Scott Smile Foundation Project

Empowering and employing marginalized women 

In the past decades some noticeable improvements have been made concerning gender equality in Mauritius and increasingly more women are taking part in the workforce. However, even though, the employment rates for women in Mauritius are higher than they have ever been, there is still a noticeable difference in unemployment rates between men and women, with the unemployment rate for women being around 9,7% compared to 4.1% of men. This is especially prominent in poorer regions on the island. Therefore, to help combat these problems on the island, the Scott project was initiated by The Scott Smiles Foundation together with EPCO. The Scott project is an expansion of the “Made in Heaven” project which started in 2009.

Fig 1: Project poster

The purpose of the project is to empower and employ marginalized women from Bois Marchand, and thus consequently help to combat poverty on the island. The project focuses on three main Sustainable development goals, which are Goal 1: No poverty, Goal 2: Zero hunger and Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth.

Fig 2 & 3: Recruitment event in Bois Marchand

Since tourism is one of Mauritius main sources of income, the women are trained to create different sustainable wooden souvenirs which are then later sold to tourists. These wooden souvenirs include different types of magnets and keyrings which represent different parts of Mauritian culture and the island’s beautiful scenery. Creating souvenirs in this way is not only valuable to ensure the employment of marginalized women, but it is also valuable since a large percentage of the Mauritian souvenirs are created in other countries, such as China. Thus, the production of these souvenirs enables tourists to buy local souvenirs which have been created sustainably here on the island.

Fig 1 & 2: Wooden souvenirs
Picture 10

After these women have attended all the necessary trainings to learn how to create the souvenirs, it is possible for them to pick up the needed material which they can later use to make the products at home. This gives the women more freedom to for example take care of small children or elderly at home, while still being employed and receiving an income.