Empowering fempreneurs in Togo

“Building the Fempreneur of tomorrow” is a pilot project currently implemented by atingi and ProDED Togo. The project is an effort in bridging the gender digital divide.

The project is based on the principles for digital development, with a focus on design with the user, understand the existing ecosystem, build for sustainability, as well as reuse and improve.

The objective of this project is to deliver a new learning format for capacity building in the peer and offline space to empower women in their entrepreneurial journey, to foster their skills in business creation, saving and investing money, using digital tools for their business as well as to strengthen their own livelihood within their community.

With the close collaboration and implementation by the ProDED Togo team, the existing ecosystem of women saving groups (also called tontines) as well as other female-formed collectives has been leveraged. Representatives of the mentioned groups have been invited to share their concerns, ideas and wishes when it comes to a learning programme, tailored to their needs. After a successful co-creation workshop in Lomé in May 2023, several courses are now in production. The focus here lies on re-using existing online courses and improving them for local usage (e.g. translations, adding new/other examples, changing the format of content from textual to visual). The whole process is embedded in understanding the existing ecosystem, to ensure sustainability from the start. Building a programme, which aligns with the women’s needs, contributes to user-centred design and feminist development policy. After the programme has been developed, the courses will be uploaded onto micro servers, which will be rolled out in several Togolese communities and will be available in hubs or computer labs.

For accessing the courses and learning resources no internet connection is required as the servers generate access to the customized library offline. Through that, women have the chance to integrate their learning into their daily chores and activities whenever they find the time and need. Women are invited to learn in groups, especially during their weekly exchanges in the saving group or during other collective meetings. The programme will also be offered at the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program Togo as well as Kara University – of which both are also local implementation partners. The learning programme offers three different tracks of which all are under constant review and co-creation to ensure further participation of the Fempreneurs of tomorrow.

Co-creation workshop with 15 female entrepreneurs in Lomé, Togo, to develop an online course to achieve financial inclusion. ©GIZ/Yvette Fambare