Windows of Opportunity: UNDP Help Empower Women and Reduce Poverty in Rural Areas



Making ends meet is what Fatima and other women in Sharg Al-Nil area struggle to achieve each day. With rapid increases in living expenses and diminishing work opportunities, securing a decent living to families becomes more of a challenge every day.

In a country where poverty is affecting almost half of the population (46.5%) and employment rates reaches an estimated 18%, creating jobs is amongst Sudan’s key national priorities. However, this is an increasingly defiant goal and UNDP along with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and a national NGO named Reyada are spearheading country wide efforts to tackle this issue through working with vulnerable communities to increase abilities.

As Fatima explains, “We had limited income to support my family. During the last few months this situation has slowly began to change. I have managed to earn an additional income. Thanks to the training session which Reyada have organized, I have leant new handicraft and embroidery skills which I am now using to decorate homes and traditional clothes (Toubs) which I then sell to women in the neighborhood. I was also trained on effective marketing skills which helped me market products without having to leave my own house. I can now sell my products and take care of my children and not leave them unattended.”

Fatima and another 500 women have received intensive capacity building training in artisan, embroidery, bakery, and in the making of traditional perfumery provided by local experts as part of the UNDP development project “Support The Development of National Employment Framework”.
 
An initial grant was provided to the trainees to assist them in the start up phase of their mini- businesses. Subsequently, a training in micro finance management, marketing skills and time management have been provided in order to introduce the women into the field of managing grants and ways to increase their output and market.
  
The training also has a sustainability component, as Ibtisam a 30 year old who attended the training outlines, “I am a trainer of others. My overall aim is to empower women to enable them to take charge of their lives.  I try to simplify difficult concepts that these women cannot grasp. . You cannot believe the positive response that I receive from these women. Seeing tangible yields of this project have prompted more women to approach me asking to be included in the next training session. I have a vision :  to contest the current market with our products through improving the quality of our products which will then benefit these women who are the primary bread winners in their communities.”
 
This year, under the “Support The Development of National Employment Framework” project, a total of  209 poor women households were engaged in community based enterprises by receiving business and financial management training and access microfinance for income generation activities in food, bakeries, handcrafts, artisans.