The Marie Schlei Association is a German non-profit organisation partnering with women’s organisations and women’s groups in Africa, Asia and Latin America and supporting small scale projects for helping women to help themselves. The association was founded in 1984 in memory of Marie Schlei, former German minister for development policy. The statutory goals of the association are the promotion of the mutual understanding of women in developed and developing countries, contributing to overcome poverty and inequality and cooperating with women in urban and rural areas etc.
From the Marie Schlei Association’s perspective, it is very important that women in Africa, Asia and Latin America promote, plan and carry out projects by themselves. Women are an indispensable economic factor for the sustainable development of a country. The economic empowerment of women belongs to our activities not only as business ideas, but especially because it is a human right issue for women to participate equally in the working life of a society and contribute to its development.
The focus of the projects is set on vocational trainings for women, creating new or better working prospects for them. This aim is achieved through professional trainings in agriculture, fishery, animal husbandry, crafts, computer technology, services etc. The women are thus able to obtain an income in order to support and nourish their families. Not only the trainings but also seminars on women’s rights contribute to develop higher self-esteem. In several projects women who have successfully finished their professional training, have access to micro credit financing which supports them to set up small scale businesses.
Over the last 30 years, the Marie Schlei Association has supported more than 800 qualification projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The projects are as different as their locations: solar drying of fruits and vegetables in Ghana, mushroom production in Vietnam, cattle breeding and cheese production in Bolivia, furniture production in the Dominican Republic or production of medical herbs in Argentina.
The Marie Schlei Association also informs about the situation of women in developing countries. It organizes seminars and round tables in Germany, with the goal of informing and discussing the role of women in the developing countries.