“If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime”—Ancient Chinese Proverb

Countries in which women have more economic, social, and political power tend to be more stable, progressive, and democratic. As such, there is an interest and motivation to further women’s rights especially in countries where these powers are limited.

The preponderance of global humanitarian-aid and relief efforts are focused on solving either an immediate, critical, short-term need for a direct grant of food and other emergency relief supplies, or grants of similar supplies for the long-term need of the recipients. While direct grants are often necessary in the short-term [as in disaster relief], they do not work in the long-term. In fact, they have the opposite effect in the long-run—they often create dependence for continued aid.

Teaching Women to Fish (TWF) will attempt to address the above two issues (that of women’s rights and dependence issues) in a mutually compatible way.

By implementing programs in which grants of various forms of seed capital and training are provided to impoverished communities and people, coupled with oversight and motivationally competitive programs, TWF hopes to jumpstart an economic environment and empower the recipients to be more self-sustaining.

In order to test these not-for-profit business plans, we are implementing Project Bootstrap in a small village in Ghana.

We determined that Ghana is good candidate for these initial efforts because of its low crime rate, high literacy rates, national language of English, and welcoming approach to free-market capitalism.

TWF has developed an initial program in which the rural village of Abura Odumasi will receive a micro-gift in the form of seedlings & small trees, agricultural tools and supplies, and training. As an impoverished rural village that only recently built its first well for clean drinking water, it is in dire need of economic development. Many years ago, the federal government placed 50 acres of arable land into a trust, with their Chief, for these villagers. The first of these fifty acres will be cultivated with this initial aid shipment with the goal of testing the ability to move the village from subsistence farming to income farming.

Under our direction and with the aid of their Chief, the villagers will divide into groups, each with their own lot from the fifty acres.  If this initial test goes well, as we expect it will, then we will immediately ship in the seed capital required for the balance of the fifty acres.

We will monitor their progress (from the USA as well as locally) and offer an opportunity for additional aid—so long as it further establishes and develops their self-sustenance. Those who have made substantial progress both in the fields and in the sale of the byproducts, and who further offer credible “business plans” for the use of additional tools and seedlings, will be seriously considered for the additional aid. We believe this will inspire a healthy competition, and motivation to succeed.

TWF will also work with the young ladies of Holy Child High School in the city of Cape Coast to help us follow up with and assist the villagers of Abura Odwumasi.

Nicole Forman



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