Impact at a Glance
Economic Growth & Development
(Women & Girls)
Economic Development is an intervention approach aiming to improve the well-being and quality of life of all people. Economic growth is a phenomenon of market productivity and a rising GDP and is an important requirement for the sustainable development of a country. Livelihoods are the capabilities, assets, knowledge, and activities required for generating income and securing a means of living in safety and with dignity. Sustainable livelihoods refer to the capacity of people to generate and maintain a means of living that supports their well-being as well as that of future generations. Self-Reliance is the ability of an individual, household or community to rely upon on their own resources, judgment, and capabilities with minimal external assistance in meeting their needs and without irreversibly depleting the household or community resource base. Self-Reliance increases the economic security and dignity of people to plan, finance, and implement solutions to local challenges effectively, inclusively, and with accountability.
Women´s Economic Empowerment means that women have the skills and resources to improve their economic status and move out of poverty. In addition, it means that women and girls can decide on how to utilize their income and other resources and/or jointly make those decisions. Women´s Economic Empowerment increases women’s access to economic resources and opportunities including jobs, financial services, property and other productive assets, skills development, and market information.
Women´s Social Empowerment refers to the ability of women and girls to act individually and collectively to change social relationships and the institutions and discourses that exclude them and keep them in poverty. At home, this for instance involves the ability of women to decide and discuss with their partner whether to use contraceptives. Outside their home, it means that women and girls can build positive relationships, participate in social activities and decision making, without being restricted by gender norms.
Why is it important?
It is apparent that the COVID-19 crisis has had catastrophic effects on people’s lives and livelihoods. The pandemic has resulted in the loss of the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs. 1.6 billion informal economy workers who lacked a social safety-net were significantly impacted by the pandemic. Covid-19 has led to the first rise in extreme poverty in a generation.
An additional 119-124 million people were pushed back into extreme poverty in 2020. Moreover, the pandemic is leading to an increase in young people not employed, in school, or in trainings and more and more women leaving their jobs to return home to care of family members and support home-schooling.
RET believes women’s socio-economic empowerment is central to realizing women’s rights. Empowering women in the economy is key to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity increases economic diversification and income equality in addition to other positive development outcomes.
Gender gaps in economic development and livelihoods are well documented and continue to be a barrier to women´s socio-economic empowerment:
- In most countries women do more unpaid work, including domestic and care work, limiting women’s ability to enter and progress in the labor market. (OECD, The Pursuit of Gender Equality, 2017)
- According to the World Bank, globally, over 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men.
- In 18 countries, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working;
- Women’s access to economic opportunities is undermined by their lower access to production inputs
- Access to productive assets constrains women’s economic opportunities, whether women farmers or micro-entrepreneurs
- Female farmers have less access to information, as agricultural extension networks are dominated by men
- Throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, women are disproportionately limited in their land ownership and transfer rights.
How does RET help?
With the purpose of responding to the socio-economic needs of vulnerable young people and women, RET has been providing Economic Growth and Development and particularly Socio-Economic Empowerment interventions to support vulnerable young people and women all over the world. RET´s interventions work across the triple nexus supporting inclusive economic growth and empowerment through the full, equal, and safe participation of women and young people in society and the economy in order to help them lead their own journey towards prosperous livelihoods and self-reliance.
RET is committed to aligning all its programs to the Sphere`s Humanitarian Standards, the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS), and the IASC Gender Handbook in Humanitarian Action. RET is also committed to supporting Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls, to ensure women and girls have equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes particularly during times of crisis and in fragile contexts. RET is also committed to supporting Sustainable Development Goal 8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” by enhancing the socio-economic empowerment and self-reliance of women and when relevant of their families.
RET´s interventions differ depending on the context, gaps and needs, and the profile of concerned women. RET uses a gender and conflict-sensitive holistic approach when implementing all its programs.
Self-reliance and Socio-economic Strengthening Programs
RET´s Self-reliance and socioeconomic strengthening programs are adapted to local circumstances and the specific needs of beneficiaries with the aim of enabling and empowering women and young people by increasing their self-reliance of women through a participative and holistic approach.
Business Development and Entrepreneurship Programs
RET provides technical support to women and young people with the aim of improving or launch their own income generating activities (IGA) and or establishing their own business. RET provides entrepreneurship and small business trainings, tailored mentorship, legal guidance, income generating activities (IGA), and support for accessing to small income generating loans. RET has found that many women and young people in fragile settings are already engaged in a livelihood activity, either in the formal or informal labor market. Thus, RET has developed its own Small Business Training in order to facilitate women, young people, and their families in developing such activities into a more structured business.
RET´s Livelihood programs offer a holistic model of intervention to young people and women who are seeking to earn a living to support themselves and their families. RET provides technical and vocational programs to enable young people, women, and when relevant their families transition to work by acquiring labor-market relevant vocational qualifications. Such programs cover education, trainings, and skills development relating to a wide range of occupational fields, production, services and livelihoods. This includes, but it is not limited to income generating activities, providing women and young people relevant apprenticeship placements has proven to be a successful, cost-effective and sustainable approach towards improving livelihoods and self-reliance in RET programs. RET offers a skills-based apprenticeship model that seeks to ensure that the apprentice is able to select a skill of their choice and is placed with an appropriate mentor from whom (s)he can learn. Apprentices learn market trends and customer relations and are provided with general entrepreneurship training on business planning, marketing and savings schemes. When demonstrating successful participation and completion of the program, learners are supported with non-monetary start-up kits, for instance in the form of machinery. Where apprenticeship models are not feasible, RET provides selected livelihoods training for adolescents and youth, targeting trades that potentially have a market in the local area.
Agriculture and Rural Development Programs
RET provides interventions aimed at increasing the self-reliance as well as the food security and nutrition of young people, women, and their families through trainings, technical assistance and mentorship on modern, innovative, sustainable farming practices, horticultural techniques, reforestation soil restoration. and through the provision of seeds, materials, and equipment necessary for improved crop productivity. RET also provides technical assistance and guidance on methods for using household waste, such as wastewater and compostable products, to increase the growth of produce for consumption. RET interventions also provide support to farmers in domestic animals rearing.
Women’s Socio-Economic Empowerment Programs
RET has a holistic multi-sectoral approach to the socio-economic empowerment, and social cohesion of vulnerable women to strengthen their resilience and their self-reliance. The holistic aspect of RET’s interventions has allowed it to address different dimensions of a woman’s life.
As such, RET’s programs are not only about training on specific job/business. Related skills, but also focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and issues around Gender- Based Violence (GBV), as well as childcare issues. The programs also ensure access or referral to psychological and legal services when needed and ensures individualized follow-up to guarantee the continued engagement of concerned women.
The types of vocational workshops are selected after a thorough needs assessment and feasibility study realized by RET to identify the demands of marketplace. As a result, refugee and host community women produce natural, sustainable, handmade and innovative products that are of high quality with professional packaging and branding, which are high in demand locally and sometimes also globally.
Economic Growth & Development
- RET has implemented 123 projects with an Economic Growth and Development component to date.
- RET has implemented projects with an Economic Growth and Development component in 19 countries across Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
- 603,800 direct beneficaries (56% female) participated in RET programs with an Economic Growth and Development component to date.
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