This blog post comes from our microfinance partner Global Fund for Widows (GFW) in Egypt. It originally appeared here on the Global Fund for Widows website.
On the 10th anniversary of International Widows Day, the Global Fund for Widows and its partner Whole Planet Foundation, mark an important milestone in Egypt. From a humble pilot project serving 250 widows, GFW’s Amal Project today celebrates having economically empowered 14,000 widows and female heads of households, and indirectly benefiting 37,000 of their children.
Our economic empowerment programs, powered by our field partners Alfanar and Future Eve Foundation, have disbursed over EGY 60 million in micro-loans to our beneficiaries. Roughly 57% of our widows in Minya and Bani Suef, launched agribusinesses, and are proudly supplying markets, restaurants, and even private clients in the capital city of Cairo over 3 hours away. Some widows in our intricately laced value chain are providing feedstock to widows in animal husbandry businesses, while others have trained to become veterinary assistants and are keeping livestock healthy. Yet another group of widows have become wholesalers, supplying the 20% of our widows who became vendors with fresh vegetables and fruits to stock their corner groceries. And roughly 13% of our widows entered into trade sectors, supplying their villages with clothing, appliances, houseware goods, and services.
Our widows have been inspirational as they gain financial independence, focusing on the education of their children as their first priority. As their income increase, widows improve their family’s nutritional and health condition, before seeking to expand their businesses and improve their homes.
Their success has also inspired Egypt’s leadership. In 2017, the Honorable President of the National Women’s Council Dr. Maya Morsi changed laws in Egypt, protecting widows’ rights to inheritance and criminalizing acts of disinheritance. One year later, Dr. Morsi issued 50,000 widows and female heads of household with government pensions.
We hold with deep gratitude our partnership with Whole Planet Foundation, whose contribution has fueled innumerable possibilities of the widows and FHH of Egypt. Together, we are committed to #MakeWidowsMatter in Egypt, the Middle East, and beyond. Happy International Widows Day.