Breaking the Cycle of Poverty with Economic Empowerment

“Lack of food is a story of the past for me and my family. I did not know livestock would turn my life around through the money I make from being a Community Animal Health Worker.”

– Bertha, PCI program participant, Malawi


Gender inequality and income inequality are closely linked. While many developing countries have experienced strong economic growth over the past decade, women continue to face social, cultural and legal barriers that limit their participation and earning potential. These barriers include, but are not limited to, disparities in:

Knowing this, PCI designs and implements programs that support women’s economic empowerment through support for women’s entrepreneurship and improved access to market and employment opportunities.

Income Generation for Women

Whether it is providing aspiring entrepreneurs with technical skills training and capital or working with local businesses to increase women’s participation in value chains, PCI designs and implements activities meant to increase income generation—individually and collectively.

In Malawi, Guatemala, Botswana and Tanzania, over 22,000 women have received business skills training, helping them start, or grow, micro-enterprises.

Women’s Economic Empowerment By The Numbers

Putting economic resources in the hands of women accelerates development and reduces poverty. For example:

  • In sub-Saharan Africa, the World Bank estimates that agricultural productivity could rise by as much as 20% by allocating a larger share of agricultural input to women.
  • According to the International Labour Organization, women’s work, both paid and unpaid, is likely the single most important poverty-reducing factor in developing economies.
  • If women participated in the economy at the same rate and level as men, it would add as much as $28 trillion to the global GDP.
  • Accordingly, higher female labor force participation and greater earnings by women could result in higher expenditure on school enrollment for children, including girls, potentially triggering a virtuous cycle, when educated women become female role models.

How can you help?

Support PCI’s efforts to enhance health, end hunger, overcome hardship and advance women & girls worldwide.


Growing Through Partnerships

PCI understands that successfully supporting income generation requires partnering with the private sector, governments and communities.

In Malawi, PCI worked with the Government of Malawi to connect mature Women Empowered groups to the Community Savings and Investment Promotion (COMSIP) Cooperative Union Limited to give them access to additional training and capital.

In Guatemala, PCI’s Programa META is tackling the barriers to women’s entrepreneurship and income generation. Working with Women Empowered group members in rural and urban communities in Hueheutenango, Progama META is providing customized support to women based upon their individual needs so they can access opportunities to generate sustainable income, such as support to formalize nascent businesses; skills-building in record keeping, inventory management, marketing, and quality control; and linkages to medium and large size businesses at the regional and national level.

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