Choose to Challenge Our World to Support Woman Entrepreneurs
NGOs fighting to empower women living below the poverty line are challenged by our new reality. COVID-19 compels us to alter our day-to-day practices to protect ourselves and others. These necessary changes have unintended consequences. Those living in poverty are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic and its economic impacts.
In 2020 the number of people living in poverty worldwide increased from 119 million to 124 million, reversing the decline seen over the last two decades. This had a disproportionate impact on women. Street Business School (SBS) is fighting for female empowerment because when women earn incomes they tend to help themselves, their children, and their communities.
Igniting our approach
On International Women’s Day, SBS Global Ambassadors are hosting virtual events to help SBS reach more women like Harriet, a tomato vendor and mother, shown below. Global Ambassadors help entrepreneurs like her thrive. Jonna Holland, Global Ambassador co-chair, says, “I believe the most important step in gender equality is for women to have the power to choose their own destiny. SBS training gives women the confidence to develop this power and to transform the future for themselves and their children. The success of SBS inspires me to be a part of this transformation!”
Thanks to these dedicated individuals, SBS surpassed our fiscal year goal of training 300 women in the Uganda Learning Lab. In fact, we enrolled or trained 613 women! We are determined to go even further by training 1,200 women this fiscal year.
SBS has also innovated. In December 2020 we launched the “Spark Line,” a real-time business coaching service. Additionally, we debuted the “Get Up On Your Feet” module. This focused learning encourages participants to identify potential resources, including friends and family, and provides guidance on conducting business remotely. This training allowed Harriet to stay afloat. She reports, “I am so grateful for the phone calls I received from my coaches. They encouraged me, but most of all the extra training we got by phone helped me start another business.”
“You are your own greatest resource.”
Nothing compares to the adaptability of women like Harriet, who choose to challenge themselves daily. COVID-19 initially forced Harriet to live off savings. The new module helped her reduce expenses and start a second business to recoup losses. It also guided her through local public health restrictions. She recalls, “I wasn’t sure how I was going to start my business again because the lockdown went on and on. I was told that I could still continue running my business by following the rules set for us by the health worker.” Her husband also adapted, doing housework while Harriet worked outside the home. As SBS teaches, these women are “[their] own greatest resource.”
Choose to challenge yourself to ignite the spark
Our Global Ambassador program participants empower women like Harriet to put their talents to work. In co-chair Pat Brown’s words, “You know when something grips (and fills) your heart and soul? That’s exactly what SBS and the Global Ambassador program did to me.” She continues, “The SBS Global Ambassador program provides an amazingly simple, impactful, interactive or virtual or in-person program/event that anyone can adapt and share with friends, family, colleagues, or organizations.” She concludes, “I know that, especially in the last year, sometimes it’s an easy question whether you can truly make a difference. My adamant answer is YES, YOU CAN!”
Help SBS ignite entrepreneurship worldwide. Sign-up to become an SBS Global Ambassador.