Empowering Women. Transforming Communities.
Foxglove Project is an Australian charity working to eradicate poverty in the
Developing World by empowering women and girls to change their own lives.
The Foxglove Approach
It’s easy to see the needs in our world: clean water, food security, sanitation, education…but it’s difficult to identify how they can be addressed.
For decades, overseas aid has centred on Western generosity funding infrastructure and welfare support. But the returns have been far ‘poorer’ than expected; the gap has increased between the rich and the poor, and the poor have become poorer! We need to do something different.
Foxglove focuses on people development. Equipping & supporting people to provide for themselves. We work through in-country partners to identify a community’s poorest people, and invite them into local Self Help Groups to find friendship, training, access to finances and start micro businesses. This is the beginning.
The Foxglove approach may be slower and external change less dramatic but it’s sustainable. It empowers a woman and her community to pursue social, economic and political priorities that last a lifetime.
Why Women and Girls
For decades, the world has tried to address poverty. There has been a considerable focus on the poverty indicators: clean water, nutrition, shelter, health and education. And a particular emphasis on the youngest victims, the children. Recent findings are concluding that if you want to address poverty, then invest in women. At the Foxglove Project, we totally agree. Whilst women are most often the single demographic most impacted by poverty in the Developing World, they are also the best mechanism for change. They are our greatest investment in a tomorrow marked by hope, self-determination and independence.
Foxglove focuses all of its energy into first helping women and girls for three reasons.
1. THE INEQUITY FACTOR
In everyday life, this saying rings true, ‘Women hold up half the sky’. But in many developing countries, women and girls are the most persecuted members of the community. In 2017, the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation was the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. The incidence of domestic violence against women, limited gains in maternal health, and depressingly low levels of access to global assets and resources, confirm a rising gender inequity. When you add the overwhelming lack of representation of women in positions of power, then the need to prioritise women and girl projects is both valid and unsurprising.
2. THE GENEROSITY FACTOR
For every dollar a woman earns, she shares 80 cents with those about her. A woman will give all that she has to make sure her children get a better chance at life. But beyond that circle, she will lend a hand to her extended family and community. It means that gains experienced by women are shared gains. And she will work every dollar and every opportunity to see how she can provide that opportunity against all odds. In this way, everyone benefits. This not only improves the living conditions of others but raises their hopes and aspirations that life can be better. At heart, she’s a believer. Driven by hard work and desperation to make something out of nothing.
3. THE EFFECTIVENESS FACTOR
When a woman makes her way out of poverty, she takes five to nine others with her. It’s a startling statistic. It means that each time you help a woman, you can multiply the number by five and still underestimate the impact. How does this happen? A woman will join with others for companionship and care as much as for economic benefit or community influence. She will help others by sharing her knowledge, her support and her resources. And she will do so day after day, week after week. It’s a reflection of the integral importance of women to the progress and provision of herself, her family and her community.