In a country where women and their families are often living in poverty, one organization has stepped in to help alleviate this despairing condition, and to restore dignity to women in African nations like Ghana.
Women in Progress, a non-profit coalition of volunteers and interns, works at a grass roots level to bring economic independence to women in developing nations. Through skills and technology training, and through support in the global marketplace, Women in Progress makes it possible for thousands of women in Africa to realize the dream of starting their own business and receiving an income for themselves.
Women in Progress believes that the best way to improve the standard of living for those challenged with impoverished circumstances is to assist in the development of women-owned businesses. Women in countries like Ghana employ themselves in trades, such as bead making and cloth weaving. Women in Progress dedicates their time to aiding these women by supplying the rest of the world with their hand-crafted treasures.
The goal of Women in Progress is for African women to become self-sustaining, and to be able to access new markets for their wares. The wonderful thing about the Women in Progress volunteers, who donate their time traveling to these African countries, is that this same gift of economic support creates a context of social understanding of people of diverse cultures.
Micro-enterprises in Ghana are increasing, and women are realizing the benefits of international trade. Women-owned businesses in Africa are generating new jobs for their communities and increasing the prosperity of entire villages.
This cross-cultural endeavor has yielded a vast improvement in human rights issues with regard to pay, workplace atmosphere, and environmental concerns in Africa.
Women in Progress has developed a brand name line of goods, produced by the women of Africa, which it sells through on-line and brick-and-mortar retail outlets under the trade name “Global Mamas.” Global Mamas is a Fair Trade alliance of women artisans that is recognized as a NGO and is certified as a non-profit agency in the United States.
Purchasing designated Fair Trade products means that an equitable partnership is established between the marketers in developed countries and the producers in developing countries. Fair Trade certified goods allow for business owners, like these African women, to receive a decent living wage for their work.
Global Mamas, a member of the World Fair Trade Organizaton (WFTO), administers the production and sale of thousands of unique creations from Ghana and other African regions. Under this trademark, women contract with other business to provide the world with exceptional jewelry, accessories, clothing, soaps, skin care, and home goods.
The intent of Global Mamas is to reduce the commercial and monetary inequality of women by allowing them a concrete way to increase their revenues. Women in Progress and Global Mamas hope that this small step toward birthing a sustainable society will end the need for African dependency on foreign aid, and build a generation of women who are strong, confident, and joyfully engaged in the task of living their fullest life.
What are your favorite fair trade products? Where did they come from? Let us know in the comments below.