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.”
Part 2 in a series of blogs by Scott Osborne, Member of Together Women Rise’s Grant Selection Committee
Last month, we looked at systems change and why that is such a powerful way to achieve our long-term gender equality goals.
A systems change approach says, in effect, let’s devote more time and resources to change the societies, economies, and laws that perpetuate gender inequality, instead of repeatedly helping each new generation of women struggling under these inequities. It says, let’s directly address the lower wages, the gender-based violence, the lack of land ownership, the unequal political representation, all the root cause inequities that women experience around the world. Details
By Scott Osborne, Member of Together Women Rise’s Grant Selection Committee
The systems that make up our world were designed by men. From Tokyo to Tijuana, from Delhi to Denver, the workplaces, banks, bus routes, parliaments, voting requirements, and nearly everything else, were created by men, for men. Details
Once a year, I have the distinct pleasure of doing site visits of some of our grantees. This year Dr. Khandke, our Director of Grants and Partnerships, recommended that I visit DB Peru and Chicuchas Wasi as we want to be visiting recent grantees. Both visits reaffirmed my commitment to Dining for Women, my appreciation of the work we do to select impactful grantees, and my love of our members who are dedicated to global citizenship. Let me tell you first about my visit to DB Peru, our featured grantee in October 2015. Details
When DFW member Eileen Rogers celebrated a big birthday, she used it to impact the world.
In 2009, Eileen, along with friend and fellow activist Debbie Hill, launched “The Big Wish”, their fundraising initiative to build and outfit a school in Mali. The pair wanted to turn their “big birthdays” into something significant beyond themselves. They had the support of friends and colleagues who spread the word about the goal. The project was a resounding success, raising nearly $80,000, almost twice the original estimate. Details
We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope is the title of the book released just last month from the George W. Bush Institute. I had an opportunity to attend an event announcing the book’s publication in Washington, DC, hosted by the United States Institute of Peace which featured a discussion by Laura Bush, former U.S. First Lady, and Mina Sherzoy, a Council member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council. Details
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
By Beth Ellen Holimon, Dining for Women Executive Director
International Women’s Day is March 8th and this year’s theme – “Pledge for Parity” – brings up the issue of equality. According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2133. We know the benefits of closing the gender gap – Dining for Women Co-Founder Marsha Wallace addressed it in her blog and I addressed it in a blog as well. We know the importance of equality, but we also need to recognize the importance of equity. 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
Thanks to the generous support of our members and donors in 2015, DFW has awarded three reserve grants. These grants are awarded when excess funds are accumulated in our grant reserve fund. Reserve grantees are named alternates in previous grant cycles which means they were thoroughly vetted and met all of our rigorous criteria. These organizations were also required to submit updated information and budgets for evaluation prior to being awarded a reserve grant. The three reserve grantees for 2015 are:
The mission of Anchal – our sustained funding grantee for January — is to address the exploitation of women around the world by using design thinking to create employment opportunities, services and products that support empowerment. This mission statement truly comes to life when you hear the stories of Nita and Nasine:
Nita is a senior artisan and project assistant with Anchal Project. She was married at a young age and left her husband after years of abuse. Because of her limited education and lack of transferable skills, Nita joined the commercial sex trade. Nita has now been with Anchal Project for four years where she has excelled in design training and created beautiful, marketable pieces. She has taken advantage of Anchal’s workshops in financial planning and saved enough money to move out of the slum and purchase a home in a new neighborhood where she is no longer stigmatized for her previous life as a sex worker. 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.
It is devastating to see and read about the Syrian refugee families, and I find myself searching constantly for more information, more perspective. Dining for Women’s featured program in January was the Collateral Repair Project (CRP), which helps refugees living in Jordan. Our $37,000 grant is being used to provide psychosocial and wellness programs as well as leadership training for refugee women, many of whom have escaped from the conflict in Syria. I wanted to loop back with CRP to dig a little deeper into the perspective of the refugees and the future. Details
On September 25th, the United Nations made a historic and bold move by adopting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These new SDGs follow and expand on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were set in 2001 and are due to expire at the end of this year. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.
The Millennium Development Goals were a good framework for governments and international aid that have resulted in many global improvements, but they were too narrow to create comprehensive change. For the past two years, thousands of stakeholders have been developing a new approach. The 17 SDGs, which include 169 individual targets, are collaborative and transformational; they are inextricably linked to each other and reliant on each other for total success.
Recently, DFW co-founders Marsha Wallace and Barb Collins and I had the opportunity to visit the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC with Ambassador (Ret.) Steve Steiner. Ambassador Steiner is a fabulous supporter of DFW, along with his wife and DC-1 Chapter Leader Merle Steiner.
We spoke with Tricia Karpfen and Amy Hartenstine from the Muditar Foundation about how Dining For Women’s sponsorship will help provide maternal and infant care for the women in the Pa-O tribal villages in Southern Shan State, Myanmar. Muditar has worked hard to create a Maternal and Infant Health program that empowers women to make healthy reproductive choices reducing maternal and infant mortality and raise healthy children. Details
Dining for Women’s grantees are located around the world, but many work in Africa, specifically West Africa. For
the past year, the burdens of recovery from war – inadequate infrastructure and the struggle for education, health care and in many cases, survival – have been increased by the fight against Ebola.
In a three-part series, Dining for Women takes a closer look at this disease. In part one, we looked at the basics of the disease and the 2014 – 2015 outbreak. Our second feature looked at how a past Dining for Women grantee played a critical role in containing the outbreak. Finally, we look at the current state of this outbreak.
We spoke with Karen Yelick, CEO of Indego Africa, about the program’s history and plans for expansion. Indego Africa partners with cooperatives of female artisans to support them through economic empowerment and education. Listen with us as Karen shares success stories and displays the artisan’s beautifully handcrafted products.
Dr. Leslee Jaeger, an OB/GYN in Minneapolis and a DFW chapter leader, recently returned from a medical training trip to MamaBaby Haiti. There she taught clinic staff how to screen for cervical cancer. She wrote this article about her concerns of the growing risks of cervical cancer for women in the developing world. Details
Indego Africa’s Leadership Program will find and develop 100 emerging leaders to achieve their potential in the organization’s Rwandan artisan cooperatives. Indego Africa is our June 2015 featured program.Details
Women in Nepal will bear the greatest burden of loss following the recent earthquakes. The loss of home and a sense of place is one, but women are also at risk and vulnerable to traffickers and abusers. Programs we have sponsored in Nepal are working hard to help each other to overcome this adversity. Details
In December 2013, through the Smiles on Wings program, we invested in the futures of five young women. They are daughters of the Karen tribe in Thailand. The Karen people are outcasts in Thailand and often have little or no access to health care or education. These five girls are studying either nursing or childhood education and will return to work in their villages and improve the lives and health of their community. Here’s a look at the students we are supporting. Details
In August 2009, Dining for Women granted $18,437 to a small non profit providing support to farmers in Rwanda. Today, that program has grown from serving 25,000 farmers in two countries to a projected 305,000 farmers by the end of this year in four countries. We had a conversation with Briehan Lynch of the One Acre Fund to find out how they did it and to talk about the impact of our investment in them. This is the first in a series of Impact Hangouts to re-connect with past programs. Details
Our first Impact Hangout takes us to the One Acre Fund. We’ll reconnect with this program and find out how they’ve grown from serving 25,000 families to more than 300,000 families in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi in just six years. This is the first of a series of Impact Hangouts for 2015. Details
We talked with Kay Yoder, director of US Operations for RIPPLE Africa, about the Changu Changu Moto stove program that DFW is funding this month (May 2015). This is a low-tech sustainable solution that addresses multiple issues from health to environmental sustainability. Take a listen. Details
Dining for Women’s grantees are located around the world, but many work in Africa, specifically West Africa. For the past year, the burdens of recovery from war, inadequate infrastructure and the struggle for education, health care and in many cases, survival have been increased by the fight against Ebola. In a three-part series, Dining for Women takes a closer look at this disease. In April, we looked at the basics of the disease and the 2014 – 2015 outbreak. In May, we take a look at how a past Dining for Women grantee played a critical role in containing the outbreak. Finally, in June, we look at the current state of this outbreak. Details
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
We’ve selected the featured programs to round out the 2nd half of 2015. They focus predominantly on maternal and child health but there are also programs on environmental sustainability and girls’ education. Check out this interactive graphic. Details
Cooking should be one of those activities that makes us feel safe and secure. What’s more comforting than home fires? But in much of the developing world, indoor cooking over open flames results in dangerous household air pollution. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.3 million die each year from its complications.
RIPPLE Africa has developed a low-tech, sustainable and efficient stone cookstove that burns significantly less wood and uses bricks that retain heat as the cooking surface. This is safer than open flames, reduces the indoor air pollution and saves women significant time spent gathering wood for cooking fires. That time can now be used on educational or economic activities in the home.
RIPPLE Africa is our featured program for May 2015. Our $45,000 grant — distributed over two years — will directly effect 3,000 families in the Nkhotakota district of Malawi. The Changu Changu Moto project will build a cookstove in each of 3,000 homes, provide instruction for the families on safe use and include follow up visits for more training and education as well as data collection.
Our 2014 programs represent a strong focus on educating women and girls and building foundations of better health and economic sustainability. Take a look back at the work that you made possible in 2014.Details
Dining for Women’s grantees are located around the world, but many work in West Africa. For the past year, the burdens of recovery from war, inadequate infrastructure and the struggle for education, health care and, in many cases, survival have been overshadowed by the fight against Ebola. In a three-part series, Dining for Women takes a closer look at this disease. In April, we focus on the basics. In May, we take a look at how a past Dining for Women grantee played a critical role in containing the outbreak. Finally, in June, we look at the current state of this outbreak.Details
Leah Rashidyan, program director of MBH’s Well Women in Northern Haiti program, joined us for a conversation about the mission, the challenges and the great opportunities. “Health women build healthy families,” Leah says. Take a listen. 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
Two little words can mean a lot. Just for fun, we took a look back through our hangouts and online presentations in 2014 and found a lot of moments worth noting — thank yous to DFW, recognition of our members’ commitment and support and some calls to action from our programs. We mashed it up in this brief video. Details
Haiti has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, and the highest reported rate of cervical cancer in the world. Poverty and lack of education about their health and medical options, as well as a lack of providers, exacerbates the problems. Details
Social media makes it easy to stay in touch with our programs — with stories, activities and ideas. Follow along — and join the conversation — by bookmarking this page with the live Twitter feed from programs DFW has supported. Details
CeCe Comacho, chief operating officer of Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), joined us to talk about how the organization is tackling taboos, training teachers and developing innovative solutions to keep girls in school no matter what time of the month it is. Period.Details
Dining for Women announces three programs have been the first to be awarded grants under our new Reserve Program. All three programs focusing on educating women and girls — the most direct path to positive health and economic change. Details
Puberty education and access to affordable menstrual hygiene supplies can change the lives of women and girls, preventing lost time at school and work that can translate directly to a better quality of life. Details
This infographic packs a lot of facts about menstrual hygiene in developing countries. Menstrual Hygiene Day began in 2014 as a way to generate awareness about menstruation and water, sanitation and hygiene development initiatives.Details
Although our programs may have more than one impact area, there is always one overarching focus. A look at information on DFW featured programs from 2006 through the first half of 2015 reveals that to be education. Here’s an infographic with a few other key stats about our programs. Details
When ordinary people are suddenly and inexplicably surrounded by war, life as they know it can cease to exist. They become the collateral damage. They are teachers, cab drivers, lawyers, bakers, mothers, fathers, children – all running away from devastation and toward the unknown. Details
We invited some of our programs that deal directly with violence against women to share some stories. The stories show the impact these programs are having fighting violence against women, addressing their root causes, and providing support and a way back for its victims. This is the story of a young Cambodian teen-ager, whose name has been changed, who was helped through this tragic experience by Lotus Outreach’s aftercare and reintegration program — a Dining for Women sustained program.
We invited some of our programs that deal directly with violence against women to share some stories. The stories show the impact these programs are having fighting violence against women, addressing their root causes, and providing support and a way back for its victims. This is the story of a young Kenyan girl who was spared the traditional female genital mutilation and sent instead to study at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Details
We invited some of our programs that deal directly with violence against women to share some stories. The stories show the impact these programs are having fighting violence against women, addressing their root causes, and providing support and a way back for its victims. This is the story of a young Kenyan girl who knew the horrors of domestic violence at an extremely early age. Her mother was murdered by her father, who then abandoned Naanyu and her five siblings. Taken in by family, she is studying at the Kakenya Center for Excellence where she has learned that her life will not be the same as for others in her village. FGM will not be performed on her. Details
Gender inequality and violence against women walk hand in hand through the world. Dining for Women has supported more than a dozen programs that specifically work to stop violence against women, to help its victims re-enter society and reclaim their lives or to empower girls to have the confidence and the skills to say NO to violent practices like FGM and indentured servitude. Details
The 16 days between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Nov. 25) and Human Rights Day (Dec. 10) represents a coordinated effort to promote activism and awareness. Violence against women exists in every country and at every income level. So there are many voices talking about the issue this week.
Dining for Women has put together a digital magazine that is curating and aggregating these voices. On Twitter, #16days and #violenceagainstwomen are being used to coordinate the conversation, but there are others. On Facebook, these tags and DFWs #DFW16days are being used as a way to bring all your comments together.
And there are news articles, scholarly articles and posts from the UNWomen, programs and nonprofits.
You can read this magazine on the web just by following this link or by downloading the free Flipboard app for whatever flavor of mobile device you use. If you see a page that just has a hashtag on it, like #16days, that’s a custom search that will bring up a current list of all tweets using that tag.
The magazine will be updated automatically with new content from across the web. You can Follow the magazine to have it added to your Flipboard bookshelf and share it with others. Share your insights, observations and thoughts for increasing awareness: post on Facebook or Twitter with the #DFW16days.
Photo: The Empire State Building in New York City lights up orange to support the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The United Nations was also lit up in orange.
By Jessie Cronan
Executive Director, Gardens for Health
More than 500 people gathered at the Gardens for Health farm in Rwanda on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, for a very unique Thanksgiving celebration. Families enrolled in our program joined local officials, neighbors, and visitors, for a day of dancing, singing, and – of course – eating. Details
Jessie Cronan, executive director of Gardens for Health, joined Dr. Veena Khandke, interim program director of DFW, for a conversation about how her program is fighing malnutrition in Rwanda with education and farming techniques. Details
November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It’s a day selected to coincide with a date very important to the founders of the Maiposa DR Foundation. Read why.Details
Educating girls may be the key to changing the world, but it’s not as simple as providing books, pencils and school uniforms. Girls’ education involves safety and security, health and wellness, reproductive education, and even educating parents to value and support their daughter’s education. To celebrate the 2014 Day of the Girl (Oct. 11), Dining for Women sat down with three of our programs to talk about their holistic approaches — what they do, how it’s working and what cultural shifts they are seeing in their parts of the world. Details
Many Dining for Women members and constituents raised questions about what would happen to the women supported by the Bond Street Theatre program when they are released from prison or once the US leaves Afghanistan. We posed these questions to Bond St.’s artistic director and founder, Joanna Sherman. Her answers are thoughtful and thought-provoking. 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 Nepal Youth Foundation was our featured program in January 2012. Dining for Women funded the Indentured Daughters Program, which, with the official abolition of kamlari, has become the Empowering Freed Kamlaris program. We recently saw an inspiring television report on their success and asked for an inside look. This update on the organization’s efforts and the photos and success stories show the tremendous impact we can all have. Details
Dining for Women is troubled and saddened by the recent allegations swirling around Somaly Mam and her subsequent resignation. The internal and private investigation by her foundation comes after a Newsweek article brought to light gaps and inconsistencies in her story, as well as concerns about her leadership. 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.
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
Our education team works hard each month to provide key information to enrich our members’ understanding of our featured program. But occasionally members or leaders have questions that aren’t addressed in our materials.
When that occurs, people may be contacting the program director or staff directly. Some of our funded programs report that they may be answering the same question from more than one DFW member or chapter. These can be time consuming calls for the program. But beyond that, if one program has a question, there’s a good chance others might as well.
Barb Collins, co-founder of Dining for Woman, was elected as chair of the Board of Directors at its fall meeting in Newark, NJ. Barb takes over the chairmanship from acting chair Barbara Wagner. 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
Girls are more likely to be left behind, left out, left off – just because they are girls.
This simple fact has been the focus of complex global initiatives undertaken since 2002 that include the Millennium Development Goals and UNESCO’s Education for All campaign. Since then, progress has been made toward parity in educational opportunities at the primary level, but a massive UNESCO global report on gender inequality, notes that those drop off at the secondary and college levels. Details
Editor’s Note: Foundation Rwanda, this month’s featured program, addresses horrific situations that are the result and the legacy of the 1994 civil war. Rape, brutalization, genocide are not pretty and many of our members have been disturbed by some of the images. We provide an array of tools that can be used to learn about our programs – the video is only one. Due diligence – on all of our parts – to make sure we make members aware of sensitive content is important. But equally as important is understanding that there are horrible and ugly things in the world. We can’t help to change them, if we won’t open our eyes to them. This post looks at the sensitive balancing act we must try to walk.