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Who We Are

Global Fund for Widows (GFW) is the world’s largest nonprofit organization working to economically empower widows in
emerging markets. We work to economically and legally empower widows and their children, through the establishment
of financially inclusive microbranks called the Widows’ Savings and Loan Association or WISALA. GFW is proud to have
established nearly 216 WISALA microbanks around the world. During COVID-19 lockdowns, GFW served over 6.5 million
meals to widows and their families.

Widows Empowerment Tools

Our goal is to help widows become economically and legally independent, long term. Therefore, we provide widows the following trainings:

Entrepreneurial Skills

We equip widows with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to start and grow their own businesses. These enable them to generate income, support their families, and contribute to their communities’ economic development, poverty reduction and gender equality.

Paralegal Certification

We help widows empower themselves by teaching them the laws of succession, matrimony and matrimonial property laws, land ownership laws, customary laws, harmful traditional practices and child marriage prevention laws, and international conventions. Ultimately, widows are Certified as Community Paralegals.

Financial Management

We equip widows with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage their own finances effectively, enabling them to independently support themselves and their families. This facilitates a successful initiation and growth of their own businesses.


Micro-Banks and Economic Empowerment - We Build Banks!

WISALA (Widows’ Savings and Loan Associaton) is an innovatve micro-bank model created to serve widows. The WISALAs provide a permanent and sustainable source of capital that allows widows and their children to rise from poverty and improve their medical and educational outcomes. Created specifically to offer financial access to widows and female heads of households, the WISALA allows previously unbanked widows to enter savings and loan associatons and start their businesses. 

WISALA Impacts - Transformative to Income, Economic Growth, Health and Education

2027 increase in Income

Through the WISALA model female heads of households and widows transform their financial paradigm. In Kenya, WISALA members saw a 2027% increase in their monthly


Medical Outcome Improvement

Due to the increase in income, women and their children can see a doctor when they need to. In Kenya, women participating in the WASALA program saw a 461% increase in medical spending. When they needed to see a doctor – they did.


Increasing School Enrollment for Children

Without a livelihood or income, widows are unable to pay
school fees and children cannot go to school. Through
the WISALA program, children are sent back to school. In
Kenya, WISALA participants showed a 203% increase in
educational spending.

Improved Nutrition and Stabilized Food Security

After engaging in the WISALA program, women spend more money on food. In Malawi, we saw an 81% increase in food expenses for the widows and their families. Even more
telling, the widows go from rarely eating meat – as it’s more expensive than vegetables, rice, or beans – to eating meat on average three times a week.

Mental and Emotional Health

Before starting the WISALA program, most widows admit feeling lonely, wary about the future, and powerless. One year into the program, widows reported a 100% increase in their confidence, strength, happiness, sense of belonging and community, and having control over the decisions they make for themselves and their families. 


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