MWI is a member of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada and the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW).
ACWW has 420 member societies in 73 countries around the world and gives voice to nine million rural and non-rural women. Each year, ACWW provides its members with a list of projects going on world-wide, indicating the location, purpose, number of women or families it provides benefit to and the estimated cost of the project. The Board of MWI reviews the project profiles and selects a project to support. Depending on the specifics of the project, it could be a multi-year effort.
MWI members contribute to the ACWW/MWI project either by individual donation sent to the Provincial Office or through contribution to “Coins for Change,” which is a small donation made each time a member attends a local MWI meeting. These funds are submitted annually to the Provincial Office.
Each fall, the Executive Administrator reviews the donations made and sends that amount as a donation for the specific project through the ACWW office in London, England. ACWW provides periodic updates on the project, which is shared with MWI members.
SOCIETY: Organization for Community Development
PROJECT: Strengthening and Developing Economical and Social Status of Head Load Fish Vending Women in Coastal Villages through Income Generation Activities
PROJECT NO: 1,011
ACWW GRANT: £11,084* (pledge and donation received: amount now required: £9,834)
The beneficiaries of this project will be 100 female head load fish vendors from the marine fisher folk community of Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu. These women currently have limited opportunities to gain income as they only have perishable fish to sell and when the catch is large, the price of fish for sale is reduced. During the fish breeding season, when fishing is restricted, they often have nothing to sell. These women are in many cases the sole earner in their family, and have to resort to borrowing money from local money lenders at exorbitant interest rates, in order to meet their family’s needs.
The plan is to train these women in fish processing (drying and packaging) so that they have something to sell when fresh fish are not available. They will be provided with raw materials and necessary equipment (ice boxes, large containers, tools etc.) for processing fish. 30 women will initially be provided with interest-free loans and as they repay them, further beneficiaries will be provided with loans.
Training will also be provided in capacity building and Entrepreneurship Development which, it is hoped, will encourage the habit of regular saving amongst the beneficiaries and improve their self-esteem. The Federation of Women Head Load Fish Vendors will assume the responsibility of the project after one year, which will enhance the organisation’s status in the community.