WED Cadre

Women Entrepreneurs' Associations ( WEA ) Capacity Building Guide 

What Is The WEA Capacity Building Guide?

The Women Entrepreneurs' Association Capacity Building Guide (WEA Capacity Building Guide) has been developed by the International Labour Organization's Women Entrepreneurs' Development and Gender Equality (ILO-WEDGE) team. It is a training package designed to assist Women Entrepreneurs' Associations (WEAs) to run and improve their associations. 


The WEA Capacity Building Guide covers different topics on creating a successful WEA and uses practical activities and discussions to create awareness on gender inequality and gender specific issues. The emphasis is on building the capacity of the associations, and on strengthening their ability to serve their women members. 


  • Ensure that women are effectively represented in mixed Small Business Associations (SBAs).
  • To create awareness regarding gender inequalities faced by women entrepreneurs and suggest ways of addressing these challenges through the creation of gender sensitive services in WEAs and SBAs. 
  • To ensure that women entrepreneurs have greater access to representation and voice in their business affairs and in influencing the policies and decisions that affect them.
  • To guide women in the formation and managing of a member-based business association.
  • To build the administrative, organisational, technical and financial capacities of new and existing associations to enable them to better serve their members.
  • To promote links between WEAs regionally and internationally, and foster linkages with other key private sector actors (e.g. employers' organisations).

 Target Group

The guide is aimed at women and men involved in existing WEAs and SBAs with an expressed interest in improving and developing their associations. By improving WEAs and SBAs, participants will in turn assist other women entrepreneurs by providing better services, more training and further support in their business endeavours. 

 Guide Components

The modules are in PowerPoint format, with slides supported by facilitators' notes. The guide is participatory; each session contains at least one discussion and/or activity. The modules form the basis for a training programme that would ordinarily be delivered over five days.

The gender implications of each topic are given prominence throughout the guide. Each session takes specific gender considerations into account, and seeks to find ways of addressing these. In line with the participatory nature of the guide, participants will have ample opportunity to elaborate on the gender aspects of each individual topic. The guide covers topics such as: Governance Principles of a WEAs, Organisation of a Business Association, Membership Strategies, Leadership, Stakeholder Analysis, and Strategic Planning. 

Where has the WEA Capacity Building Guide Been Implemented?

The WEA Guide was created in response to needs identified through research on women entrepreneurs and WEAs in several countries in East and Southern Africa. The WEDGE team first piloted the materials, and related impact assessment indicators, in 2003 and 2004 in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia. The materials were further developed and a generic WEA Capacity Building Guide was piloted in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in April 2006 and the current version has been adapted from the lessons learned during these pilot activities.




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