In the village of Kimini in remote Burkina Faso women have been empowered and their lives are forever changed for the better. Lighting the Path has educated these women in business and production skills to form a small enterprise. They learned how to make soap, how to market and sell and then formed the Benkadi Women’s Association. The word Benkadi is the Jula word for “sisters working together in harmony”. These women will work together to run the small enterprise. They learn all aspects of running a business to then go and bring together other groups of women to teach. They organize them into an association and set up the classes to teach them the skills to start a new small enterprise.
In 1995 the World Conference on Women was held in Beijing, China and important questions were asked. Questions as to why women’s progress has been limited in so many countries and what reforms and policies have been and can be put in place to focus on the advancement of women. In 2015 the World Bank looked at the changes and advancements in women’s rights, opportunities and wages over the ten years since the World conference and found gender gaps for opportunities had not improved.
The Global Gender Summit held in 2019 in Kigali stated that the fact that Africa’s gender inequalities and discrimination were not decreasing was to be put at the forefront in the discourse and promotion of the fight for gender equality. Girls by the millions are denied education and approximately 70% of African women are excluded from financial activities. Lighting the Path is looking to help change these inequalities and give women and girls a chance at a future. It has been calculated that by advancing women’s equality and allowing education and financial opportunities, the African economy could add $316 billion in working capital by 2025.
Lighting the Path is focused on empowering and educating women and giving them opportunities they would not otherwise have. It helps women and girls obtain an education, learn how to make a product and set up a small enterprise to earn an income. When older women do not have the education to do this on their own, we organize associations to run the small business as a cooperative group with a mix of skills. This approach includes women of all education and skill levels working together and allows all involved to be successful. These women are able to earn an income to pay school fees to send their children to school, buy food and needed medication and raise their family’s standard of living.
One of the Greatest Threats to Africa’s Future: Gender Inequality, December 16. 2019 by Victoria Egbetayo
How Empowering Women Can Help End Poverty in Africa, January 28, 2015 by Makhtar Diop