While their well-being is specifically targeted by our clean water projects, HOPE further invests in women to increase their ability to play a full role in decision-making and in the economic life of their families.
HOPE does this through the facilitation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) which are a powerful means to increase women's capacity to earn income and give them knowledge and tools that can increase their self-confidence and improve the status of women and influence the whole community.
These SHGs are based on a saving and loan model where groups of 20 women begin to save their own money and then can begin to borrow that money and loan it to one another. HOPE provides SHGs business acumen support, including book keeping, business strategy and the importance of saving. In addition, a small capital input is given to each group which allows the women to begin taking larger loans to start and further their businesses. These groups run for two years after a water and sanitation project has been implemented in a community with a member of HOPE staff facilitating the smooth running of 10-12 SHGs.
Working together with their neighbours and friends, women can learn new skills, help one another improve their lives, and start or expand small farm businesses (such as home gardens or raising animals). HOPE has seen women enter SHGs fearful, without skills or support, and with time become confident businesswomen. SHGs have also been a launch pad for women to increase their voice and role in their communities and have contributed towards the improvement of gender equality.