Help Women Feed the World

by Women Thrive Worldwide
Economic Opportunity Report
Economic Opportunity Report

We know that investing in women farmers - such as providing them with information, land rights, organizing support, time-savings systems, and better access to public-private partnerships - not only benefits women and their families economically, but also increases overall global crop production.

However, existing programs have often skewed toward middle- and upper-income women and overlooked those who live on less than $2 USD a day.  Such practices leave the most marginalized women and girls trapped in a cycle of poverty with draining resources and limiting growth.

To reduce overall poverty, we must take a closer look at the primary obstacles that women living in extreme poverty face in obtaining sustainable, productive economic opportunities.  As such, Women Thrive is excited to share our latest report entitled, “Less Than Two Dollars a Day: Creating Economic Opportunity for Women and Men Living in Extreme Poverty in Developing Countries.”

Key findings from the report include:

• Although both market access and property rights are critical for economic advancement, interventions focused in either area will be limited until the broader issues of the informal economy, largely made up of male and female farmers, are addressed.

• Countries with the largest populations in poverty also have high rates of agricultural employment, like South Asia (60 percent of employment in agriculture) and Sub-Saharan Africa (65 percent).  

 • While the informal sector normally refers to the non-agricultural economy, the predominant lack of social protection, formal employment arrangements, organized businesses, and regulations make agriculture a major part of the informal sector.

 The report concludes with specific, strong recommendations that stakeholders—donors, practitioners, researchers and advocates—can take to help mobilize resources to women at the base of the economic pyramid, reducing hunger and poverty.

The information and recommendations presented in this newly released report will help Women Thrive to inform a new multi-year policy initiative on women’s economic opportunity that will be launched this coming Fall.

Thank you for your interest and ongoing support.  The research, report, and upcoming policy initiative would not be possible without your belief in us as well as your generous donations.  We look forward to sharing more updates and successes in our joint efforts to end world hunger.


Christine Bond

Organizational Advancement Intern

It is disheartening to think about how many factors weaken a woman’s ability to provide for her family. In light of the recent holidays such as Earth Day and World Water Day, Women Thrive has been sending strong messages about how imperative access to clean water, land rights and climate change are to women farmers. These are just a few obstacles that restrict women from being able to adequately feed their families. Just ask our Senior Vice President, Lauren Supina why she believes water access for women is a major concern that affects families all over the world. The absence of clean and accessible drinking water affects women’s health, safety and puts them at an incredibly high risk. (You can read her argument HERE.)  

Furthermore, as our president Ritu Sharma stated, “equipping women farmers with equal resources has the potential to feed as many as 150 million more people each year.” In her piece that she co-authored with Representative Betty McCollum, they propose a solution by saying, “The Global Food Security Act promotes sustainable, lasting solutions to hunger and poverty. And it does so by targeting our efforts to where they will have the biggest impact: empowering women and local communities.” (You may read the article HERE.)

When women have access to resources and equal opportunities, they have the ability to make real change. Here at Women Thrive, we believe that it is important to consistently educate change makers about the need to address equal land and water rights for women. We must continue to advocate and help raise the voices of women living in poverty worldwide. Please visit our BLOG to see a complete list of our publications so far in 2014.  

Thank you for supporting Women Thrive and girls around the world. Your belief in our work has enabled us to continue to amplify the voices of women farmers globally.

Warm Regards,

Mina Alemzadeh

Lydia Sasu
Lydia Sasu

This Valentine’s Day, Women Thrive is celebrating all of the amazing women we work with in Ghana and around the world!

Women Thrive has been working with women in Ghana since 2010, mainly through our partnership with the Development Action Association (DAA). We provided advocacy and leadership training to the women of DAA, as well as connections to high-level decision makers. With this additional spark, they have been able to establish themselves as a knowledgeable, connected organization in Ghana by key influencers at the local, state, national, regional, and even international levels! Here are just a few examples:

  • In 2012 DAA’s Executive Director, Lydia Sasu, was nominated as not just the gender representative, but also the farmer representative for the science and technology committee. This position helped Lydia to connect with other important players in her country, push for gender integration across many thematic areas, and shape the implementation of Ghana’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Plan.
  • Women Thrive sponsored Lydia to speak before Members of Congress on several occasions, spreading the message on how to make U.S. agriculture assistance work better for rural women.
  • Lydia was also honored with the Women’s Creativity in Rural life Award given by the Women’s World Summit foundation in Geneva.

To this day, Women Thrive continues to work with Lydia and DAA on ways to increase economic opportunities for rural women. This Valentine’s Day, we hope you can show your support to women in Ghana and globally by:

  • Tweeting your support. Ghana's women help grow food for families, communities, and the world! Help us send #Love2Ghana this Valentine's Day by tweeting a pic! We will gather your pictures and tweets and send them to DAA on Valentine’s Day!
  • Donate to Women Thrive on February 12 as part of GlobalGiving’s MATCH DAY! TODAY ONLY, Global Giving will match 30% in funds for each donation given. The timing could not be any more perfect, as Women Thrive beings planning a course of action after our recent research trip to Ghana in 2013. Your support will help us strengthen our partnerships with women’s organizations in Ghana and the rest of the world.

Together, we can make a difference.We appreciate your belief in our work, and we are grateful for your support.


Warm Regards,


Mei Powers

Senior Manager, Organizational Advancement



P.S. If you are local to Washington, DC or in town this week, please join us in our pre-Valentines Day Event—#Love2Ghana. There will be raffle prizes, a digital social booth, and drink specials.


When: Thursday, February 13th | 5:30-9:00 PM

Where: Crios Modern Mexican. 2120 P St. NW, Washington DC 20037


RSVP Here:

Maria and her family (Marcala, Honduras)
Maria and her family (Marcala, Honduras)

Women Thrive accomplished a lot on behalf of the world’s women and girls in 2013. We've highlighted 13 of our favorite moments from the past year.

A few highlights...

  • We met up with Maria, a rural farmer who lives just outside Marcala, Honduras. Maria's family was one of 40 who benefitted from an irrigation program Women Thrive worked to promote. As a result, her children are healthier and now she can afford to send them to school.
  • Women's economic opportunities can make or break a family's ability to survive and thrive, so this year we expanded our work on women’s economic opportunities with intensive on-the-ground research in Haiti and Ghana. When we arrived in one small village in northern Ghana, we were met by 150 amazing members of a women's farming collective who welcomed us with dancing and excitement.
  • Des Moines, Iowa might not be the center of the policy world, but each year the city hosts what is arguably the most important global conversation on hunger and agriculture. In October, Ritu hopped a flight to Iowa to advocate for a greater role for women farmers from developing countries in the campaign against world hunger. There she spoke on a panel with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and philanthropist Howard Buffett.

To view the full list, please click here. The report is also attached.

Check them out and get involved in making 2014 a big year for women and girls!


Ghanaian Women
Ghanaian Women's Cooperative - DAA

Having travelled across the globe, it’s not surprising to see women in the fields, behind plows, and selling their harvest in the market. In fact, most of the world’s smallholder farmers are women. 

I live in Washington, D.C. now, but I can relate to some of these women’s experiences. I come from a long line of farmers on both sides of my family. Our farms were in Virginia, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and I witnessed first hand the long days and the rush to use every bit of daylight to plow, plant, or harvest. 

Farmers the world over—from Virginia to Ghana—deal with factors that can make or break their success, no matter how hard they’ve worked, including weather, soil, seeds, fertilizer, machinery and market access and competition. 

And while weather is a constant for men and women on the farm, that’s just about where most equality stops.

I just returned from meeting with women farmers throughout Ghana. As with many women in developing countries, they face greater challenges including: lack of access to markets, limited land plots of 1-3 acres (usually the least fertile), and desperate need of tractors and other equipment, which are owned and used almost solely by men. 

But women’s collectives and networks are proving to be one of the strongest tools for helping women smallholder farmers voice their concerns and change the way they farm and access markets. These collectives are strong and strategic, and in many cases shifting entire policies.

Take the Development Action Association (DAA) in Ghana, for example.

DAA represents over 1,500 farmers who affect thousands more. When DAA is able to shift policy, they impact thousands of farmers in Ghana. Earlier this month, I visited Lydia Sasu and some of the women of DAA, the collective Lydia started nearly 17 years ago and that has partnered with Women Thrive since 2010. 

The collective is now in 46 rural communities throughout the southern part of the country. DAA works to create networks of women farmers – whether they operate vegetable farms or even fisheries. They understand the power of collective voice and collective action. 

Through working together and with some advocacy training from Women Thrive, the members of DAA have been able to provide training to each other, build schools for their local communities, and advocate for better policies from the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

The simple truth is this: we're stronger when we work together. And that's a lesson that's just as true for women plowing small fields in Ghana as it is for men harvesting corn in Virginia.

That's why Women Thrive strives day-in and day-out to help women smallholder farmers get the skills and resources they need to make their voices heard and feed their families. Your support helps us do that. Thank you for your believing in our work. We look forward to sharing more updates on what you’ve helped achieve for women and girls globally in 2014.


Warmest regards,


Lauren Supina
Vice President of Organizational Advancement


Lauren Supina is a Vice President at Women Thrive Worldwide, a 15-year-old NGO dedicated to bringing the voices of women in developing countries directly to decision-makers in Washington and at the global level. Lauren has travelled to more than 20 countries visiting local women, and has represented the United States at international conferences and on international delegations. Follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenSupina.


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Organization Information

Women Thrive Worldwide

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Women Thrive Worldwide
Project Leader:
Mina Alemzadeh
Washington, DC United States

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