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Twende! Economic Empowerment for Women

In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), women face numerous challenges including conflict-related violence, sexual and gender-based violence, poverty, limited access to education and healthcare, and low participation in decision-making. The region's decades-long conflict has resulted in widespread violence, with women and girls being particularly vulnerable to sexual violence. Economic marginalization, barriers to education and healthcare, and limited political representation further exacerbate the situation. Efforts to address these challenges include initiatives to promote women's rights, support survivors of violence, improve access to services, and enhance women's participation in decision-making. However, significant obstacles persist, requiring sustained efforts to achieve gender equality and women's empowerment in the region.

In Kabare district, South Kivu province, most women live in extreme poverty, many of them single mothers with 5-8 children. Women in this region become single mothers for several reasons: the father has passed away, the father has abandoned the family or the father practices polygamy and is not present most of the time.


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This usually leaves the mother in an impossible situation of having to provide for a large family on her own, in an area characterized by unemployment, widespread disease, and security problems. 


Throughout the world, micro-finance, as well various other economic empowerment programs have proven to be one of the most effective solutions to such situations, oftentimes the only solution. "Twende!" (Let's go! In Swahili) is a unique program that enables hundreds of impoverished women to exit poverty and achieve economic independence. It does so by providing them with micro-loans as well as ongoing business training and accompaniment, which allow them to establish their own businesses, and continue to grow and expand them for years to come.

The project began in 2021 and has so far supported more than 150 women. In 2024 the project will support 120 women, and will continue to grow from year to year, to promote widespread, systemic women's empowerment.

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