When there is an outbreak of war or violence, women suffer most - they experience trauma, sexual violence and the death of loved ones. After the conflict is over, the world's attention moves on, but women are left to rebuild their families and communities.
Women for Women International supports women who live in some of the world's most dangerous places. Women enrol on the charity's year-long training programme, where they learn how to earn and save money, improve their family's health and make their voices heard at home and in their community.
Since 1993, the charity has supported almost half a million women in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, Iraq, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan. They also actively engage men in their work, to break down prejudices and practices which prevent women from reaching their full potential.
Funding from our players will help Women for Women International to enrol 400 marginalised women in a year-long training programme in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). DRC is one of the most challenging places on earth - more than 80% of the population live in extreme poverty, and decades of brutal conflict has claimed over 5 million lives and uprooted 2.8 million people from their homes. Rape is routinely used as a weapon to destroy individual women's lives and terrorise communities.
The 400 women, from communities in the conflict-affected province of South Kivu, will be empowered to break cycles of poverty, achieve self-reliance and fully realise their rights. They will receive vocational training in skills that have an earning power in local markets in eastern DRC, including agribusiness, soap-making and handicrafts. They will learn numeracy and money-management skills and start small businesses. Each training group will set up collaborative savings groups, based on the Village Saving and Loans Association (VSLA) model. These VSLA groups will be sustained after the women graduate from the programme, providing them with an ongoing financial security net as they move towards self-reliance.
Shivonne Graham, Women for Women International UK Managing Director, said, "We are thrilled to have the continued support of players of People's Postcode Lottery, which will give 400 women access to our programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the next 12 months. Women in eastern DRC shoulder immense daily burdens, caring and providing for their families whilst facing severe levels of violence and discrimination. Yet we have seen that with the right support, they can lead remarkable positive change in their families and communities – change that transforms lives and passes down through generations.
"At a time of great instability and widespread human suffering, empowered women are a vital source of strength and hope for DRC's future – and we are so grateful to the players of People's Postcode Lottery for making this generous and visionary investment in their potential."