Dec, 2023


Ease and flexibility are the hallmarks of this simple recipe that packs a ton of flavor. Akin to a salsa, try this chopped salad with flatbread, chips, or tortillas, or add it to almost any bowl or “make your own” night – perfect for baked potatoes or baked sweet potatoes, burrito bowls, rice and beans, or just topping a green salad. Recipe co-curator Georgia Reader says it comes together quickly and tastes delicious. “Soaking the raw onions mellows the flavor so they blend better with the other vegetables.” Try some of her suggested variations to make this work any time of year. Details

Profile on Our Transformation Partner: Equality Now

By Ellen Weiss, Transformation Partnership Writer


Together Women Rise recognizes that in order to truly achieve global gender equality, we must address the social and cultural norms, beliefs, practices, and laws that prevent women from having equal access to resources, decision-making power, and opportunity. Rise’s Transformation Partnerships are specifically designed to address the root causes of global gender inequality.

Together Women Rise has awarded a Transformation Partnership Grant in the amount of $100,000 per year for two years (2023 and 2024) to support the work of Equality Now.

Equality Now campaigns for legal and systemic change to address violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world. Since its founding in 1992, Equality Now has been a global leader in using a unique combination of legal advocacy, regional partnership-building, and community mobilization to create campaigns focused on realizing a more just and equal world for women and girls.


Click HERE to watch a short video about

Equality Now’s Theory of Change.



Nov, 2023

It Takes a Pioneer

By Ken Patterson, Co-Chair of the Together Women Rise Advocacy Group with RESULTS and Director, Grassroots Impact with RESULTS

Five years ago, Together Women Rise started exploring a partnership with RESULTS, a constituent advocacy organization working on US federal policy affecting women and girls around the world. The idea was to complement the great work Together Women Rise is doing supporting women’s organizations on the ground with systemic policy change that would create change at scale.  

Dr. Leslye Heilig (MA, Great Barrington-3 chapter) took part in the original exploration of the Together Women Rise and RESULTS partnership and has been leading the Together Women Rise Advocacy Group since the two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding four years ago. Leslye was somewhat new to advocacy as the partnership was getting started, but she saw the potential. She decided to be a role model of the power of change through advocacy and learned how to build a relationship with her members of Congress, use her voice in the media, and inspire skeptics who may have lost faith in our government.  

According to Rise CEO Beverley Francis-Gibson, “Leslye has been a committed volunteer leader and ambassador for the impact that advocacy can have when members are given the tools. We are so grateful for her many years of dedicated service to ensuring that Together Women Rise and RESULTS work together to champion many causes.”


Nov, 2023

A Rising Tide: Susan Wright

A Rising Tide: Susan Wright

This month, we’re featuring Susan Wright from our CA, Berkeley-2 chapter.  Susan has spent 30 years overseas. It’s where she served in the Peace Corps, it’s where she met her husband, and it’s where she discovered her deep interest in low-income countries.  Now back in the United States, Susan has found a good match for her interests and expertise with Together Women Rise, and is happy to be reconnecting with friends and family. 

Why did you get involved with Together Women Rise?

Partly, I think, because I’ve been involved on larger scale interventions. In the Peace Corps, we weren’t set up to foster small, local groups and it’s something I’ve always been interested in. Rise’s focus spoke to me. When I returned to the US, I joined FAB (Free Agents of Berkeley), and I suggested we form an interest group within Rise. There were about a dozen interested and we started it right as COVID hit. The first couple of months we met only virtually, which was sad, but still important enough to persevere. Now we are meeting comfortably in each other’s homes. Many of the women in my group had varying degrees of international experience, either working or traveling. We really get into the meat of what different groups achieve and the metrics. I have also enjoyed getting to know these other women. It’s been my social reintegration.

How do you recruit people to help run the chapter?

Certain things are done by term. We take the presentation very seriously, but it’s up to the person on what they say. We started with geography, but now we go in depth about what interests the presenter the most. That really livened it up. We have some really excellent presentations. For example, we had a member who worked in Palestinian refugee camps, and that was very personal when we talked about the July grantee. It helps when people speak from their experiences. Also, where we meet rotates every month. Some people have bigger homes who host more frequently, but everyone has done their best in hosting. It’s not very onerous to send a couple emails every month, so I’ve normally taken on that role. My co-lead, Robin, is in between two locations (one in Asheville), so I’ve recruited other people to help when she is not in town. The succession question is real and I haven’t quite solved that. I want to be active for a while but am trying to get as many people engaged as possible in different aspects. The strengths of our commonality are nice, but we want exposure to other groups as well.

What is your elevator pitch when someone asks you about Together Women Rise?

I normally talk about the ability to help organizations with the grassroots perspective. We have the privilege of being able to help others and these local communities know what they need to do. It’s fun, and we have great food and conversation when we meet. It has been helpful to have the leadership perspectives, to see that bigger picture too.

Why do your chapter members attend?

I think the social aspect is big. We like each other and like interacting. And everyone in the group has a true interest and engagement with women worldwide and have often had struggles themselves. They understand the importance of girls’ education and support. I’m also working with the Rise Advocacy Group with RESULTS; I am the mentor for the CA advocates. Mainly because I think it takes both – the foreign assistance and the grassroots. One cannot accomplish the needed results without the other. It is important to advocate before Congress to make sure those funds continue. I really like that Rise is recognizing the bigger picture with Transformation Partnerships. It speaks to me personally a lot because of my background.

You started your chapter during COVID. How did that work? What was it like?  

Many of us had used Zoom before, but some hadn’t. Because we hadn’t been meeting in person for a long time, we had an imperative to form connections virtually. We were so isolated, so we greatly appreciated that time to connect. It was over a year, maybe closer to two, that we were meeting this way. Then we met outdoors, even with masks on. We then did a few blended meetings but those were tough. We meet monthly, and meet for lunch now – sometimes in people’s gardens which is lovely.

What advice do you have to chapters just starting out?

I would suggest that they lean into the particularities of their membership. Each group has slightly different interests, different backgrounds. There is no one set way of doing this. Do what works for your chapter. Recite the Dinner Affirmation if you want, but you don’t have to. And when the presentations come, have the members really dive into what interests them. They learn more when they present. I think our members appreciate the evolving nature of the organization. It speaks to our own sense of what is important to do.

If you are interested in being featured on “A Rising Tide” or have a recommendation for a chapter or chapter leader who should be featured, please email Kia Hunter, our Volunteer Manager, at

Nov, 2023

The Proven Platter – Bangladesh, December 2023

Influened by its history and its geography, Bangladeshi cuisine is a rich and varied amalgam of Mughlai, Central Asian, Armenian, Persian, and Indian culinary traditions. Like many countries in Asia, rice is the staple grain. The protein of choice is fish. The dish featured this month, Masoor Dal Chorchori, is a vegan, gluten-free dish found in the kitchens of Bangladesh and its neighbor, India. In the Bangaldeshi avatar, the oil that is traditionally used is mustard oil. A distinguishing feature of the Bangladeshi dish is the addition of the mix of spices known as “Panch Phoran” (also called panch phoron or paanch phoron). Panch Phoran literally translates to “five spices” and is a spice blend commonly used in Bangladeshi cuisine. It consists of the following whole spices: cumin, brown mustard, fenugreek, nigella, and fennel. To keep the dish traditional, we will be using mustard oil. If you do not have access to mustard oil, you could substitute with avocado oil which has a high smoke point, an essential quality for “tempering.” Tempering is a technique used in South East Asian cooking that involves “blooming” whole spices in oil so the spices perfume the oil and deepen the flavor. The tempered oil and spices are typically added to the cooked dish while both are still hot to infuse the flavors into the dish. Watch for splatters when tempering and adding to the cooked lentils/dal! Details

Take Action Today on the READ Act Reauthorization

Authored by: Meg Gardiner, Global Education Policy Manager, RESULTS

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently said, “Peace is needed today more than ever. War and conflict are unleashing devastation, poverty, and hunger, and driving tens of millions of people from their homes.” We know that conflict and displacement are a major cause of 250 million children globally being out of school. We must call upon Congress to reauthorize the READ Act so that the U.S. does its part to ensure children everywhere get the education they deserve. Details

Equimundo: Center for Masculinities and Social Justice

Together Women Rise (Rise) and Equimundo share a core belief: that men and boys are essential partners and allies in achieving global gender equality. That is why Rise selected Equimundo to receive a Transformation Partnership Grant in the amount of $200,000, over two years, in order to further Equimundo’s critical work around the globe. Details

Sep, 2023

A Rising Tide: Sally Bookman

Sally is an expert networker and she meets people through her many assorted activities. Whether it’s through directing and acting at Rita’s Theater, playing tennis, selling real estate, singing in a choir, or as a professional painter, Sally loves to make connections with people – and invites many of them to Together Women Rise meetings!

Kia: Sally, your chapter is celebrating its 14th anniversary this year. Congratulations! Have you been with the group since the beginning, or when did you join?

Sally: I started this chapter 14 years ago. I was originally with another chapter, with Cari Class, but Rise was growing so quickly with up to 30 people per month, I offered to start a second chapter. I had been with the organization for about two years prior to that. It’s a great way for new people in town to meet others in the community, and a couple of our members have been with us for a really long time. The closeness has developed over time as well. Details

Sep, 2023

The Proven Platter – Pakistan, October 2023

Pakistan, young country that it is, having been cleaved from British-occupied India when the latter gained independence in 1947, often gets lumped with India when its culture or cuisine is discussed. This is neither entirely accurate nor very respectful of the tension that continues to exist between the two nations. What is accurate is that Pakistani cuisine is reflective of the regions that comprise it. The food borrows from Mughal, Middle Eastern, South Asian, British, and Indian traditions. Pakistani food tends to be meat-forward, fragrant with spices and layered in flavor profile. Details

We Are Growing Our Volunteer Program!

As Together Women Rise commemorates our 20th anniversary and looks ahead to the next 20 years, we want to ensure a top-rate Volunteer Program that meets the needs of Rise now and into the future, particularly as we expand our chapter and member numbers. We also want to ensure that every volunteer has a rewarding, empowering, and fun experience! Details

Aug, 2023

The Proven Platter – Kenya, September 2023

Uji is a spiced millet breakfast porridge usually served with a side of mandazi or other sweetened fried dough (similar to a light, fried doughnut). Originally, it was made with millet that had been mixed with water and fermented for added depth of flavor. More often now it is made with a millet flour blend which adds flavor and texture without the three-day fermenting time. Because it is economical to prepare, it has become a common street food. Details

Jun, 2023

The Proven Platter – India, August 2023

India is not a monolith. Each state has its own language, its own forms of art and music, and variations in cuisine. While the states within a region of India (North, South, East and West) may share some similarities in their cuisine, the flavor profile of the same dish within a region could be markedly different depending on which combinations of colonial powers laid claim to that particular state and on the ingredients that are readily available in the state. Details

May, 2023

Advocacy Update: Help Pass the READ Act

For the past two months our Advocacy Group with RESULTS has been taking a deep dive on The READ Act Reauthorization (H.R.681, S.41), which supports basic education around the world with a focus on girls. This legislation focuses on enhanced strategies for the improvement of foundational literacy and numeracy, which are essential elements of a quality basic education. And we know that educating girls is one of the most important things we can do to advance gender equality!  

In low- and middle-income countries, up to 70% of 10-year-olds are unable to read a simple text. The longer children remain out of school, the less likely they are to return, and the World Bank estimates that this generation of students will lose $17 trillion in lifetime earnings due to a lack of basic education. And quality primary education isn’t the only challenge. Around 200 million youth ages 12-17 are currently out of secondary school, and 80 percent of children in low-income countries lack access to preschool. But within these numbers, the harsh reality is that girls are the most severely impacted and the most likely to be left out of school or fail to return due to child marriage or pregnancy. 


May, 2023

Landesa: Empowering Women Through Land Rights

By Ellen Weiss, Transformation Partnerships Writer 


Imagine a world where women have equal footing. A world where the power offered by secure rights to land is shared by women and men. A world where that power is used to strengthen the livelihoods of women, their families, and their communities.  


This vision propels Landesa’s work with local, grassroots organizations in more than 50 countries.  


Founded in 1981, Landesa is a non-governmental organization that partners with governments and civil society to extend and strengthen land rights for women experiencing poverty. Stronger rights to land have the power to reduce poverty and conflict, increase economic activity, empower women, strengthen food security, and improve environmental stewardship. 

Landesa is one of Together Women Rise’s Transformation Partners. Our support of $200,000 over two years is furthering Landesa’s critical work, including Stand for Her Land — a global advocacy campaign spearheaded by Landesa to secure women’s rights to the homes they live in and the resources they care for and to engage men on the journey to equality.    


“Together Women Rise is proud to be partnering with Landesa, a trailblazing organization that is fighting to change the systems that hold women back from achieving land rights and gender justice,” says Beverley Francis-Gibson, Rise’s CEO. “Landesa has a proven track record in securing property rights for women – having worked in over 50 countries where women still encounter persistent barriers to their land rights. Land rights are part of women’s human rights and a key component of gender equality.”   



May, 2023

A Rising Tide: Debbie Monaco & Ruth Bates

Although their paths to central New York were a bit different, both Debbie and Ruth now enjoy having family nearby as they enter retirement – or almost retirement. Debbie works in HR/Accounting, and her hobbies include reading and birdwatching. Ruth passed along her passion for engineering to her daughter, and now loves to help other women in need.


May, 2023

The Proven Platter – Honduras, June 2023

The cuisine of Honduras is a delightful fusion of Central American, Mesoamerican (Lenca), Spanish, Caribbean, African, and Garifuna cuisines; a product of its own roots and a marriage of cuisines that it came in historic or geographic proximity with. The dishes, whether savory or sweet, are rich in flavor and use ingredients that are locally grown or sourced. This month’s dish, Honduran Yucca cake, features some quintessential Honduran ingredients, including yucca (cassava) and coconut milk. Somewhat reminiscent of a tres leches cake in that this recipe also uses three kinds of “milk,” coconut, evaporated and condensed, the yucca cake is vastly different in texture and taste as it uses grated yucca as the “flour.” It is almost less cake and more like a bread (zucchini bread comes to mind), if you will. Extremely flavorful, due to the mix of spices used, and somewhat decadent, a slice of this cake would be perfect with coffee as an evening snack or as dessert. Details

Apr, 2023

Meet Our New Volunteer Transformation Partnerships Writer

Meet Ellen Weiss – our new volunteer who will be writing articles and providing additional learning materials focused on our Transformation Partnerships. She has more than 30 years of international experience in research, programming, and communications, with a particular emphasis on gender equality.  This includes working with the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), one of Rise’s Transformation Partners. Ellen is a member of Rise’s DC, Washington-4 chapter. Details

Apr, 2023

The Proven Platter – Ethiopia, May 2023

This month, two recipes combine for a delicious Ethiopian treat: a spiced butter (Niter Kibbeh) and a lightly sweetened and spiced bread (Himbasha). Note that spices commonly used in Ethiopian cuisine are featured here, including cardamom and fenugreek. Though you can certainly enjoy this Ethiopian sweet bread with spiced butter spread any time of day, it is generally eaten for breakfast or as a side to a meal, as desserts are not common in Ethiopian cuisine. Details

Advocate for US funds!

By Susan Wright, leader of the Together Women Rise CA, Oakland chapter and member of the Together Women Rise Advocacy Group with RESULTS. Susan is also a former Peace Corps volunteer and staff member with USAID. 


International assistance accounts for less than 1% of the US federal budget, but it still represents an important proportion of all foreign aid. Over 20% of all US foreign aid supports health and education programs vital for women and girls, whether through global, multi-donor programs or through funding for country-specific activities. US funds provide critical inputs such as medications; training of doctors, educators, and nurses; and development of country-specific educational materials. Without US government support for these broader efforts, the work of grantees funded by Together Women Rise and the ability of women and girls to take advantage of their activities would be severely hampered.  Details

Mar, 2023

The Proven Platter—Malawi, April 2023

Malwaian cuisine has remained relatively unchanged from influences of other cuisines. It is thus very traditional, utilizing the produce, grains, and meat that are found in the region and that can be locally sourced. Most dishes are uncomplicated and composed of a few ingredients and involve fairly straightforward preparation. Zitumbuwa are a perfect example of this. Zitumbuwa are deep fried banana fritters that are made of just three ingredients: banana, fine cornmeal (more traditionally, maizemeal), and baking soda. Some more contemporary interpretations add milk and egg, but we are keeping to basics here. The Zitumbuwa come together in less than 15 minutes and are best eaten hot. Crunchy, sweet, and delicious, they would make for a perfect evening snack with tea on a warm April evening. Details

Feb, 2023

A Rising Tide: Jill Sobieszyk

One of our goals for this Chapter Leader newsletter is to create a forum for chapter leaders to learn from each other and about each other. We’re calling this feature “A Rising Tide” because when one of our chapters succeeds, we all succeed – and we should share those strategies and successes with each other to lift all our boats, metaphorically speaking. This month, we are featuring one of the AZ, Tucson – 3 chapter’s four leaders, Jill Sobieszyk.

A “retired” teacher of 40 years, Jill now lives in Arizona and tutors students in many subjects, from math to reading. As an educator she finds the value of teaching so important, which is also why she remains a student herself, taking art lessons and researching our many grantees and their countries’ cultures. Details

Feb, 2023

The Proven Platter – Kenya, March 2023

Irio is another simple but delicious Kenyan week night dinner. There are many variations – from a simple mash of sweet potatoes, peas and corn seasoned with salt and pepper, to a spicier dish using a blend of sweet onions, smokey paprika and hot sauce. I preferred the spicier blend with white and red sweet potatoes roasted to maximize their sweetness. Details

Jan, 2023

The Proven Platter – Guatemala, February 2023

Guatemalan cuisine is a mix of culinary traditions of the aborginal population that inhabited the land and of those of her later colonizers. This mix of Mayan and Spanish culinary traditions is reflective of cuisince of another country: Mexico. There are thus dishes with similar sounding names but different interpretations (like the enchilidas) as well as dishes with different names in the two cultures but that have a similar culinary composition. The Atolillo Guatemalteco or Guatemalan Atolillo is very similar to the Mexican Atole, a sweet drink that is consumed warm. While Mexican Atole is made with masa harina, the Atolillo Guatemalteco is made with rice milk. Requiring just a handful of ingredients that most would have in the pantry, the drink comes together very quickly (does require overnight soaking of the rice). A comforting drink with the warmth of cinnamon and vanilla and the taste of arroz con leche, the Atolillo Guatemalteco is perfect for a cold evening in Feburary. Details