mother and child bakuWomen are often the poorest and most vulnerable adults we encounter in our work.  They shoulder most of the responsibility for raising children or grand children.  We give all single care-givers extra support – so they are able to deal with their complex and difficult lives.

All SOS teams and communities devise strong local gender activities: we lead community awareness activities to promote schooling for girls and boys in Malawi; SOS and partners are improving sanitation facilities in 12 secondary schools in Zimbabwe.

We understand the strength of women as heads of household: they pour nearly all of their efforts and earnings into improving family welfare.  We know that educated girls tend to marry later, have fewer children and earn more than their friends who leave school and marry young.

It is critically important that we support the rights and hopes of girls and women in every aspect of our work.  Equality is a fundamental principle in all SOS programmes.  We make sure women are well-represented on Village Development Committees and take part in leadership and community representation.  

Our gender programme - The Grieg Challenge - is being piloted in six countries in Southern Africa – Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  The Grieg Challenge (funded by the Grieg Foundation) focuses on achieving equal access for girls and boys, women and men in all our community activities.  
We are recruiting a Gender Officer in each country to make sure that SOS itself is able to demonstrate gender equality within, and to implement all programmes with gender sensitivity.

Empowering girls and women through ICT

The objectives of the ELIT (English Literacy programme through Information Technology) course are to provide young girls and women the possibility for further education, to increase their employability, facilitate inter-generation learning and empower them to access future learning opportunities. Women from a community organisation in Mauritius, who have low or no income due to unemployment are part of an innovative SOS Children project to empower young girls and women through ICT and English Literacy. By raising the english skills of young girls and women, the project enables them to develop their knowledge, to improve their communication abilities and to participate effectively in society. Thanks to this project, young girls and women will learn to communicate in English (both written and spoken) and, at the same time, learn to use computers and conduct basic tasks like writing a document, compiling data on a spreadsheet, surfing the internet and writing an email.