Gates Foundation steers women empowerment in Africa

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation appropriated USD19 million to women empowerment and poverty reduction initiatives in three West African countries, namely Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. The United Nations Development Program-backed project aims to help create 600 sustainable enterprises across the three countries, in order to scale up the productivity of women farmers. “By investing in this simple power source for rural communities, women no longer need to spend all their time grinding grains or pumping water. They have more hours in the day to develop profitable activities that could boost their productivity, enabling them to sell better quality products and increase their income using low-cost, effective technology,” stressed UNDP administrator Kemal Dervis. “This project will employ cost-effective technology to significantly improve the lives of women in West Africa by freeing up time – their scarcest resource – and enabling them to sell higher value products at market more often, thus increasing their income and improving lives,” added the Foundation’s director for agricultural development Rajiv Shah. (Press release: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grants USD19 million to expand economic opportunities for women in West Africa/UNDP, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)

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