When there is an outbreak of war or violence, women suffer most – they experience trauma, sexual violence and the death of loved ones. After the conflict is over, the world’s attention moves on, but women are left to rebuild their families and communities. Women for Women International supports women who live in some of the world’s most dangerous places. Women enrol on the charity’s year-long training programme, where they learn how to earn and save money, improve their family’s health and make their voices heard at home and in their community.

Since 1993, we have helped over half a million marginalised women survivors of war in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan.

With over fifty brutal armed conflicts across the globe and 71 million people forcibly displaced, there has never been a greater need to support women survivors of war. Women graduate from the Women for Women International programme with the skills, knowledge and resources to become successful entrepreneurs. They will pass on their knowledge to their neighbours and children, creating a ripple effect.

The world today for marginalised women

  • Today, an estimated 264 million women are living in fragile and conflict-affected countries. (Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, 2019)
  • By 2030, fragile and conflict-affected countries will be home to 46% of the world’s extreme poor (World Bank)
  • More than 70% of women in crisis settings have experienced violence (Action Aid, 2016)

Our impact

We collect data at the beginning and end of our 12-month programme to evaluate its impact on participants’ lives and livelihoods.

In 2019, across all countries, women reported significant progress. On average:

  • Women participants increased their average daily earnings from $0.60 at programme enrolment to $1.70 at graduation (183% increase)
  • Women participants increased their total current savings from $17.13 at enrolment to $112.33 at graduation (556% increase)
  • Participants’ health knowledge increased from 61% at enrolment to 75% at graduation (23% increase)
  • The share of women participants experiencing food insecurity in the previous 4 weeks decreased from 34% at enrolment to 8% at graduation (76% decrease)

What Syncona’s support has meant

Syncona’s consistent and flexible support has had a significant impact on Women for Women International’s ability to be innovative and ambitious in our growth. Over the years, support from Syncona has helped our former offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo establish themselves as independent and sustainable locally registered organisations; contributed to the start-up of our new programme in northern Iraq; and co-funded some of our most pioneering projects to tackle violence against women and increase marginalised women’s economic participation.

Quotes from programme participants

“After the programme, I know that I am a human being and have the same rights like the men in the family and community and I can be free. I have the right to choose, I have rights for work and property and when I advocate for others, I try my best to help women solve their problems.”
Lutfia, Women for Women International – Afghanistan programme participant

 “In the beginning my hands were shaking in the hairdressing class, I didn’t want to try. My teacher held my hand and supported me every step the way. I have learned a lot and I will start my own hairdressing shop. I love what I do, my teacher has encouraged me to learn and take risks.”
Wafaa, Women for Women International – Iraq programme participant

“With the knowledge I gained during the programme, I discovered a leader within myself - able to defend my rights before members of my community, even in front of authorities. Now I am seen by other women as a leader.”
Bahati, Women for Women International – Democratic Republic of Congo programme participant

"Before, I used to stay at home because my husband was strict, he didn't let me go anywhere. Now, I can go anywhere. Before, I never smiled. Now, I smile all the time. I was never able to go to school because my parents only supported boys' education. I will support the education of both my children. My daughter is my oldest and she is already in nursery."
Jeanne, Women for Women International – Rwanda programme participant 


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