Women grow much of the world's food, but receive little in the way of support, such as through agricultural extension services. UN Women addressed this issue in the poorest region of Albania by helping women organize cooperatives, and develop leadership and financial skills to manage them. They have learned to improve the quality of their products, such as through proper drying methods for herbs and fruits, and to market them with attractive labeling. Selling more of their crops means an earnings increase many never imagined possible.
Among the nearly 30 million migrants in Southeastern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the majority are women. But many women are also left behind, often in poor rural areas with few options to earn an income. In Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, UN Women has helped nearly 6,000 women form self-help groups. They have acquired new skills and improved knowledge on how to access markets and start businesses. Tajikistan's programme now operates in 12 districts, guided by research pinpointing the most vulnerable households. National microcredit institutions have started piloting a special credit product tailored specifically to poor rural women.