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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I had a great experience with WIP. I loved that I was able to feel like I was actually "living" in Ghana. I was also able to help a great charity by doing something I was interested in - photography. By spending even a day with WIP you can see how they give women (and men) jobs and life skills. As a "type - A" personality, sometimes charity work abroad can be painful; however, I did not feel this way at all with WIP. I highly recommend this organization!
My experience with Women in Progress was amazing! I have now been to Ghana twice, both times sharing my experiences with the Women in Progress Volunteers. I recommend this NGO to anyone who has ever asked me about volunteering overseas. Meeting the locals of Ghana or my fellow roomates in the Women in Progress house, I learned more than I could imagine about myself and the country I was visiting. I miss Ghana more and more everyday and cannot wait to go back; hopefully helping Women in Progress once again!
I went to Global Mamas with very little knowledge of what I wanted to get out of my experience or what exactly I would be doing once I got to Ghana. The only thing I can say is that Renee and the Mamas helped to form the path I've taken in my life and the concept of this nonprofit is very powerful. All the women who own their own batik or sewing shops take apprentices whom are taught a trade and in the future can start their own shop and take new apprentices. This concept instills a sense of community and constant development. Renee met every challenge head on and constantly worked to create innovative ideas, using the ideas and help of volunteers and all the global mamas to better the product production, working conditions, and lifestyles of everyone involved in the nonprofit.
Women in Progress is a great organization that makes a real impact in the communities they work in. My first experience with WiP was in 2006 when I interned at their then main Ghana office in Cape Coast as part of my undergraduate program. Not only did I have a great time, but I gained valuable experience and saw first hand how WiP's programs empower Women business owners and bring tangible benefits to the community through capacity building and income generating activities. I recently returned to Ghana on vacation and was impressed with how much WiP had grown bringing their programs and enthusiasm to women and communities throuought southern Ghana!
Women in Progress is the kind of nonprofit NGO that helps people (specifically women) by not giving them handouts but empowering them with their own skills to make a living for their families. Women in Progress gives the women it works with a market they would never have access to by shipping to the the U.S. (and I believe Canada and Japan now).