The DFID-funded Women’s Wealth & Influence project aims to increase women’s wealth and influence within their families and communities.
Since its start in 2012 the project helped create over 2,800 women groups across Tajikistan, helping to mobilize and empower over 44,000 rural women. The project is being implemented by Save the Children who provides technical assistance to these groups. Groups are entirely self-funded; the women save a small amount of money each week or month, and spend it as they wish. Through their involvement in the group, the women are able to self-organise, assume a decision-making role, often for the first time in their lives. This approach encourages and fosters a process of helping women discover what they can do and can achieve.
Rather than direct the participants to do things, the project allows women to discover and utilize the assets and abilities available to them to improve their social and economic wellbeing. For example, instead of facing the risks of credit, by savings they create financial equity which puts them in a better position to achieve socio-economic objectives through greater involvement in the local decision making.
An orphan girl, Barno Eshonqulova, got married with the help of a group of women in Mardatsoy Jamoat, Vakhsh District. Barno was raised by her aunt and she never thought that she would get married. Since the women’s groups were formed, the members have always supported her. “She is a lovely person and good at cooking. We thought a baking oven will be the perfect gift for Barno” – said Uguloy Ishmuhamedova at the wedding.
In Yangiobod Village, Nuri-Vaksh Jamoat of Jilikul District, where 4,582 households settled 2 to 5 kilometres away from the rural health centre, bicycles are saving the lives of children. !!3 The members bought two bicycles for 920 Somoni from the local market and are planning to buy a third one. These women are also thinking to get an infant & pediatric scale and meter. Nigina Azizova, a pediatrician of the rural health centre of Yangiobod Village and the leader of the women’s group “Shifo”, says that together we can change our approach for the good of our children by transporting our health workers to the community.
Small amounts go a long way in these areas of Tajikistan. In DFID we believe that empowering girls and women has multiplier effects for economic growth and it remains our key goal to help them so they can help their communities.