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Rick Steves Classroom Europe® is a free resource allowing teachers to share the best of European art, history, and culture with their students and fellow educators.

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Women Spearhead Development

Guatemala

NGOs have learned that in the poor world, women tend to be more responsible than men when it comes to making development projects successful.

Complete Video Script

Throughout the world, it's the women and girls who have fewer opportunities and endure the brunt of poverty. They eat last. They have babies early. And boys get priority for education. Ultimately, it's the women who take care of the children, and are most responsible with the family income. When women have an education, legal rights, and employment, they are empowered. Experience has shown the importance of relying on women to spearhead development projects.

Laura: One of the reasons we know that it's worth investing in women is that women always put the care of their families and their children ahead of themselves. So, for us, it's very important to ensure that we educate women, that we give women a voice, and that that translates into empowerment of women, money, and therefore development of their family and their children.

If we want to be successful in terms of addressing poverty, hunger, malnutrition, we know we have to work with women, because that will translate into the development of the full community.

In Addis Ababa, a local NGO called "Women in Self-Employment" is helping Ethiopian women develop small businesses. These women are taught basic workforce skills and are given vocational training. In a place where any solid job is a good job, these women learn to sew, they gain skills to join the hospitality industry, and they learn to be computer literate.

Organizations like this are in the business of producing success stories. And, judging by the smiles here — and the quickness with which these students embrace an impromptu opportunity to dance — this one's doing just that.