TechnoServe’s work with people fighting poverty around the world is full of striking stories and images. Each month, we share a few of our favorite photos from the everyday beauty of our clients’ journeys towards better incomes and better futures.
Vote for your favorite below.
Making ends meet in the cocoa-growing off-season is a challenge for many communities in West Africa. Assetou Bitie knows this firsthand. But since working with TechnoServe to improve her business skills, her clothing business provides steady income no matter the season. “I used to earn nothing after December,” she says. But now: “I have been able to earn $145 in January and $190 in February.”
Assetou is one of the 1,415 people who have increased their incomes by an average of 56% since joining Project Awalé, an initiative from Cargill, through its Gourmet Belgian chocolate brand Veliche, and TechnoServe. The initiative helps diversify incomes in the communities in Côte d’Ivoire by building the leadership, business, and technical skills of women–who comprise nearly 90% of the program’s participants–and young people, while improving access to savings and credit. This has indirectly benefited more than 11,000 people in the participants’ households.
The extra money Assetou Bitie gained allowed her to pay her son’s medical bills when he needed an operation. “I’m so grateful for having been able to contribute in saving my baby’s life,” she says.
In the past, Sylvia Nyambura had struggled to create a thriving business. She was unable to keep good business records, had difficulty analyzing her local market, and was losing customers to competitors. On top of all of these challenges, inefficient waste management had become a problem for her business–and for other entrepreneurs and members of her wider community in Kenya.
After participating in the Smart Duka program last year, Sylvia learned how to manage solid waste in her business responsibly. Since working with TechnoServe, Sylvia’s daily sales have doubled from $48 to $96. “I am very proud of myself because these decent earnings have enabled me to pursue personal goals,” she says.
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When Rosa heard about TechnoServe’s Smallholder Market Access Program, funded by the Walmart Foundation, she was intrigued. The program aims to increase smallholder farmers’ incomes by at least 20% by improving their production and helping them integrate into more inclusive and profitable market systems.
Since joining the program, Rosa has learned how to implement good agricultural practices on her farm. “I’m proud to be a working woman and head of my family,” she says. “It’s a challenge to raise my son alone, but I know that even though it’s difficult, I’m capable of achieving good results and moving my family forward.”
When women gain economic empowerment, the effects spread across families and communities. Research indicates that women invest more of their income on family needs such as food, medical care, and schooling, improving opportunities for the next generation. Women in leadership positions such as entrepreneurs, farmer trainers, or cooperative leaders, also help break down harmful gender-based norms and stereotypes in their communities, while serving as important role models for girls and other women.
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Whether it’s building the leadership, business, and technical skills of women in Côte d’Ivoire, teaching how to manage solid waste in her business responsibly in Kenya, or empowering women elsewhere in the world so they can provide for their families, TechnoServe continues to serve women around the world who are creating better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Will you make a difference in the lives of hardworking people around the world?