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"If you are poor, you are disadvantaged. But if you are poor and also a woman, you are doubly disadvantaged!"

Professor Muhammed Yunus, Founder of the Grameen Bank.

Women are the under-utilised key to accomplishing the goals of development. When given appropriate help, Third World women improve their lives. Often women and their families have excellent ideas and good skills but have no access to money to start their business ventures. WomenAid believes the best support for the poor is to give them the opportunity to work for themselves. By providing seed capital and simple business training to entrepreneurial women, many families escape the abject poverty and are given the chance to realise their dreams.

WomenAid International's 'Spirit of Enterprise' Programme supports income generating opportunities for poor women who have a good business idea. With a small grant or loan they can buy the tools, equipment or ingredients they need to begin trading or providing services.

The benefits generated by these businesses are enjoyed by families and the members of the local communities. Some direct results? An increase in school attendance, improvement in health, housing, nutrition, and of course happiness as the participants become more self-reliant.

"We find that giving loans to women brings greater benefits to the family as women tend to be more far sighted and more concerned for long-term security of the household."

Professor Yunus, Founder of the Grameen Bank.

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Guatemalan women develop a successful TUP enterprise, rearing and selling chicks.

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