Facilitating Women’s Economic Empowerment (FWEE)

The Cause

The Facilitating Women’s Economic Empowerment (FWEE) project is a micro-lending and barrier-free market collective that aims to support efforts to insulate women against gender-based violence. The FWEE project will facilitate the development of women’s economic independence so as to improve their overall well being and the well being of their families, and give them the independence they need to be able to break the cycle of violence and abuse. The funds requested herein will be used to provide immediate microloans to women and to establish the building blocks of the market collective.

The FWEE project will establish a microloan program for women survivors of abuse. Women who have experienced abuse and trauma are likely unable to access any type of funding to move them forward in their financial, personal or professional goals. Systemic barriers faced by marginalized women prevent them from accessing the financial services they need. FWEE will provide $500-$1000 microloans to women to take their first step. Additionally, the FWEE project will establish a year-round marketplace collective through which women makers and service providers can sell their offerings without barriers to access and be able to generate immediate income. The collective will encompass a digital marketplace, a bi-annual in-person marketplace experience and a year-round Outpost program where FWEE builds relationships with local shops and spaces that can resell women’s creations. All three retail mediums capitalize on the collective power of the group which eliminates the barriers each woman needs to overcome - such as minimum supply levels, table fees, website hosting charges, and inventory management.
The Reclaim Group is best positioned to deliver this one-of-a-kind pilot project in Edmonton because of our founding members, Kareema Batal and Amanda Cook’s, collective and specialized experiences in the key activities being mobilized in this project. That is, our years of experience in developing and running programming for women who have experienced trauma and in creating our own economic independence by developing and growing our careers and businesses in Edmonton. Our experiences have enabled us to build economic security which is an outcome we wish to translate to women in Edmonton who need this the most. Our passion for combining these two areas of our lives drives us to grow and develop meaningful and actionable experiences for women in Edmonton through The Reclaim Group.

Who Will it Benefit?

FWEE will benefit women in Edmonton who have experienced trauma and abuse. FWEE is able to deliver impact to women in Edmonton because our project design is rooted in Oxfam Canada’s women’s economic empowerment theory of change. That is, “effective economic empowerment for women happens when women enjoy their rights to control, make decisions about and benefit from resources, assets, income and their own time, and when they have the ability to manage risk and improve their economic status and well-being”. At FWEE, we look at and serve every woman with an equity lens: she will have access to the same opportunities as other women, and she will be supported to identify and reduce the barriers to economic independence that she faces in her life. There is an emergent need in Edmonton to protect and insulate women against gender-based violence and we believe we can support that through economic empowerment. This need heightened during the pandemic which put many women in Edmonton out of work. Women who stayed home during lockdowns, and who had a history of domestic violence, experienced more frequent and more dangerous abuse in what experts are coining The Shadow Pandemic. Violence against women has increased in Edmonton over the past two years, according to urgent calls made by the Edmonton Police Service and Edmonton’s community women’s shelters. Women in our community who have experienced trauma suffer from deep rooted shame, insecurity and lack of confidence due to prolonged abuse and disempowerment. FWEE’s mission is to empower women by providing them with safe and supportive opportunities to reintegrate into their communities, be involved, and to share their skills and talents. Being involved in FWEE will help women with trauma feel included, seen and of value to their communities, which in turn increases their sense of safety and well-being long term. When women in Edmonton feel safe and secure in themselves and their contributions, and when they have control over their income, assets, contributions and time, they will contribute to building a safer and more inclusive city which further enhances community well-being long term. Through the micro-lending and barrier-free market collective, the FWEE project will therefore facilitate the development of women’s economic empowerment so as to improve their overall well being and the well being of their families, and give them the independence they need to be able to break the cycle of violence and abuse.