Celebrating International Women’s Day
When Julie Alo’s village in Papua New Guinea was struggling to access the health care it needed, Julie decided to do something about it. She set to work reopening the area’s health clinic after attending an ExxonMobil-sponsored Global Women in Management workshop, which gave her the skills and confidence she needed to tackle the ambitious project.
Julie’s work is especially challenging because she lives in a so-called “last-mile community,” an isolated area that lacks access to basic services and technology.
Having the center reopened was a major accomplishment that benefitted the whole community – because of one woman’s hard work and determination.
But she’s not alone.
For millions of women around the world, access to training opportunities and skills development helps them fulfill their economic potential and drive social change.
Counterpart International, which runs the Global Women in Management workshops, is one of several community-based organizations supported by ExxonMobil as part of its Women’s Economic Opportunity Initiative. Since launching the initiative 15 years ago, ExxonMobil’s efforts and partnerships have impacted tens of thousands of women in more than 90 countries.
In recognition of International Women’s Day, read on to learn how two ExxonMobil-supported organizations are empowering women around the world.
Global Women in Management
Global Women in Management brings together women from around the world and strengthens their management, leadership and technical skills. Almost 1,000 women from more than 77 countries have participated since the Global Women in Management program began in 2005.
The program has proven successful for women and their communities. As a result of the workshops, participants have introduced more than 160 community programs, which have reached nearly 12,000 women and had a powerful impact across their communities.
Kopernik, a nonprofit organization based in Indonesia, helps women develop small businesses selling technologies – like biomass stoves and water purifiers – through a program known as Tech Agents. The program makes the technologies available in communities that need them most, since traditional woodfire stoves can fill homes with smoke and safe drinking water isn’t always available or affordable in rural areas.
Kopernik has helped more than a quarter of a million people become agents of change in their own communities. In 2017, the program’s women entrepreneurs increased their incomes by an average of 27 percent, a trend that will benefit more women as Kopernik enrolls this year’s 120 new Tech Agents.
Along with helping women start new businesses, the organization also helps them grow existing ones.
Anna Nurhayati, for example, owns an arrowroot snack company in Bojonegoro, Indonesia. After taking a business development course run by Kopernik, she updated her product packaging design. This small change dramatically increased her company’s returns, and it wasn’t long before Anna was generating enough income to buy directly from suppliers. That helped her, as well as the farmers she buys from, and enabled her to expand her sales into 11 new markets.
Kopernik and Global Women in Management have helped women break down gender-based barriers while creating new sources of income. Their work has a direct and tangible impact on the women participants, and also improves the socioeconomic well-being of communities across the world.
*Hero image courtesy of Global Women in Management