We are currently into training two of five using the Alternativ Global Entrepreneurs training curriculum. Our project goal is to improve women’s economic empowerment in 2 communities in Pakistan and promote change of sociopolitical norms for greater gender equality and women’s rights. Our objectives are to improve economic stability and resiliency of families month-to-month and in crisis; To increase the number of female role models and networks available to women in these regions; To increase girls’ participation in upper education and reduce early forced marriages; and To decrease extreme poverty among participants.
Alternativ’s curriculum model is based on two main beliefs: all people deserve to thrive economically, and all people have the ability to direct their destiny with the proper tools. The curriculum, which consists of 16 sessions and is conducted over the course of 30-40 hours, is comprised of content and interactive activities meant to touch on the most essential skills necessary to start or improve a small business.
Since the October launch of the Alternativ Global Entrepreneurs training program, 50 community members have been equipped to accomplish their goals, preparing them to become entrepreneurs in their community.
Rukhsana: I never realized my worth but this 5-day training has changed my life. I discovered that my cooking talent turned out to be my strength. I am selling samosas in my neighborhood and getting orders as well. Now I am a proud entrepreneur!
Thank you for the continued support of this incredible program!
Last week we had the pleasure of hosting our implementing partner, Farida, from our sister organization that we started in Pakistan in 2014, Moqah Foundation. While Farida was in town we were able to partake in the Alternativ Global Entrepreneurs "Training of Trainers" training in order to learn how to implement their curriculum with our women in Pakistan.
Alternativ’s curriculum model is based on two main beliefs: all people deserve to thrive economically, and all people have the ability to direct their destiny with the proper tools. The curriculum, which consists of 16 sessions and is conducted over the course of 30-40 hours, is comprised of content and interactive activities meant to touch on the most essential skills necessary to start or improve a small business. The program is designed to equip national leaders to manage and monetize the long-term impact in their communities. These local leaders are required to follow up with graduates through consistent mentorship and support.
We are so excited to begin our trainings with the new curriculum this October. We will be holding 5 trainings between October 2019 and April 2020, training over 140 women, 6 of which will be trained as trainers and facilitators. This will help create local sustainability and capacity building by having all local staff trained in the curriculum.
We are excited to be launching a new “Business Essentials” curriculum with our partner, Alternativ Global Entrepreneurs, with over 200 women in our communities in Pakistan.
We will be hosting 5 business trainings with AGE’s business essentials curriculum to over 200 women, of this, 15 will be trained as trainers. We will target two poverty stricken and conflict-ridden communities in the Islamabad Capital Territory and the Punjab. These are communities where MDF has long standing partnerships, access to safe, free training spaces and women eager to participate. Our goal is to move women from poverty to opportunity, enabling them to have lifelong economic independence and overall improved quality of life.
The trainings are conducted over a 40-hour week (5 days) and the curriculum model is based on two main beliefs: all people deserve to thrive economically and all people have the ability to direct their destiny with the proper tools. The Business Essentials program, which consists of 16 sessions, is conducted over the course of 30-40 hours. The curriculum is comprised of content meant to touch on the most essential skills necessary to start or improve a small business. Additionally, the program is designed to equip national leaders to manage and monetize the impact long-term in their communities. These local leaders are required to follow up with graduates through consistent mentorship and support.
Due to the business training we will offer we expect to see the following outcomes:
Stability in month to month household incomes among the trainees
Increased decision making power among the trainees and diversification in who is earning an income in the household
The trainees are keeping a budget and savings plan for their homes and their businesses
New jobs created by the businesses that are started by trainees
An increase in the number of customers the trainees serve
Trainees express that they feel like their dreams are attainable and there is hope for the future
An increase in the number of the trainees daughters enrolled and attending school
The trainees children are kept out of full time labor
The trainees girls are not forced into marriage (especially before the age of 18)
For this report we want to highlight an outcome of the Business Trainings conducted in October of 2018 with 100 women.
Asma* and 5 other women who attended our Business Training in October of 2018 decided to form a "co-op" together. They realized while working together during the training that they all shared the passion to start a business sewing school uniforms (based on the need they saw in their community) but lacked the start up funds, time and all the skills needed to pursue this endeavor on their own.
Asma and her team decided that by coming together to work on this business would benefit them all and they drafted a small business plan. They approached the MDF head teacher to see if they could use the school sewing machines after hours until they could secure their own, they pooled some funds for fabric and they elected Asma to go around to each school to announce the business and take orders. The women come together 3-4 times a week to sew their orders and each take turns watching the little children so they can each contribute equally.
So far they have taken about 20 orders of new uniforms and are being mentored closely by the MDF training coordinator to ensure their success. They are hoping to open a joint bank account to put all the income they make on their sales in the near future.
Asma says that she is “...thrilled to have found such a supportive group of colleagues, ” and (with tears in her eyes) says “I never thought I would ever have 'colleagues'!”
Asma and her team do face many challenges but find that by working together none of their family members can try and take any of their assets (like the income or supplies) because they explained that it belongs to the group and not one person. This has empowered them to continue their business and we are excited to follow their progress!
During the month of October we were able to complete 4 trainings for a total of 100 women in essential business skills in 3 communities. A master trainer facilitated the trainings and participants learned financial skills such as money management, budgeting, banking, credit, and how to create a business plan. We also encouraged group learning throughout the trainings in order to allow illiterate women to participate and network with one another so that they can continue to support each other post training. We are mentoring the women as they begin to develop their long-term business plans.
The women left the training invigorated and excited for the next phase of training which includes a 4-month program where we will equip them with vocational skills. The women have expressed interest in sewing and embellishing as well as food preparation (canning etc) to sell in the markets or to local business on a freelance basis. After we are complete with our market overview of the local economies we will provide the women with the best skills that fit their interest and the local markets.
Some feedback from the women post-training:
"This was a great opportunity for us. The skills that we acquired in the training will help us set up our businesses."
"My husband and his family believe that a woman’s place is in her home. They would never agree to my taking up a job. Now, this training has given me a clear vision and the confidence to start my own business and work from home."
"I always wanted to earn for myself but did not know how to take a start. This training has taught me ‘how’."
"I am now clear what I can to do and how to do. Whatever I earn, will enable me to spend on the education of my children and fulfilling their needs and desires."
Thank you all for making these trainings possible! The Safer World Foundation continues to match every donation made to this project by 50%. Please share this opportunity with friends and family you think might be interested in supporting underserved young women in Pakistan so that they may receive the hand up they need to chose peace and prosperity over violence and despair.
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