Despite national HIV incidence in eSwatini dropped by almost half since 2011, the country has the highest HIV prevalence in the world, with 27.2% of their adult population living with HIV. Women are disproportionately affected by the epidemic; 31% of all women are living with HIV, compared to 20% of men. This situation has negative impact on the country’s socio-economical fabric. About 63% of Swazis live below the national poverty line. Women in rural areas governed by customary law are especially vulnerable to discrimination and harmful practices. The Swazi government has yet to enact the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill developed in 2009 to protect women’s rights.
Gone Rural boMake, the not-for-profit arm of Gone Rural, was established in 2006 to assist artisans and members of Gone Rural. Committed to sustainable social responsibility and Fair Trade principles, Gone Rural has successfully created a business model that empowers rural women by providing them with income and professional skills. Gone Rural provides a regular source of income generation to almost 800 women and Gone Rural boMake complements this by implementing social programs benefitting these women and their communities. Gone Rural boMake positively impacts the lives of more than 6,000 people through education, health and social programs. Crossroads and Gone Rural and Gone Rural boMake work on women’s economic empowerment.
SWIFT is composed of companies that produce high quality handcraft in Swaziland. SWIFT ensures each company aligns with the principles of Fair Trade and is committed to helping its members and artisans to grow their businesses by encouraging and facilitating trade. SWIFT is constantly exploring new market opportunities both locally and internationally, while promoting members with potential customers. SWIFT and Crossroads International work on women’s economic empowerment programs since 2015.
SWAGAA is a leader in the fight against gender-based violence in Swaziland since 1990. SWAGAA brings abuse against women and children into the public eye and to the attention of decision-makers, through advocacy, education and media initiatives. In addition, SWAGAA provides counselling and other services to victims of abuse and has recently increased its involvement in programs designed to prevent abuse, including an innovative project for engaging men. SWAGAA has taken part in regional efforts to combat gender-based violence and hosted international events on preventing abuse. The group works with Crossroads since 2003 on girls’ empowerment, women’s and girls’ economic empowerment and gender-based-violence prevention programs.