Here at Trickle Up, we strive to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty through empowering ultrapoor women to work towards and dream of a better future for their children.
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists and great friends of ours here at Trickle Up. Have you read their book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide?
Well, it has now been turned into a documentary and premieres in 4 days! Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide was filmed in ten countries. It follows Kristof, WuDunn, and celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union, and Olivia Wilde on a journey to tell the stories of inspiring, courageous individuals. Across the globe, oppression is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls. Such problems as gender-based violence and maternal mortality, which needlessly claim one woman every 90 seconds, present to us the single most vital opportunity of our time: the opportunity to make a change. All over the world, women are seizing this opportunity—including Trickle Up participants!
In their book, Kristof and WuDunn show how a little support can transform the lives of women and girls all over the world. “Women are not the problem,” they write, “they are the solution”. How so? Studies have indicated that when women hold assets or gain income, that money is more likely to be spent on nutrition, medicine and housing; consequently, their families are healthier. According to Half the Sky, for every dollar a woman earns, she invests 80 cents in her family; men are more likely to spend the majority on themselves. If a woman is given access to microfinance, livestock gifts and proper vocational training, she can begin to take charge of her own life and of her family’s income. The outcome? She becomes the solution to combating gender inequality.
Putting money in the hands of women can have a positive long-term effect on the whole family, which is why Trickle Up is committed to serving women who have traditionally had limited financial independence. In fact, 98% of our participants are women. And like the women interviewed by Kristof and WuDunn, Trickle Up participants are also lifting themselves from poverty and becoming role models for others in their communities.
Join Trickle Up in celebrating the national broadcast event of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide on PBS’ Independent Lens on October 1st and 2nd at 8PM EST (check your local listings).
Recently, we visited Jamuna Sardar, an alumna of our project in India, who started the Trickle Up program in 2007 and graduated in 2009. Born to an ultrapoor family, Jamuna is married with three children. Jamuna proved to be a big surprise for field workers. In the beginning, they were concerned because she seemed very quiet during trainings and home visits. She and her husband said that they had “a tremendous amount of shame” because they were so very poor. But she proved to be one of the best performers during the project. After graduating from the program, Jamuna had a different story to tell: “We have work cultivating, savings, and assets… we are better now, we have food at home, and the children are going to school.”
Despite her gains during the program, but as is common for those living in ultrapoverty, Jamuna was diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness that required surgery in 2009. With no insurance or welfare program to fall back on, she was forced to sell off most of the assets she had worked so hard for in order to pay for her treatment. She even took her children out of school. But these savings were still not enough and she had to take out a loan of 8,000 rupees (approximately $175).
In our India program, Mali Sardar has come a long way in the three years that she has been a participant. She has overcome her insecurity in starting not just one, but four new businesses, the marginalization she faced in her community as a result of living in ultrapoverty, and the lack of food and healthcare available for her family. Now, she is thriving.
How did she get here? With just one picture, we have been able to map out the legacy of her hardwork.
Click play and learn how she did it!
To bring greater attention to the famine in the Sahel region of Africa, Trickle Up, the Huffington Post, InterAction and other international development organizations have partnered to create a blog series on this increasingly volatile crisis.
The Sahel region in north-central Africa—south of the Sahara desert, stretching from Senegal in the west to the borders of the Sudan in the east—has been embroiled in crisis for nearly a year. Failed harvests and droughts last fall have brought famine to the region, affecting over 18 million people. In Mali, where Trickle Up works, the situation has been further exacerbated by political turmoil.
Caleb Dembélé, Trickle Up’s Acting Regional Representative in West Africa, blogs on the situation of those who suffer the most as a result of this crisis: the ultrapoor. Read now >
Diedere Dicko, a Trickle Up participant who we reported on last year as running a vibrant small business buying and selling salt in bulk, told us, “Now, however, the difficulty is that there are a lot of people selling salt and our buyers do not have the means to buy in cash. So, I’m forced to barter for millet, maize, and rice to feed my family.”
Roger Thurow, Senior Fellow for Global Agriculture & Food Policy at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, joined our team for a special Trickle Up Breakfast Banter, a Tuesday morning ritual where Trickle Up staff gather together and discuss a proposed topic. Roger is a charismatic speaker whose ability to tell the story of the global food crisis, weaving in the narratives of poverty with hope, comes from a career centered on raising awareness of the increasing plight of the countless hungry in this world.
He presented his new book, The Last Hunger Season, a story that follows the lives of four Kenyan smallholder farmers—three of whom are women—over the span of one year as they struggle to grow their crops, overcome obstacles and make decisions that will have lasting effects on their families and homes.
Trickle Up will be hosting a live tweet session with Roger Thurow, senior fellow for global agriculture and food policy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Tuesday, June 12th at 9:30AM EST.