An increasing number of women are becoming the heads of their household, because of conflict, bereavement or displacement. Faced with generating a livelihood and with domestic responsibilities, including caring for children or elderly, they can struggle to make ends meet. It empowers women by enabling them to create sustainable businesses. From henna application to weaving of baskets, these women are self-made entrepreneurs despite the myriad of challenges they face.
Devastated by successive cycles of drought, conflict and famine, Somalia is ranked at 165 out of 170 countries in terms of human development and second only to Afghanistan as the worst place to be a woman.The poorest groups in Somalia consist of people displaced by conflict or famine - 42% of households are headed by women. These households are most reliant upon loans and "marginal livelihood strategies." Due to the low status and education of women,these families are vulnerable to exploitation.
Selected female heads of households enrol in a six-month course in basic literacy/numeracy and social issues, focused on the application of reading, writing and mathematics to everyday life and livelihood activities. This includes discussion of wider social protection issues, including health, nutrition and sanitation; gender relations; violence and conflict resolution; and the rights of children, minorities and people with disabilities.
'Learning for Livelihoods' empowers women by enabling them to create sustainable businesses. Currently, this project has supported over 3,700 of the most vulnerable Somali households to gain literacy, numeracy and livelihood skills. This has given them the skills they need and opportunities to access microfinance to establish themselves in work or business. From henna application to weaving of baskets, these women are self-made entrepreneurs despite the myriad of challenges they face.