What could be more simple? Women in business in the UK supporting women in business in Africa. It's a perfectly simple idea, but we've been involved in a project doing it in a really imaginative way.
We are really delighted to have been able to support MicroLoan Foundation, through their 'Buy a poster build a business' campaign. Run by the ad agency DLKW Lowe, this amazing scheme has given us the opportunity to have a poster designed and displayed on the London Underground, for a donation of £100. In turn, our donation will help women in Malawi and Zambia by providing small loans to help them develop their businesses.
I love the idea behind MicroLoan Foundation's work; that by empowering women through business loans they will become more self sufficient and will be more likely to be able to feed and educate their children.
"By providing small loans (Average £60) and ongoing business training and support, MicroLoan empowers women in rural Malawi and Zambia to set up self-sustainable businesses. The profits from these businesses enable the women to work themselves and their families out of poverty."
Running Yellow Lolly has enabled us to meet some amazing women, to connect with people all over the world, and to spend time doing work that we love. For Claire and I, owning our own business gives us the freedom to manage our own time and work to fit in with our families (though they often have to fit around our work too) and to plan for how we would like the company to grow in the future. I like to think it is also teaching our kids, by example, the importance of hard work, that it is possible to be a mother AND a business owner, that we all need to keep learning throughout our lives in order to continue to develop as people, and so much more. Knowing the difference running this business makes to our own lives, and the lives of our families, we hope that our donation will enable a woman in Africa to feel supported to build and grow her own business too.
Although we don't know where the poster is going to go up (the agency assures us they will try to track it down...) we feel so lucky to have the opportunity to have a real life advert somewhere on the tube. Apparently the posters are massive! We also love the idea that the whole team who worked on the project at DLKW Lowe were women too. Perfect!
We were involved in a short bit of filming to help promote the MicroLoan Foundation project. In the middle of setting up a pop-up shop when we were being filmed, neither Claire nor I were particularly relaxed in front of the camera. The more we were asked "could you just say that again but this time try not to squint/stand closer together/mention XYZ" the more and more we got flustered! See that expression on Claire's face? She may forgive me one day....
Do please take a look at the work done by MicroLoan Foundation. The difference made to women's lives, through small loans, business advice and training, is really humbling. The thought that our poster could help a mother earn enough from her business to send one of her children to school, to buy a bicycle to get her goods to market quicker, or any number of small but life-changing differences, well that would be pretty awesome. Even a really small donation could help train a woman to make her business stronger, and ultimately empower her.
It would be pretty cool if our poster helps to promote and strengthen our business, too. Please let us know if you spot it, there is a £25 voucher to spend in our store if you see it first!
PS Claire's T-Shirt in the picture above is from Selfish Mother which is another fantastic project, this time helping women in war-torn regions rebuild their lives through training programs. We're all about the Mama-love, here at yellow Lolly!