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Founder's ProjectsWomen's Economic Development

Women’s Economic Development

Committed to the core belief that women are central to economic growth, the Women’s Economic Development Initiative partners with governments, nonprofits, and the private sector to create opportunities for women that lead to economic independence.

Since 2007, more than 745,000 women have enrolled in training and education programs across Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Women’s Economic Development Initiative, directly benefiting 2.98 million of their children and family members. These investments have shown an increase in women deciding to educate their children, purchase health insurance, actively participate in local and national elections, and more.


Partnership with Women for Women International

Since 2008, Bloomberg Philanthropies has worked with the nonprofit Women for Women International to train women in marketable skills so they can increase their incomes and support their families.

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More than 500,000 handmade bricks were made by women in our brickmaking training in Rwanda for the Women’s Opportunity Center. The tiles throughout the Center were handmade by women in the textiles training in Congo. During the development, women enrolled in our construction training program participated in the building and development of the Center. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Felicella/Sharon Davis Design

Partnership with Sustainable Growers

Since 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies has invested in the innovative training of coffee farmers and producers, bringing smallholder farmers up through the coffee value chain. These long-term investments have led to a partnership with Sustainable Growers, home of Question Coffee Café & Roastery, a social enterprise, and the Coffee Training Academy.

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Before Bloomberg Philanthropies’ investment in training, women would pick cherries off the coffee tree that were not high quality. Less than 2% of their crop could be sold. Once they learned the “Color of Excellence”, worn on a vest or as a bracelet, the quality of their coffee increased by 40%, resulting in a higher yield price on the international market.

Partnership with Nest

In 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies invested in the non-profit Nest to build the capacity of the organization to reach artisans and create market access for this unrecognized global workforce.

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The beginning stages of a utensil holder on the lap of an artisan weaver in Uganda. Photo credit: Nest
The beginning stages of a utensil holder on the lap of an artisan weaver in Uganda. Photo credit: Nest

Partnership with CARE

In 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies partnered with CARE to increase women farmers’ income and agricultural productivity through collective investments in Village Savings and Loan Associations.

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Women part of a Village Savings and Loan Association in Tanzania.

Partnership with African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative

In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative partnered to support women entrepreneurs in Africa.

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Since launching in 2017, the African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative has trained 600 women entrepreneurs representing 52 countries.

Partnership with Library For All

Since 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies has partnered with Library For All, now home of NABU, an online learning system that has expanded to 18 countries, to build and maintain a digital library to deliver quality educational materials to students in developing countries and expand their access to digital reading materials in local and international languages.

In Rwanda, Bloomberg Philanthropies partnered with Library For All and the Imbuto Foundation, founded by the First Lady of Rwanda, to increase the literacy of 20 million school-aged children.

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Students reading books on Library For All’s mobile app


See reports about the work of the Women’s Economic Development program and our partners.

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Hands to Heritage Documentary

Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported basket weaving initiatives in South Carolina and Africa to increase economic opportunities for people who work with their hands.

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Rwandan master weavers exchange techniques with a master weaver from South Carolina during her visit in Africa.

Product Catalog

See a Product Catalog featuring partners of the Women’s Economic Development Initiative.

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Top photo: Women enrolled in Bloomberg Philanthropies funded training programs.