One approach to women’s empowerment is self -empowerment by means of local initiatives, especially those undertaken by voluntary or charitable grassroots organizations. Such entities are not only indispensable for providing initial support, advice, and coordination; they are sources of technological skills and new tools and may even facilitate access to city markets for goods that have been produced.
Collaboration among these groups can also direct workers’ newfound skills and confidence by identifying and engaging sources of funding for pilot projects and for the creation of new businesses. Moreover, they can help secure the cooperation and support of government agencies —an important factor for women’s inclusion in science and technology.
Grassroots organizations that arise from the need to meet local women’s needs often function effectively when set up as small cooperatives, thus turning women’s labour into paid employment. The enterprises are more efficient if the women themselves manage the finances and day-to-day operations. Such structures make sense in terms of economics, and they also have important implications for self-confidence and self-reliance.
Important factors for the success and sustainability of such local training programmes are the establishment of an infrastructure, a strong spirit of community participation, and accessibility to all—even to the poorest individuals.
Members of the IAC