WOMEN IN PROGRESS INC

Rating: 4.67 stars   15 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, International, Philanthropy, Microfinance

Location: P.O. Box 18323 Minneapolis MN 55418 USA

Mission: Women in Progress, a non-profit organization, envisions women in Africa to be economically independent. Our purpose is to reduce the economic inequality of women by helping to significantly increase the revenues and profits of women-owned businesses. This in turn increases wages, generates new jobs and improves the standard of living for women, their families, and the larger community. We believe that helping women gain economic independence is the most effective way to reduce dependence on foreign aid and steadily create a prosperous society.

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I visited their facilities during a school trip to Ghana. Back home in the US I study economics and sustainability, meanwhile as a fair trade activist. I love what they are doing! They are an exemplary model of a fair trade cooperative. The producers seem to love what they do, and the products are gorgeous!

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The producers described how their lives have improved: they've been able to send their children to school, build their house, buy nutritious food, and more.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would the suggest that they mobilize more resources into outreach in the US. Perhaps when they are able, they could have commercial time or advertisements in large newspapers like the New York Times. Sponsors could help with this.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Their kind and caring staff.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Super friendly and experienced.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Increase advertising, expand to different countries, expand operations in Ghana to the food market, change the lives of so many more women and families, be the leader in fair trade clothing in the world.

Ways to make it better...

I got to tour the batik workshops! But we had limited time.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

having enough money to scale up to other communities, the difficulty it is to reach American consumers outside of specialty fair trade shops.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Global Mamas was my favorite part of my trip to Ghana!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

As a returned Peace Corps volunteer that worked in women's business development and empowerment for 2 years I can honestly say that Women in Progress is a power force for change. Their work is sustainable, culturally appropriate and well-informed. It is a true business (not based on hand-outs) that makes products people want. I am proud to have been a part of it.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my work and life. It feels good to have been able to make a difference in women's lives as a volunteer.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2006-1-01

Rating: 5 stars  

15 people found this review helpful

Prior to my volunteer experience with WIP,I had traveled around the world, but never by myself. Even though I arrived in Ghana by myself, I had instant friends and support with other WIP volunteers and staff. Now, six years later, I still keep in contact with my Ghanaian friends and other WIP volunteers. The organization is wonderful to let you set your own pace for work. Also, I feel that the organization is really making a huge difference in Ghana. I have seen tremendous growth in the last six years as more and more Ghanaians have financially benefited from the work of WIP women, staff and volunteers

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have returned to Ghana several times since my volunteer experience and I have seen tremendous growth & impact. WIP women are now running their own successful businesses, sending their children to good schools & are buying better housing for their famil

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

spread WIP offices around Africa!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing that my volunteer work actually made a difference to the organization and the women they work with

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

unbelievably friendly and accomodating

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Make a huge difference in many lives around Africa. It would lead to employment, greater education and better living conditions.

Ways to make it better...

I could have stayed longer. Most people want to stay longer or return.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Lack of external funding and recognition for the wonderful work they have done.

One thing I'd also say is that...

An amazing organization that I am very proud to have been a small part of.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-5-01

Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

What an amazing organization. The second I landed in Accra, I was met by the Executive Director and started the adventure that is Ghana! The 'WIP lounge' was a good size for us, but I imagine if there were more volunteers it would be a bit cramped. One or two laptops might help the volunteers since power outages are common and much of the work is digital. The living accommodations were fantastic and quickly felt like a home. I am hesitant to suggest a map of the city, only because exploring is really essential to the experience. Overall I had an exceptional time! I wish WIP the best and hope to see the amazing handmade products in stores around the U.S. soon! I bought 2 cooking aprons and tablecloth for my parents, they love them and use them whenever they cook.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my life. By being able to work with the women in the WIP network, my global understanding has expanded significantly. To this day I keep WIP and Ghana close to my heart.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand the workspace and bring in a few laptops if possible.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Meeting the people who work there, very welcoming and friendly!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

One of my favorite parts about my experience with this organization is meeting the other volunteers and staff! I was amazed, they really made the experience real for me.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Pay off all it's debt, start a concept store in the U.S., Europe and Australia. Expand to a new facility that they built. Buy some laptops and a generator. Scholarships for volunteers wishing to stay for the summer or longer.

Ways to make it better...

I brought way too many things. I wish I hadn't brought so many nice clothes, I didn't wear them.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Meeting deadlines for shipments.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

A friend and I had just graduated college and set off to assist Women In Progress (WIP) for the summer in Ghana. Over our two month experience we became immersed in the most pro-active, sustainable and measured non-profits I have ever been a part of, or much less heard about. While working with the guidance and expertise, my partner and I were afforded the autonomy to work with a shea butter producer whom responsibly exports her product around the world. Through this, she employs over 700 women in the difficult region of Tamale Ghana. In this region she pays far above the market rate, teaches the women practical business habits and assist in developing women’s community groups. Although we came in with decent business acumen, we were able help our shea producer an $85,000 grant from USAID, re-create a sales lead and distribution system, and frequently monitor production for possible growth aspects. All the while we became close with the women workers, both in Tamale and Accra. Our work, facilitated by WIP, helped in the growth of these women from the ultra-poor, to now, many of the women having excess money stored in the bank for expenses such as school supplies, clothes, and emergency funds.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I now understand that a non-profit has the obligation to TEACH and EMPOWER the people they assist, not to give handouts. Beyond this new expectation, I have a better handle on frontier economy social and economic development.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-5-01

Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

My experience in Ghana is totally unforgettable and enjoyable. The women there have lots of passion and the kids have so much spirit and soul, all of these cannot be capture in the pictures. I miss the sun, beaches, fufu, and especially the people there who gave me the warmest hug I had ever received. Although I have left that country for almost a year, I still feel that I am being part of it.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

have designed and published a 35-page notebook for bookkeeping which should last them 6 months. It is in a simple spreadsheet format. If even just 40% of the global mamas do it, it would be a good change. If the women become used to this way of bookkeepi

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I felt that two month is too short to make a change for them. When I have just getting started and became familiar with my project, two month has passed and It was the time for me to leave.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Fantanstic!

Ways to make it better...

Stayed Longer/

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Bookkeeping & Fair Trade Certification: Communication and “the big picture”:

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-7-01

Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

70 women in the arid, empoverished north of Ghana want to sell more Shea Butter. Eugenia Akuete of Nasakle,Ltd got money from US AID to organize and maximize the operation. But Eugenia needed a stronger business plan herself, so I wrote an employee manual and help her develop employment contracts as well as develop a written performance review process.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

watching the Naasakle, Ltd folks strengthen their business to effectively export the Shea Butter products of the women of Damango, Ghana.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

bring all my friends to Ghana to help make this eco-friendly and fair trade organization work well!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing the hard work and dedication of the founders, Kristen and Renee

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

diverse, dedicated and funny!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

buy its own airplane to fly goods to the US.

Ways to make it better...

could have stayed longer!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the cost of getting the fair trade products to the customers in the US.

One thing I'd also say is that...

fair trade is necessary for human equity and decency.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

Rating: 2 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I noticed a big change in the women as they became more proficient, more organized and more self-assured that they are able to work with tourists. The highlight was when the women showed just how happy my work has made them. Elizabeth, co-owner of Eli-Emma, said "I never could have imagined that someday we would be having this business and tourists would come here to see us!" One thing that still shocks me everyday is how happy the people in Cape Coast are. They are so happy and friendly even though by our standards they have so little. They are ever ready to help you out. I have had people run down the street to catch me a cab, chase me down to give me something I have dropped, and many gifts from people I do not even know. Even when facing hardships the people here are beautiful, loving and caring people and we could all learn so much from them.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing several women entrepreneurs in Ghana generate additional income for their businesses through expanding their businesses to include tourist activities.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

When the women showed just how happy my work has made them.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Fantastic, hard-working, passionate, friendly and dedicated

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Change the world as we know it

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-6-01

Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

My wife and I volunteered with Global Mamas for three months in 2008. In truth, my wife was the formal volunteer, having arranged to offer her graphic designs skills to help with the organization's catalog, annual report, packaging, etc. To make myself useful, I wrote a few articles about and for the organization and contributed to a photo coffee table book about Ghana, where Global Mamas works: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/750329. I cannot say enough about both the mission and people that make Global Mamas such a special organization. Committed to helping woman-owned business succeed, they are helping Ghanaians help themselves, the mark of a sustainable and enduring solution. Learn how contribute, either in time or money, by visiting their website: http://www.globalmamas.org Our experience in Ghana was transformative, and we encourage anyone looking for an adventure and one in which you will every day feel appreciated and welcomed, to consider volunteering with Global Mamas.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my renewed belief that a single person can make a difference.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

I had such a great time reacquainting myself with the fundamentals of marketing and applying to a brand (Global Mamas) and a cause (Women in Progress) that I am truly passionate about. It reawakened my drive for building meaningful consumer brands and reminded me why I decided to make a career in marketing.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

having the pleasure to meet and work with the women. They have stories about how Women In Progress / Global Mamas has helped influence their lives for the better - the pride and gratitude of being a small business owner and providing for their families

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2006-10-01

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