International Women’s Day 2014 – ending poverty for women and girls through economic empowerment

By Stephanie Brown, Marketing and Communication Manager CUFA

Did you know that 70 percent of the global poor are women? According to reports from the United Nations, this is the case despite the fact that women perform 2/3rds of the world’s work, which earns them less than 10% of the world’s wages. Women are far more likely than men to live in poverty because of discrimination and lack of access to education, employment and financial services.

CUFA are empowering women and girls throughout the Asia Pacific region through our various programs and projects that help connect those living in poor and remote communities to financial services. CUFA teach women and girls as young as 7 how to save and manage money and connect them to a safe place to save and borrow to help them achieve financial independence.

By becoming a member of their local savings group or savings bank, women are eligible to take out a loan, which enables them to start up or expand a small business. Through this business venture, women are able to build their skills and help support the family income and better provide for their family.

To celebrate the day and the contribution that CUFA is making to empower women and girls throughout the Asia Pacific region, the CUFA staff held small celebrations in the various CUFA offices.

To mark International Women’s Day in Cambodia, the Cambodian office organised an afternoon tea with all the staff. The afternoon tea celebrated the progress CUFA has made towards female empowerment and gender equality through our programs. Some of CUFA Cambodia’s female staff expressed the team’s vision of inclusive growth by incorporating environment, education and financial literacy.

In Timor Leste, the CUFA team celebrated International Women’s Day by collaborating with Fokupers, a women’s group in Timor Leste. Four members of the Timor Leste team attended the group’s International Women’s Day celebration held at the Ministry of Agriculture Office and organised by the Secretary of State, Promotion and Gender. As part of the event the Timor Leste staff members attended a seminar about women and health as well as an expo of local foods where the women’s group presented their local products and had them available for sale.

The Oceania Confederation of Credit Union Leagues (OCCUL) in Fiji said it all with icing with a cake decorated with the words “Wonderful Women World-wide: We love them”. The OCCUL team consisting of Luse Tamani (Secretariat) and Amal Kumar (Technical Assistant) also attended a seminar held locally that spoke of women’s issues in the Pacific and why women’s contributions to the family and community should be celebrated.

The CUFA Myanmar office celebrated the day with a fun gathering at the office where a special dinner was prepared by the male staff for the team to enjoy. The best dish was a fish dish cooked by a colleague. “It was all about our female team members. It was a fun day for not just the female staff members but the whole CUFA Myanmar team”, said a CUFA Project Officer in Myanmar.

The CUFA Sydney team held a small afternoon tea to celebrate the day.

CUFA are proud to helping women and girls achieve financial independence. If you would like to support a woman who is part of CUFA’s work, please visit our Village Entrepreneur website ( and you can support a woman and her small business.


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