Empowering Women Via Business Education

Manila Bulletin, January 31, 2010 | Go to article overview

Empowering Women Via Business Education


Whenever we talk about microfinance and the concept of banking for the poor, the name that first lights up in our mind is Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank (village bank) who in 2006 received together with his bank the Nobel Peace Prize 'for their effort to create economic and social development from below.'The most striking characteristic of Grameen Bank is the fact that 97% of its borrowers are women, the poor women especially those in blighted rural areas who are least likely to receive credit from formal financial institutions. Since its inception in 1976, the success of Grameen Bank in poverty reduction has been replicated worldwide.Today, in an all together new and innovative way, there is global initiative designed to further empower a specific sector of society -- women who themselves are already engaged in various business enterprises, women who are mostly underprivileged but through sheer guts and persistence have freed themselves from the bondage of poverty.I first got wind of this women empowerment initiative when I got an email from a reader last December. 'The 10,000 Women initiative in the country offers selected underserved women entrepreneurs a scholarship to attend a Business Training Program, a 150-hours modular course spread over three months,' she wrote. 'The short -term program includes courses on marketing, accounting, market research, writing a business plan, strategic planning, etc.'She continued: 'Last November 25, the first group - numbering 19 - of 10,000 Women scholars graduated. On December 16, another batch (21) of 10,000 Women scholars will receive their Certificates of Business and Entrepreneurship. These women will continue to receive 50-hours of mentoring and assistance to check on the progress of their enterprises. We hope that through you we could reach out to more deserving women entrepreneurs (100) in 2010 who have great potentials to grow their businesses and make an impact in their communities.'The reader, Meldy Pelejo, research and training coordinator of 10,000 Women at the University of Asia and the Pacific, together with the program director, Ellen Soriano, subsequently sent me reference and reading materials and after going through them, it can be said that 10,000 Women is one laudable project that truly deserves support and encouragement to help achieve its global vision. …

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