Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: October 12, 2023

GLOBAL: Women and girls face extreme poverty, says new report

Report released by UN Women and United Nations Department on Economic and Social Affairs.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Oct. 12, 2023) More than 340 million women and girls will live in extreme poverty by 2030 and close to one in four will experience moderate or severe food insecurity, according to the recent “Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2023” report released by UN Women and United Nations Department on Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).

A recent press release about the report noted, “Despite global efforts, the world is falling short of achieving gender equality. The gender gap in power and leadership positions remains entrenched, and, at the current rate of progress, the next generation of women will still spend on average 2.3 more hours per day on unpaid care and domestic work than men.”

In addition to a providing a comprehensive analysis of the current state of gender equality across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this year’s report had a focus on older women, who face higher rates of poverty and violence than older men. For the first time, the report also examined gender and climate. It indicated that if met with the worst-case climate scenario, climate change may push up to 158.3 million more women and girls into poverty (16 million more than the total number of men and boys).

Sarah Hendriks, UN Women deputy executive director, ad interim, said in the press release, “In this critical midpoint moment for the SDGs, this year’s report is a resounding call to action. We must collectively and intentionally act now to course-correct for a world where every woman and girl has equal rights, opportunities, and representation. To achieve this, we need unwavering commitment, innovative solutions, and collaboration across all sectors and stakeholders.”

Salesian missionaries living and working in more than 130 countries are focused on achieving gender equity through programs targeted specifically for young women and girls. These programs strive to empower young women and girls by providing opportunities for education and training that lead to livable wage employment.

“Education is the key to helping women out of poverty,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian missionaries provide programs that ensure girls and young women have equal access to education and the supports needed to graduate and find stable employment. These programs work to help women achieve long-term self-sustainability and include nutritional and health services as well as workforce development activities.”

Salesian Missions is proud to share Salesian programs that empower young women and girls and help lift them out of poverty.


The Women’s Vocational Training Center, located in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, provides training to more than 300 young women each year in specializations like tailoring, hairstyling, fabric design and pattern making, computer maintenance, and secretarial work. The center, which provides inclusive, equitable and quality education, receives funding from Bosco Global.

The Women’s Vocational Training Center was developed to address the precarious situation experienced by many women and girls. It includes literacy courses, support for work placement, and education in values and time management. The main objective of the project is to train women and girls so they can work and earn an income while breaking free from a life of poverty.

Recently, the cutting-tailoring and hairstyling workshops were equipped with supplies, and the spaces for theoretical-practical courses were expanded. Refresher courses were also provided for the center’s teaching staff. In addition, students in extremely vulnerable situations were provided with the necessary kits to carry out their courses of study.


Salesian missionaries with Bosco Global have launched a project to provide 80 Indigenous artisan women in Ecuador with vocational training to improve artisanal processes, management and entrepreneurship. The women from the parishes of Salinas, Simiatug and Facundo Vela sell their products under the Warmi Ruray (Women who work) brand. The project received funding from Cabildo Gran Canaria in Spain.

Training sessions included the proper use of and responsible management of raw materials such as fibers, straw, and sheep and llama wool. Women created crafts to emphasize their cultural identity and showed innovation in their designs to make them more attractive to potential customers. One of the women said, “We are very proud to have developed a catalogue of handcrafted products with our brand.”

The women also participated in the production of jams. The project has helped make the packaging more visible and attractive, reduce production times and costs, and develop and incorporate a biosafety plan that guarantees compliance with manufacturing best practices throughout the production process.


Fifteen young women who are first-year students at Don Bosco College, located in Canlubang, Philippines, have been awarded scholarships that will allow them to pursue their dreams of becoming skilled electrical technicians thanks to The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) through One Meralco Foundation (OMF), according to a Malaya Business Insight article.

Each scholarship will cover tuition fees and allowances for students in the dual NC II program in electrical installation and maintenance and mechatronics. The scholarship program also provides a four-month on-the-job training for the students, who will be given the opportunity to join the Meralco workforce afterwards, according to the article.

This initiative falls under Meralco’s Gender Diversity and Inclusion Program called MBrace that aims to provide inclusive opportunities to empower women and increase the ratio of women in the company to 40% by 2030.


Salesian Institute Youth Projects’ “Stitch Ahead” program, located in Cape Town, South Africa, recently graduated 15 women who completed the three-month sewing course, according to an article in The Southern Cross. Graduates will go on to start careers or their own entrepreneurial endeavors. At graduation, each participant received a kit that included fabrics and haberdashery items. The goal is to provide them with the necessary items to start a business.

The program, supported by the National Development Agency (NDA), empowers women, ages 18 to 35, to learn machine sewing to make a variety of products. As noted in the article, the training also includes learning to sew reusable sanitary pads, which is a pivotal step in addressing period poverty, an issue that impacts many women in South Africa.

The program, which started in 2022, also offers business development where students learn brand creation, logo design, letterhead development and digital business card creation. Students also learn digital platforms that enable them to market and operate small businesses successfully. These skills were taught for free by Company Partners, a company specializing in providing compliance services to a multitude of startup businesses.


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