Birtukan Fekadu, 22, and her husband struggled to find a way to support themselves until Fekadu joined a women’s savings and credit cooperative. Through the cooperative, she learned about agriculture productivity, business skills, leadership and women’s rights, and received a small loan. Now she earns enough to feed her family, and no longer worries about money to send her son to school.
Marianela Galarza, from a rural community called Flor y Selva in Cuenca, Ecuador, believes that women must have sustainable income so that they are financially independent. The community is in one of the main cacao producing regions of Ecuador, but without a processing facility, the income is low, and women must leave their families to go to the city to work in the chocolate factories in near cities.