Providing skills & business opportunities to mothers and young women
Vocational training provides tools necessary to start successful businesses, generate income, send their children to school and lift their families and communities out of poverty. The program pilot was conducted with over 200 women in Kashmir in fall 2012. Since then we are happy to report that we have worked with over five local partners, had over 2,000 women graduate, and are well on our way to achieving business solutions that help sustain MDF activities.
The training is based on a 10 week curriculum which can be condensed and modified to fit different schedules and shorter time frames. The Economic Life (eLife) curriculum was provided by Foundation for Social Change, which included input from some of the world's most highly regarded International Development experts, and contributions from New York University's Stern Business School for Social Innovation. The curriculum has been translated and modified to meet the cultural realities of women in under served areas of Pakistan.
MDF has a vocational center in Multan, and master trainer also travels throughout the country working with our partners to provide training to groups of 30-150 at a time. In the conservative Muslim culture women are not permitted the same freedoms to work where she would please. By designating space where women can congregate in a socially accepted manner these women can learn and participate in activities that contribute to her family income. A portion of the proceeds of the successful enterprises are re-invested to assist in the long-term sustainability of both the vocational and primary school activities of MDF. Over the last two years we have reached 1,000 women annually and hope to scale so that we can reach 2,000 annually going forward.
Marshall Direct Fund also provides market demand information to inform their entrepreneurial activities and necessary value chain information and resources so the female entrepreneurs can get their products to higher end markets. Most women are supported in their current business ideas, connected with other women interested in working together, and some participate in creating products for partner organization, Peace of the Action. A portion of the proceeds are re-invested into MDF activities. Learn more about the first product line Her Own Two Feet here.
Clickhere to learn more about the limitations women face and here to learn why it is so valuable to provide economic opportunities and education to girls and young women! For an easy print out that details the MDF Vocational Training and Entrepreneurial Skills Program please click here.