The Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women and girls around the world. It has exacerbated existing inequalities in income and health, where women generally earn less than men. Professionally and personally the health impact of Covid-19 hits women harder as women make up 70% of the global health and social care workforce, and the pandemic has made it increasingly difficult for women to access essential sexual and reproductive health services. The burden of unpaid care and domestic work has also fallen more heavily on the shoulders of women within our society with evidence suggesting women undertake 3 times the amount of hours doing this type of work as men.
Gender based violence has also increased exponentially during this period with many women locked down or having heightened social isolation. According to the UN, cases of domestic violence have risen by 30% in some countries.
Garden of Hope Foundation is helping tackle these challenges in Kenya by creating sustainable social and economic opportunities for women and girls who are living in urban slums and rural communities Kenya. Since the pandemic, we have ensured that women and girls have access to safe spaces both online and offline. This is done through our counsellors who are available 24 hours to listen to the challenge’s women and girls in our community go through. Additionally, the project has helped raise awareness on various challenges women continue to face during and after the pandemic. Some of challenges we have addressed include: Gender based violence, access to health services among others
We have also ensured that women who have lost their jobs are equipped with sustainable employment skills in order for them to continue providing for their families and children. The growth of women-led businesses and enterprises benefits not only individual women but the communities they live in. In emerging markets, research shows that women reinvest 90 cents of every additional dollar of income in their families’ education, health, nutrition (compared to only 30-40% for men. In this way women’s increased income and assets drive family, community and country wellbeing.
By empowering women to be leaders within their communities, Garden of Hope is creating a new generation of changemakers to help move towards a more equal society.
In supporting women through our leadership and development programmes we are empowering women to improve their communities and be better able to take action towards a more equal and representative society.