When I received a call from Susan Anderson, a board member with The Grandmother Project (GMP), inviting me to travel with her to Senegal to see their work in action, I jumped at the chance. Patricia Andersson, inveterate traveler and trip leader, was up for the adventure too! CREATE!, another DFW grantee, was headquartered within several hours drive of the GMP office, so we were fortunate to be able to visit both organizations to see the projects we’ve supported with our DFW grants. Details
The first time I talked with Jessica Posner, co-founder of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), was June 2011. Shining Hope for Communities was Dining for Women’s featured grantee, and I had asked her to Skype with my chapter. It was about 2:00 a.m. in Kenya! We were riveted as she described the school and the vision that she and Kennedy, her life partner and SHOFCO co-founder, have for their organization. We were hooked by the vision but also by the story of Jessica and Kennedy, drawn together in life and in work. Jessica is from Denver, Colorado. Kennedy was born and raised in the slums of Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya. Together they’ve established a thriving nonprofit that is changing the lives of precious girl students and also their community in Kibera. Details
Recent terrorist attacks in Paris have resulted in shock and sadness among millions, making some question what, if anything, can be done to make a positive impact on the state of affairs that contributed to the violence. In others, it has generated a sense of urgency to do something, to make a difference.
This quote comes from a friend who posted her thoughts on Facebook: “So many things swirling in my mind this afternoon. Things about how enormous the problems and injustices in the world are, and how insignificant any one person’s efforts seem in the face of such immense wrong.” Another friend was so moved to take action that she decided to write a letter to a nonprofit she’s involved with, suggesting the creation of a program to bring women of the U.S. together with women in developing countries as a way to foster deeper knowledge of others, to break down barriers that keep us from seeing one another’s common humanity.
Dining for Women is moving to be a part of the broader conversation about gender equality and women’s global empowerment. We have connected with Oxfam America on some projects and recently Marsha Wallace was invited to become an Oxfam Sister on the Planet Ambassador. Through that lens, we are having our eyes opened to some issues in the world of international rights, compensation and environmental impact. Details
No one effort or approach can change the world. Abiding change comes when the governance at the top meets the advocacy and grassroots efforts at the bottom. Marsha Wallace explores three examples of new efforts driving change.Details
Nonprofits are trapped in a “starvation cycle” – a concept identified by some of the largest oversight and watchdog organizations in the nonprofit world like Charity Navigator and Guidestar. It’s destabilizing good organizations that do important work and can eventually threaten their sustainability.Details
Former kamlari slaves have had their lives transformed thanks to the efforts of the Nepal Youth Foundation and the support of Dining for Women. They now are transforming the lives of other. An inspiring self-perpetuating cycle that we are proud to be part of. Details
The shocking kidnapping of 270 Nigerian schoolgirls has turned the world’s attention to human trafficking. Every day, in every country, people’s lives and futures are stolen from them. There is no easy answer, no quick fix. But we can take advantage of the opportunity to educate others on the widespread horror of modern-day slavery and to inspire them to join in efforts to change cultures for women around the world.
Women and children in conflict zones around the world are far more likely to be killed, raped, injured and torn from their homes than actual combatants. The Women Peace and Security Act offers protection for women on the ground and a seat at the negotiating table. But it is languishing in Congress. What can DFW do to help?
DFW recognizes that our mission of making a meaningful difference in the lives of women living in extreme poverty cannot be separate from our commitment to promote gender equality.
This is reflected in our recently revised vision statement: “We envision a world in which millions of lives have been transformed and extreme poverty has been reduced because Dining for Women has connected people in creative, powerful ways that assure gender equality. “
One of the most prevalent symptoms of gender inequality is gender-based violence. As Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn explained in the introduction to their book, Half the Sky, more women have been killed just because they are women than all the men killed in all the world wars of the 20th century combined.
Harmful practices like sex-selective abortion, female infanticide, suicide, honor killings, bride burnings, and rape are all components of gender-based violence. Estimates are that up to one in three women will be a victim of gender violence at some point, and in some countries, as many as 70 percent of women are victims. Gender-based violence, one of the most egregious of human rights violations, is a public health crisis and a barrier to some of the world’s greatest challenges: eradication of HIV and AIDS, extreme poverty and political stability in some of the world’s most conflict- ridden countries. Details
Gloria Steinem, far right, with (from the left) Diane Wege Sherodan, Marsha Wallace, Elizabeth Howard, Jessica Neuwirth and Joan Davidson.
By Marsha Wallace Co-Founder, Dining for Women
My recent tour of the Northeast region was a dream come true,. It began with visits to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and Susan B. Anthony’s home in Rochester, and ended with dinner at friend’s apartment in New York City, where I had the privilege of spending the evening with Gloria Steinem.
I was thrilled to be able to share the mission of DFW with Steinem, who remarked that our model of fostering meaningful connections and thought-provoking dialogue among our members “is how the feminist movement gained momentum. …Making enough room for discussion is critical for deepening our understanding of the issues.” Details
The International Violence Against Women Act is one of several important pieces of legislation around the world needed to stop stoning, rape, assault and other forms of inhumane and degrading treatment of women around the world.