Crossroads International volunteers work with local partners to strengthen collective enterprises and small businesses led by women and youth. Poverty and unemployment disproportionately affects women and youth. Africa has the fastest-growing and most youthful population in the world. Through economic initiatives such as soap making, small animal husbandry, bee keeping and market gardening, women and youth are earning a sustainable income. As a result, many are increasing food security for themselves and their communities and gaining leadership skills. Investing in economic empowerment of women and youth is investing in poverty-eradication and economic growth for all.
Why this program
Traditional norms and discriminatory practices restrict African women’s access to land and decent jobs
In Bolivia, the migration of young people to big cities threatens the future of the agricultural sector on which so much of the economy depends
1,300 female entrepreneurs in Senegal diversified their products and developed their skills in sustainable soap production
65 rural women in Senegal learned news skills in organic farming and solar energy, ensuring food security for 1,500 people in their communities
200 young local farmers in Bolivia gained new skills in sustainable agriculture at the ecological schools and increased their representation in agricultural organizations
100 Togolese youth learned integrated farming techniques, which increased and diversified their production
“We need young people to stay involved in agriculture. El Ceibo is selling chocolate all over the world very successfully, but we lack product. There are jobs [in agriculture], and we need well-trained youth to pursue our work and be part of the cooperative.” Don Hoved, Head of the Cooperative El Ceibo in Bolivia.
“I am so happy and grateful to SWIFT, they made me feel positive about the things I am doing. They made me to keep the hope that I had lost for a long time.” Phephile Hlophe, small entrepreneur trained on business development by local partner Swaziland Fair Trade (SWIFT).