these are just of few of the opportunities awaiting the women and men involved in our vocational training programs, where they are learning viable skills geared to the local culture and job market. some of these programs operate from within safehouses; others take place in day programs or community centers, but all share a common goal of equipping and empowering survivors to support themselves, offering them the hope of a better life. a study from one asian country revealed that ninety percent of rescued women who did not receive job training were re-sold or returned to the streets. learning to work with dignity is a powerful piece of the healing process for a wounded person. along the way, these survivors are supported and nurtured by dedicated teachers committed not just to teaching job skills, but to walking with them on the journey out of a dark place and into a bright future.
as survivors learn sought-after job skills, most programs employ them in a social enterprise to give them safe, hands-on work experience. their new status as income-providers enables these women to end or avoid abuse as they gain value in the eyes of their families and communities. war, int’l takes great joy in helping to build and grow these programs. we assist our partners in raising capital for new business ventures, buildings, and program expansion. in addition to partnering with other programs, war, int’l now has its own vocational program where rescued and at-risk women from the u.s. are making jewelry, soaps, and candles to sell in our boutiques and training as baristas in our cafe. war, int’l is certified with the ecfa, an accreditation agency dedicated to both providing financial accountability and upholding financial integrity.
the adolescent girls’ advocacy & leadership initiative (agali) of the public health institute recently launched a global research report analysing adolescent girls’ economic empowerment strategies and made recommendations for policymakers, funders and practitioners. this approach not only requires designing a quality training process that builds girls’ technical and soft skills, but also enlists the commitment of employers to hire participants. while soft skills may complement demand-oriented training, research demonstrates that the success of vocational training depends primarily on programmes’ ability to target and help girls develop the actual technical and business skills needed by employers.
girls’ economic empowerment not only depends on availability of jobs, but also on protective policy environments and community-based support for their entry into the workplace. this case study highlights the importance of a protective policy framework guaranteeing the rights of girls and women in the workforce, and the need for vocational training to collaborate with employers to ensure that workplaces are supportive of young female employees. agali’s research demonstrates that economic empowerment can change adolescent girls’ lives, helping them to gain financial independence, establish good saving habits, and improve their future job prospects for participation in the labour force. denise raquel dunning is professor of women’s health and empowerment at the university of california, san francisco and is director of agali at the public health institute this content is brought to you by guardian professional.
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