standard charity models because it is designed, with three important factors:
1. Tackle problems at their root cause
2. Devise solutions so that they achieve maximum and long term impact
3. Provide immediate income
How It Works
Investing in a woman is the fastest way to end poverty, a woman will invest 90% of her money back in to her family and community because she is the backbone of society. Our LIFT model can take a single donation to train and transform a woman to stand on her feet so that she can generate and income which in turn means she can then take care of providing food, shelter and education. Our Model addresses the root cause by tackling poverty and economic issues faced by women.
A one-off intervention will go towards a fully functioning business setup including necessary up-skilling and training. Every woman has a different skill set and passion, this is why it is important and part of a successful project construct that the team sit with each beneficiary and let her draw up her own business plan. We evaluate and cost the business and create a profit forecast. We will then give training on how to handle the particular business and accompany each woman to buy her business components. Support and guidance are always provided as and when the women need it.
Tried and Tested
We have measured the practical outcome of our model in Somalia, Malawi, Pakistan and Bangladesh resulting in a high success rate of women earning and making a profit from their businesses from the start. Women who are selected are suffering in serve poverty who have no support of a husband, no income avenue and children to support. The retail kiosk project in Somalia flourished which was based around our LIFT model, women created immediate income which is an important factor as beneficiaries are in dire need of food and money. As an example, the kiosk is made from metal and timber measuring 2.5m x 1.5m x 2.5m which is given to the women fully stocked with fast selling grocery items. The kiosks are painted in colours chosen by the women and placed in locations of their choice. Many of the women choose to have them placed outside of their homes as it makes it easier for them to cater for their dependents some of whom could either disabled or suffering from long term illness.
Our 6 monthly reports show that all the women supported are generally managing the kiosk, most of the women have added extensions to their kiosks making them bigger and increasing the range of goods they stock. We have so far managed a 100% success rate. And this was all with an injection of £800 per woman.
Our LIFT model is designed to give women greater economic empowerment which not only benefits their families, households, communities, but ultimately their country. Our aim is to reduce inequality and increase economic growth for the less developing countries. We envision a world where every woman is given the opportunity to live a life free from humiliation, poverty and abuse. A world in which women are free to preserve their dignity, health, well-being and economic independence.