The Butterfly Effect of Developing Women’s Digital Resilience



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“I am a college student in Khagrachari. I had menstrual problems… When going to college, I had to face an embarrassing situation…. Later I came to know that I can talk to the doctor on mobile in our village.  I went to the Women Business Center where they assured me, and I talked to the doctor. The doctor was a female and she explained everything to me nicely…. I never thought that such a beautiful service would be launched near our home.”

Shared by a young beneficiary from the Rural Women Entrepreneurs project in Bangladesh.

Rural women possess a deep understanding of their community’s characteristics and needs. Despite their valuable local knowledge and experiences, they often lack the required capacities and resources to support their community members. Rural Women Entrepreneurs project (RWE) was created to make digitization at the service of women and strengthen their resilience in responding to their community’s challenges. First launched in Bangladesh, the project is currently scaling to Kenya, Nigeria, and Malawi.


The RWE project gives women in Bangladesh digital access to health services

Supported by BMZ funding contribution and implemented by GIZ in partnership with United Purpose, RWE project was initially introduced in the Bangladesh context. In Bangladesh the project aimed at developing the digital capacity of Women’s Business Centers to facilitate the access of rural communities to health services, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. For more information about the RWE Bangladesh project, please check out our article on “How women entrepreneurs are overcoming COVID-related challenges in Bangladesh.”


This is how RWE’s succeeds in Bangladesh – a sustainable impact and the butterfly effect

Upon completion of RWE implementation in Bangladesh, 58 Women’s Business Centers were equipped with digital services and 27,365 individuals, more than 70 percent of whom are women, accessed medical care through the telemedicine platform.

In addition to achieving the intended outcomes, GIZ is always committed to ensure that the impact of its interventions outlives its direct involvement. In the context of RWE Bangladesh, the sustainability of the project is maintained through the following measures:

  • Women entrepreneurs are serving their communities through the acquired digital capacities.
  • Local partners are replicating the models of the project in other parts of Bangladesh.
  • Digital tools are being transferred to serve other needs in the public and private sectors.

In this way, small changes can lead to unpredictable development in the system.


The expansion of the RWE project to Africa by adapting it to local needs

Built on the lessons learnt, and best practices accumulated during its implementation in Bangladesh, the Rural Women Entrepreneurs project is now being launched in Kenya, Malawi, and Nigeria. Women entrepreneurs and digitization continue to be at the heart of the project. However, projects’ goals, content, and activities in each of the three countries will be designed with respect to the characteristics and needs of the local context. Accordingly, Rural Women Entrepreneurs in Africa will be implemented with local partners and with the involvement of local ecosystem actors from the public and private sectors.

While hard work is driving our team to ensure a successful implementation of the RWE-Africa project, simultaneously in the three targeted countries, we cordially invite you to keep a curious eye on our updates and posts. If you want to learn more about the project, have further exchange, or get involved please do reach out to us!
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