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By Rev. Greg Jenkins

When we hear the term "poverty", images of deprivation come to mind.

We envision empty stomachs, barren tool sheds, or the scourge of unemployment. Our thoughts may drift to the soaring costs of living, or the ravages of armed conflict, and climate change leaving drought-stricken lands in its wake. Yet, amidst these reflections, one crucial facet often remains overlooked—the precious resource of everyone in the community working together.

Imagine the impact it would have if something terrible prevented at least half of a population from attaining education, accessing resources, or managing their finances autonomously. This is the stark reality for many worldwide, a consequence steeped in the injustice of gender disparity that limits the rights of women.

Within the acronym PWRDF, the "D" signifies Development.

One of the most effective ways we can ensure development is by seeing that the whole community is given equal opportunity. Consider the transformative power unleashed when no one is prevented from pursuing education, securing gainful employment, and accessing essential resources. The benefits increase even more when everyone is given equal respect, so those with gifts of leadership may develop and use their talents. We’ve seen many examples of the ripple effect culminating in economic upsurge and elevated standards of living for families and communities alike.

This is why our Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has a focus on empowerment initiatives. Thanks to the Christ-inspired generosity of individuals like yourself, poverty is reduced by programs dedicated to uplifting women, girls, and also those who identify as 2SLGBTQ+. Here are a few of the tangible fruits of our collective efforts:

  • In Pemba, Mozambique, $69,623 in loans were disbursed to women entrepreneurs engaged in trading sweet potatoes, tomatoes, dried and fried fish, chicken, bananas, coconuts, beans, corn, peanuts, dried cassava, prepared food and cakes;

  • In Uganda, 1,310 girls and women and 538 boys and men participated in training on resilience and safeguarding against teen pregnancies, early marriages and transmission of sexually transmitted infections among youth;

  • The staff at “Help Lesotho” and members of “GIRL4ce” helped community members identify and address the myths and cultural norms that perpetuate gender-based violence, during six radio broadcasts;

  • In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1,021 survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (118 girls and 903 women) received skills training to earn an income, as part of reintegrating into their communities where conflict over natural resources is common;

  • In Zambia, seven sensitization sessions reached 3,814 (110 women, 2,273 girls, 111 men, and 1,320 boys) community members to increase their awareness on early, child and forced marriages and sexual and reproductive health and rights through poems, songs and role-playing.

These diverse projects embody a singular mission—to thwart poverty's grasp. When everyone is granted economic and social agency, a stronger community emerges, ready to challenge oppressive norms and safeguard the well-being of all. By rectifying gender disparities and nurturing the potential within everyone, we pave the path towards an equitable, prosperous, and sustainable global community.

Rev. Canon Dr. Greg Jenkins is PWRDF representative for Huron.