The Sustainable Market Women’s Fund (SMWF) is an international, independent, charitable organization committed to restoring the livelihoods of Liberian market women and women farmers, as investing in them means investing in Liberia’s future. Market women are the backbone of their nation’s economy, as well as providers of nutrition for the population. Nearly 75% of Liberian women work in the informal sector, conducting 85% of agricultural marketing and trading.
What Drives the Sustainable Market Women’s Fund?
An estimated 76% of Liberians live below the poverty line and more than
half of the population is estimated to live in extreme poverty. Only 15% of
Liberians are engaged in formal employment.
Few markets offer healthy work environments. Women sell in the open air
or under fragile shelters. For many, profits are not enough to pay for their
children’s education and essential health care such as immunization and
For most market women the only credit available is that which they
themselves organize in informal “su-su” groups – the round-robin credit
facilities that illustrate their entrepreneurial potential even if they are
generally small and highly undercapitalized. Adult literacy and
entrepreneurial training as well as availability of capital can strengthen their
capacities to create successful, sustainable businesses for themselves, their
families and their country.