The Challenge

While approximately 60 percent of women in the developing world are engaged in some form of paid work, among widows this statistic drops to just 20 percent. In Egypt, widows and female heads of household – who are estimated to head up 57 percent of Egyptian households - are particularly vulnerable to socioeconomic disparities.

The Work

With Alfanar’s support, the Future Eve Foundation has brought about significant social and economic improvements for these vulnerable women by establishing the Amal Project for Widows’ Empowerment. The primary aim of the programme is to increase economic opportunity for the women through self-employment. With amal aptly meaning ‘hope’ in Arabic, the project signifies the optimism and potential shown by these widows.

Today Amal has helped thousands of disadvantaged widows in villages across Upper Egypt through vocational and financial literacy training, access to social microfinance, and support in setting up successful microenterprises and value chains. The Amal Project also equipped widows to establish their own social lending funds by delivering training on how to borrow from and lend to one another.

Here in Upper Egypt, a woman after her husband’s death must stay indoors… I didn’t listen to people or I wouldn’t be able to raise my children. The project I started with my loan has grown and I can see it prosper with my own eyes. Step by step, with patience, anything can happen.

Wadiaa, Future Eve Amal widow beneficiary

In addition to grants, Alfanar will support Future Eve Foundation with further technical assistance through extensive training on Monitoring and Evaluation. With the support and expertise of an independent financial consultant sourced by Alfanar, the Amal Project’s expansion to new villages is on the horizon.

The Impact

Umm Ramadan is just one of many widows whose life was transformed when she took a microloan through the Future Eve Amal Project.

Using the money from the loan, she bought two goats, which then produced eight more goats. The sale of the goats enabled Umm Ramadan to improve her house and to buy a computer when her daughter started school. Today, all of her children have learned how to use the computer, demonstrating the Amal Project’s social impact beyond immediate income support.

Umm Ramadan describes her drive to work and provide for her family, explaining “When I take a loan, I grow it and I help my family. I don’t simply put the money in my pocket.” Umm Ramadan is one of over 6,000 female heads of household whose lives have been transformed through Future Eve's support.

This investment has been made possible through the generous commitment of our partner the Global Fund For Widows. Thanks to the support of UK Aid and other generous institutions and individuals, Amal is bringing hope to a growing number of widows like Umm Ramadan, with over 6,507 widows experiencing social and economic improvements.

Read more about Future Eve here.