Starting this month, we’ll not only share recipes from the country of origin of our featured grantee, but also from our designated sustained grantee. The potential culinary mashups in 2019 at Dining for Women meetings are certainly very exciting! Details
A Voice for Change Beekeeping Empowers a Rural Woman to Transcend her Traditional Roles
The African People & Wildlife Fund (APW) builds the capacity of rural Africans in northern Tanzania’s Maasai community to engage in conservation and sustainable livelihood strategies that promote the dual objectives of biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. Dining for Women (DFW) awarded APW a Featured Grant of $47,500 in May 2016 to fund the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Initiative. This project empowers women to protect their natural resources for themselves and for future generations through entrepreneurship and environmentally-friendly small business development such as bee-keeping. DFW recently selected APW to receive a Sustained Grant in 2019.Details
It was fitting to start our first full day in Guatemala going back in time to the Iximche /ee-sheem-chay/ ruins between Antigua and Panajachel. Iximche was the capital of the Kaqkichel Mayan Kingdom from 1470-1524 prior to Spanish conquest. Over 100 structures have been found at Iximche which is composed of four large plazas strung out along a ridge and protected by a deep moat. Buildings include palaces, numerous pyramid temples and residences, and a couple of ball courts. Details
By Emmy Holt, Dining for Women member, SC, Greenville-7 chapter
After being served breakfast at the hotel, we walked down to the dock in Panajachel where we climbed into motor boats and crossed Lake Atlitlan (translation: “near the volcano”) to San Juan La Laguna. What a beautiful lake, formed from a crater after the 1853 volcanic eruption! The lake connects the villages, is 12 miles long, and over 1000 feet deep. From the lake we could see three cone-shaped volcanos- Atitlan, Toliman, and San Pedro. Details
By Suzanne Spitzer, Dining for Women member, SC, Greenville-7 chapter
Guatemala faces some of the highest levels of violence against women and girls in the world, has the third highest femicide rate globally, and ranks third lowest in the region on the Gender Inequality Index. Rural indigenous women and girls are disproportionately impacted due in part to their social isolation and limited access to resources. Details
Nepal Youth Foundation was a Dining for Women Featured Grantee in 2012 and a Sustained Grantee from 2016-2018. In total, we have invested more than $100,000 in the organization. These funds have been used to help eradicate the selling of young girls into bonded servitude and to promote gender equality and empower women in Nepal. Our Sustained Grant helped to increase the employability and end poverty of the girls freed from the Kamlari system of indentured servitude.
When Pushpa C. was only 10 years old, her desperately poor parents sent her into servitude as a “Kamlari” so the family could pay their debts. This type of domestic slavery was all too common in some regions in rural Nepal. Details
Caravan to Class was Dining for Women’s Featured Grantee in March 2017. Dining for Women’s $42,260 grant was used to train 200 women in 10 villages in classical literacy, teaching them basic reading, writing, and calculating in their local languages to both improve their livelihoods and empower this group of women to be important advocates for education in their villages. The following story was provided by Barry Hoffner of Caravan to Class.
In 2014, Caravan to Class built a French-based school for 120 children ages 6-12 years old. Before we agree to build a school in a village near the fabled Timbuktu in Mali, we do a detailed study on the village to be confident that it has the scale needed to create a successful school environment. We soon realized that the attendance of the Samdiar school was much beyond our expectation because many children from the nearby village of Kakondji were going to the Samdiar school by boat along the Niger river, Africa’s third longest. As a result, Caravan to Class decided to build a school in the village of Kakondji in 2015. Details
I can’t believe it’s December already! We’re taking on India this month!
Usually, I like to do an “Around the World Appetizer Party” for my last post in December. I think we need to keep things simple in December since we’re all so busy. It feels right for appetizers instead of a full meal. I’ve got some ideas for you, but I also think it’s a great time for you to try out any new appetizer ideas on your friends and get great feedback before the holidays. Details
By Sonia Marsh, author, blogger, and member of Dining for Women’s CA, Fullerton-1 chapter
It’s funny how situations in life can eventually lead to finding your purpose. Had my 28-year marriage not fizzled in 2015, I would never have served in the Peace Corps, and probably never have discovered Dining for Women. Details
Kenya Self-Help Project was Dining for Women’s Featured Grantee in July 2017. Our $44,990 grant provided an integrated, in-school program of Girls Club education, life skills training, and material support to improve health awareness, school retention, and class performance. The project included the distribution of over two thousand Dignity Kits, containing underwear, locally-made, reusable sanitary supplies, and emergency disposable pads.
My name is Sheba Melody. I am 14 yrs old and I go to Yala Primary School in Kendu Bay, Kenya. I am a total orphan. I lost my parents at a tender age. I live with my maternal grandmother’s sister. The rest of my siblings live with our other maternal aunts and uncles. Details
Kenya calls us to come for a visit this month! And since it’s November, it’s definitely time to think about a warming beef stew, epic comfort food at this time of year. Kenyan Beef Stew is not all that different from our American version. It contains meat, potatoes, and carrots. I find that the difference is in the spices used and the inclusion of tomatoes and plantains. Details
Looking to the past and encouraging growth for the future has helped the NC, Charlotte-2 chapter thrive for a decade.
Founded by Sheri Calandra, the chapter is now led by Julia Edelson and Tricia Malinowski. Sheri gathered neighborhood friends and founded the NC, Charlotte-1 chapter in 2003.
“Those were the days when there was no video and we only had information downloaded from the website to discuss the grantees,” Julia and Tricia said. “We met on a fairly regular basis for about five years. Sheri moved out of the neighborhood and continued the chapter with some of us for a while in the nearby South Park area of Charlotte.”
Soon, the neighborhood group decided to meet closer to home and split into NC, Charlotte-2, with Julia as chapter leader. Tricia joined as co-leader about two years ago.
“We decided a number of years back that we would meet every month even if we only had a handful of women able to attend,” Julia and Tricia said. “We have occasionally missed a month – July or August when everyone is on vacation, or a crazy busy month like May or November.”
Each December, the group invites husbands and partners to join in as well.
With more than 40 people on the roster, the typical meeting includes about a dozen members. They take turns hosting, with the hostess typically cooking a main dish and members bringing sides and desserts to share. The co-leaders also take turns handling the administrative duties needed to make the chapter work so well. Recently, the chapter had a high school student participate for several months. Her senior exit project about girls and education in developing countries required volunteer service that she accomplished by presenting at one of the meetings and leading the discussion.
“I think all of our chapter members would agree that we appreciate being a part of Dining for Women because it takes us out of our ‘typical American lives’ and helps us center and focus on more important issues in our larger world,” Julia and Tricia said. “We have had great discussions and look forward each month to broadening our horizons. About a year ago we began inviting a few younger women, one of whom is the adult daughter of one of our members. This addition has enhanced our discussions with the perspective of these millennials. We highly value their contributions.”
Dining for Women started with a meal. Even as the organization has grown, food has retained a special place at the center of the giving circle. Sharing a meal means sharing time, conversation, and a bit of ourselves. Linda McElroy has helped spur that connection by encouraging creativity in the kitchen and a fresh look at international cuisine during her time as DFW’s Recipe Curator.
McElroy is stepping down after five years of service in that position, but she remains committed to DFW and its programs. She first learned of DFW after a segment about it aired on NBC News.
“My husband and I were watching and he said, ‘You have to do that,’ and I said, ‘I know,’” McElroy said. “I applied for a chapter right after that.”
McElroy is now a Seattle-area Mentor, and she enjoys visiting a variety of chapters. She said the specificity of the help provided by DFW to its grantees has been meaningful to her.
“When you look at the materials and read about the people you’re helping, I find it fascinating that this money will help 250 girls,” she said. “It’s not vague. I am actually helping girls in a village in Kenya. It feels more personal.”
McElroy saw a DFW call for a Recipe Curator and knew it was a good fit. “I immediately got excited about it,” she said. “I was recently retired. My husband and I owned a restaurant for 25 years.”
The role has been an opportunity for McElroy to experiment and learn about new foods, while providing an enormous benefit to DFW.
“I love researching recipes,” she said. “There was this whole world of different foods that I was ready to explore. I had never done anything like this before. This group trusted me to go for it. That first year, I was finding my way. I’ve just loved doing it.”
By Betty Purkey Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Each month in this newsletter, we’ve been giving you ideas on how to make your chapter more active, vibrant, and sustainable — things like trying a new location for your meetings, changing the food, or making the meeting time more convenient for your members. Now we’re going to look at another aspect of making your chapter more sustainable: building community in your chapters. Details
This month we are traveling to Afghanistan. Naan, a type of flatbread, is the most widely consumed bread in Afghanistan. But for something more interesting I discovered the Afghan “bolani,” or filled turnover. The most common filling includes mashed potatoes and lots and lots of green onions. For a very earthy flavor, try a Swiss chard filling. Fried or baked, cut into wedges, they make a delicious appetizer. Details
By Chris King, Co-leader of DFW’s CA, San Francisco-1 chapter and member of DFW’s Advocacy Committee
Extreme poverty is an unrelenting churn of chaos and difficulty for families, yet they survive. There is a lot of pressure for people to leave the violence and poverty they face in a country like Guatemala. Details
Although it is almost September, I am still elated about our Knowledge is Power National Conference in May and from all the energy that our grantees and members created for our mission and our future. At the closing of the conference, I told our audience that the conference felt like a launchpad. I think we all witnessed the transformative power of our organization and saw a vision for what our organization can be in the future. What a powerful way to propel us forward into setting the vision for the coming years. Details
Even as the organization has grown, food has retained a special place at the center of our chapters. Sharing a meal means sharing time, conversation, and a bit of ourselves. DFW member Linda McElroy has helped spur that connection by encouraging creativity in the kitchen and a fresh look at international cuisine during her time as DFW’s Recipe Curator. Details
By Betty Purkey-Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Are you looking to increase the size of your chapter, or replace members who have moved away? September is a great time to recruit new chapter members as many people are looking to join activities in the fall. Details
This month our good works take us to Malawi. I think we’ve been there a few times before! I picked up one of my go-to African cookbooks, “Zainabu’s African Cookbook,” for inspiration this month. I found a recipe for Beef with Butternut Squash that sounded promising. When I read the recipe, I realized it is very similar to something I’ve made in the past that I’ve really enjoyed. Details
Food takes center stage at DFW’s Vienna/Fairfax chapter, led by Shelley Brosnan and Colleen McLain. The group is celebrating 10 years of wonderful dishes, passion for service, and dedication to each other.
The chapter was founded by Shelley, along with Tamara Drozd. The pair had been thinking about starting a cooking club when they learned about DFW. It was a natural fit, helping them to combine their passions of good food and helping women and children. Details
By Corinne Blakemore, Central Regional Leader and member of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
When I first heard about Dining for Women in 2010, I was planning to join a local chapter and get involved in the organization straight away. Little did I know that there were no chapters in Indiana or even within a two-hour driving distance of South Bend, where I live. This stalled me for a bit, but just for a bit. Details
This month we are arm chair traveling to El Salvador. Right off the bat I knew what I wanted to make—Pupusas! I’ve had them many times from the local pupuseria, but I’ve never made them myself. I got busy doing some research on how to make them and also found a great tutorial on YouTube to share with you. Details
It’s July, and we’re visiting Kenya this month! Usually when I think of Kenyan food, it’s some kind of stew, but it is summertime and I wanted something to serve that is light and refreshing. I came up with a twist on a traditional Kenyan corn and bean stew called “Githeri” by turning it into a salad. Details
By Betsy Dunklin, Chair of Dining for Women’s Advocacy Committee
Experts on the well-received advocacy panel at our National Conference (see photo) emphasized that NOW is the perfect time to add your voice to your dollars to help impoverished women and girls in developing countries.
Action on the just-passed FY2018 and proposed FY2019 budgets is taking place in both the House and Senate over the next month or so. The Administration has proposed a more than 30% cut to the International Affairs (IA) budget for FY2019. The IA budget is historically just 1% of the total US budget.Details
The PA, Abington-1 chapter, started and still led by Debbie Britt and Mary Liz Jones, is celebrating 10 years of friendship, connection and learning – and it all started with a desire to help others.
Mary Liz saw a magazine story about DFW and kept it for quite a while, ultimately discussing it with Debbie. The pair contacted DFW co-founder Marsha Wallace and decided to start a chapter. They initially met with about a dozen people to tell them about DFW and collaborative giving before holding their first chapter meeting in May 2008. Details
Quilters create a different kind of art. It is one that is frugal, often relying on source material of leftover or repurposed fabric. It brings people together to focus time and effort on each delicate stitch. It creates warmth, both the physical kind that comes from a layered blanket and the emotional kind that accompanies a handmade heirloom. And for Margaret Guthrie, that art is a way to contribute to causes that touch her heart. Details
By Ruth Bates, Northeast Region Mentor and member of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Do you feel like your meetings sometimes get a little monotonous? Do you have a month when you can’t find someone willing to host your chapter meeting? My chapter had that happen early last summer. Historically, certain members have volunteered for specific months for many years running. Last year in June, we suddenly found ourselves without a host. Our perennial host and chapter leader found herself in the midst of a family relocation. We had to be creative to solve this change in plans. Details
We’re going to Haiti this month. Can you say “pork griot” (gree-oh)? It is one of the most popular dishes you will find there. Chunks of pork are marinated, then simmered until tender and succulent, then fried until caramelized and crispy. You’ll always find it accompanied by “pikliz” (pik-lees), a spicy, vinegared cabbage and carrot relish. The spicy relish makes the perfect complement to the rich and fatty pork. Details
Support is growing internationally to put women and girls at the core of a country’s foreign aid to end extreme poverty. Will you add your voice to keep the U.S. moving in this direction? Now is a perfect time to tell your representatives in Congress how you feel. It is especially important to counter the administration’s renewed proposal to slash programs aimed at global poverty reduction. Details
We are grateful for the dedicated service that DFW member Stephanie Sawyer has provided as our Social Media Curator for the past five years. Stephanie is now stepping down from this role, moving on to a new opportunity, but one with the same mission to empower women and girls in developing countries. Details
By Betty Purkey-Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair, Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Oh my gosh, there were only three members at my chapter meeting last night! What’s going on?
Has that ever happened to you? You may be used to 12 members attending your meetings and suddenly only three or four are showing up. You haven’t been paying attention and all at once you notice and realize that attendance at your meetings has been declining over the last six months. Maybe you need to look closer at what is happening. Details
This month we are traveling to Benin (Beh-NEEN). It is just a tiny slip of a country in West Africa. It runs the long way south to north, and it is surrounded by Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. The official language is French; however, many indigenous languages are still spoken.
Peanut- and tomato-based sauces are commonly prepared and served over couscous, rice and beans. Yams are a main staple in the north; meats such as beef and pork are used sparingly. In the south, the most common ingredient used is corn, with fish and chicken being the most commonly consumed meats. Details
In 2017, Dining For Women’s Grants and Partnerships Oversight Committee (GPOC) launched a “year of education” in order to ensure that we are informed about the current research and best practices in grantmaking and in promoting equality for women and girls. In addition to the GPOC, we engaged a “member discussion forum” to share in the readings and discussions. The research we reviewed highlighted several aspects of effective grantmaking, solutions to poverty and inequality that are critical to understanding how our grants can make the biggest and best impact. The goal of this undertaking was to reaffirm the effectiveness of DFW’s Featured Grants while exploring new ideas and research for our Sustained Grants program. The Grants Selection Committee is selecting a new slate of three-year Sustained Grantees for the beginning of 2019. Details
Walking from my room along the beautiful Chez Lando’s fragrant paths, lined with neatly trimmed green hedges and what seemed like the aroma of honeysuckle, on my way to our morning gathering. Air shifting, not quite a breeze but enough to fill my ears with the sound of a certain humming of activity throughout the grounds, all a pleasant and soothing start to what would, in contrast, be one of the most emotionally intense days, for me, of our learning journey to this amazing small country in the middle of East Africa. We were off first to the deeply inspiring Nyamirambo Women’s Center, in one of the poorest traditional neighborhoods in Kigali, to learn how women have taken matters in their own hands, struggled to earn, to learn. In the afternoon, the Kigali Genocide Museum. After a delicious cup of coffee with hot milk and an omelette at our lovely hotel Chez Lando, I boarded our bus with incredible curiosity, excitement, along with a bit of jet lag. Soon, though, I was completely immersed in the incredible day that was to follow…..although a long-time advocate for women and children and a donor to women’s giving funds, I am entirely new to Dining for Women (DFW) and can’t wait to get out and see some of the projects that have been funded and learn what’s working, what’s not, and what information we might gather from the women in the community to take back to DFW. Details
On Day 3 of our amazing Dining for Women Rwanda trip, the major focus was gender equity. Some background: women are remarkably well-represented in the Rwandan government. When Rwanda ratified its constitution in 2003, they outlawed discrimination to prevent the ethnic persecution that resulted in the 1994 genocide. But beyond ethnic equality the constitution also established gender equality, and many new laws were enacted. The constitution requires that 30% of government decision-making positions be held by women. In fact, that target has been exceeded across the government: 64% of the parliament representatives are women – the highest percentage worldwide! Details
It was day 4 and after breakfast, we were off to visit one of the DFW grantees, SHE (Sustainable Health Enterprises). As we boarded the bus for our venture into the countryside, we were pleasantly surprised to be joined by Connie Lewin, Director of Strategy for SHE (and a DFW Board member) and Danielle Raso, Business Development Associate. Both work in the New York office, and it was an amazing coincidence that their trip to Rwanda overlapped with ours. We were also joined by Flora Ufitinema, Field Operations Associate, and Daria, Business Development Manager, who both reside in Rwanda. Details
Another beautiful African morning dawns as we sip our strong coffee and prepare to visit the facilities of Gardens for Health, just outside of Kigali. We have a full day’s visit planned with lots of interesting interactions along the way. It feels great to get off the bus and have an opportunity to walk around the farm where so many things are happening all at once. We are greeted first by Bailey who offers us an overview of the goals and objectives of this energetic non-profit. Details
By Judy Bacon, Volunteer Mentor, Chapter Leader of WA, Spokane Valley-1, and member of DFW’s Chapter Health and Retention Committee
You are a fantastic and devoted Dining for Women chapter leader. In fact, you’re Wonder Woman! You do it all, and you do it well. You schedule the meeting, you plan the meeting, you invite everyone, you find a hostess and a presenter, you run the meeting, you deposit the checks– you’re amazing. But wait! You are beginning to feel exhausted, and no one else knows how to do what you do. Your chapter would fold without you. For your own sake and for the sake of your chapter, you need help. Details
My choice for the Proven Platter recipe this month has a very fancy name: Rolex – but it’s not what you think. Although it’s called a “rolex” we know we wouldn’t eat a watch. Of course not! In Uganda, a rolex refers to a rolled breakfast omelet. 🙂 Details
New York and Northeast chapters are invited to attend a panel presentation about gender-based violence during CSW62, the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), to be held March 14 in New York. Dr. Veena Khandke, DFW’s Director of Grants and Partnerships, will represent DFW as the primary sponsor of this session, which is co-sponsored by UNICEF USA. Details
By Betty Purkey-Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair of DFW’s Chapter Health and Retention Committee
You just found out that your spouse/partner is being transferred to another city and you are moving. Your first thought isn’t about your DFW chapter and it shouldn’t be, but what is going to happen to your chapter when you move? Details
I am pretty excited about what I’ve got planned for you this month. The country of Guatemala is on the docket. We’ll start out with some guacamole and chips, Guatemalan style, just to whet our appetites. Then it’s on to the main course, Fiambre Rojo. Think of an enormous Italian antipasto platter and you’ll get the idea of what fiambre is all about. And for dessert, how about some dark chocolate crepes filled with a dreamy dulce de leche filling? Yes, please! Details
By Betsy Dunklin, Dining for Women Advocacy Committee Chair
Last fall, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dining for Women’s volunteer Regional Leaders at their annual retreat. I was encouraged to hear that many chapters are not only excited about our new advocacy program, they are raring to go!
It all started around the dinner table. In 2003, Dining for Women Co-Founder Marsha Wallace celebrated her birthday with a simple fundraising dinner with friends. That meal would lead to DFW and its first chapter – SC, Greenville-1 – which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary.
“After 15 years of inviting DFW into our Greenville homes, we celebrate the power of an individual to shape the lives of others,” said Co-Founder Barb Collins. “Our fervent belief that investing in the futures of women and girls transforms the world is proving that collective giving is a powerful force for change.” Details
Even during a year in which the United States suffered through 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each, you, our members, showed up each month to support Dining for Women. Thanks to your record-breaking donations, in 2017 we were able to fund grants and partnerships that directly impacted the lives of nearly 40,000 women and girls in 18 countries around the world. Details
By Susan Prener, Co-Leader of our Northeast Region and member of our Chapter Health and Retention Committee
As we shared in last month’s issue, chapter health and retention is very important. We want all our chapters to stay healthy, active, and engaged long into the future. Our volunteer Chapter Health and Retention Committee is focusing on best practices for chapter longevity and sharing these practices with you through a series of monthly blogs. Our goal is to bolster existing chapters, even as we grow more chapters throughout the country. This month we are talking about the importance of holding regular chapter meetings and the challenge of winter weather! Details
Peruvian-style pollo a la brasa, or rotisserie chicken, is perhaps one of the most well-known Peruvian dishes here in the U.S. due to the many take-out joints around the country (depending on where you live!). It is also one of the most consumed dishes in Peru. A whole chicken is marinated overnight in a combination of garlic, herbs, soy and vinegar, and then roasted whole on a spit, often over a charcoal fire. The chicken is always served with creamy, mayonnaise-type sauces, typically bright with aji amarillo chile pepper. Very often it is accompanied by French fries and salad with ranch dressing. My kind of yum! Details