Women Thrive Worldwide

In 1998, a small group of visionary women created Women Thrive Worldwide (Women Thrive) to represent the voices of women and girls living in poverty to policymakers in Washington, D.C. Today, Women Thrive brings together a diverse coalition of more than 50 organizations and 45,000 individual supporters. We are united in the belief that women are the key to ending global poverty. Women Thrive's mission is to empower women in developing countries to craft their own solutions to escape poverty and violence. WHY WOMEN: Worldwide, women are at the greatest risk of being poor. Research and experience have also shown that women in poor countries are more likely to use their income for food, health...

Women Thrive Worldwide
1726 M Street, NW
Suite 1075
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-999-4479
http://www.womenthrive.org

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Ritu Sharma

Management Team

Elise Young, Chris Burley, Lauren Supina

Board of Directors

Ritu Sharma, Melanie Richardson, Joe Keefe, Elise Young, Chris Burley, Lauren Supina

Project Leaders

Mei Powers
Mina Alemzadeh

Mission

In 1998, a small group of visionary women created Women Thrive Worldwide (Women Thrive) to represent the voices of women and girls living in poverty to policymakers in Washington, D.C. Today, Women Thrive brings together a diverse coalition of more than 50 organizations and 45,000 individual supporters. We are united in the belief that women are the key to ending global poverty. Women Thrive's mission is to empower women in developing countries to craft their own solutions to escape poverty and violence. WHY WOMEN: Worldwide, women are at the greatest risk of being poor. Research and experience have also shown that women in poor countries are more likely to use their income for food, healthcare and education for their children, helping to lift entire communities out of poverty. However, women face unequal social and economic barriers that prevent them from earning a living and supporting their families. Women Thrive Worldwide consults with hundreds of local women's organizations on the ground in developing countries to ensure that the policies we propose and shape are solving the real problems women face in their daily lives. WHY U.S POLICY? The U.S spends just about 1 percent of the federal budget on international assistance! This 1 percent equates to about $20 billion a year that goes to promote economic growth and reduce poverty, among others. To make sure the U.S. gets "more bang for the buck," we firmly believe that women should be prioritized in programs that the U.S. is already running. And as a major world power, donor, and trading partner, U.S. international assistance and trade policies have a huge impact on women in poor countries - both directly and through the messages we send. While direct assistance programs for the poor are very important, positive policy change is crucial for long-term change. If U.S. assistance and trade policies do not address the unique barriers women face, they will not reach the women who need them and will be only half as effective as they could be. Women Thrive works to ensure that U.S. policy is addressing these barriers and supporting women's efforts to find their own path out of poverty.

Programs

WHAT WE DO: With advocacy and partnerships, Women Thrive carries out its mission through the following core programs and activities: PROGRAMS 1) Violence Against Women: Women Thrive is one of the leaders of a national public awareness and advocacy campaign, including development of the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), to combat global violence against women and girls. Key aspects of IVAWA will be implemented in the next year to combat violence against women in countries where the U.S. has a significant presence. U.S. influence includes involvement with foreign assistance programs and the training of foreign military, police, and judicial officials. We expect to form new partnerships with women's community-based organizations to follow the implementation of this programming and ensure local women's voice and participation. Women Thrive views this work as peace-building and crucial for women's economic empowerment. 2) Economic Empowerment: Women Thrive pushes forward innovative structures that support women in running their own businesses, securing their land and property rights, and increasing access to better-paying, high-quality jobs. We also advocate for women's access to regional and global markets, and resources for business expansion, like being able to process the foods and products that women grow. These are all the key ingredients for women's participation in a global economy. 3) Agricultural Development: Women Thrive raises awareness of women's key role in agriculture, especially in Africa, and why gender integration in agricultural programs is crucial for effective development - especially in countries where women are the majority of the farmers. We advocate for women's inclusion in agricultural development and food security. 4) Aid Effectiveness: The White House, State Department and Congress are all developing policies to restructure U.S. foreign assistance. Women Thrive plays a crucial role in one of the largest coalitions for foreign assistance reform and advocates for overall "more and better" reform as well as gender integration. 5) Education: Women Thrive has been co-leading an effort to shape policy so that boys and girls have access to quality education so that they are equipped to lead healthy, productive lives. ACTIVITIES 1) Educating policy makers in Congress and the White House, U.S. aid agencies and caring activists in a neutral, nonpartisan way so they really understand the every-day realities faced by the poorest women and men in the world. 2) Empowering women living in poverty to articulate solutions to poverty that they know really work, and then raising their voices in front of Washington's most powerful players who can make those solutions a reality. 3) Transforming legal, political, and economic and structures to end gender discrimination and violence against women and girls. 4) Getting the highest return out of resources from U.S. international assistance and trade programs for women and children living in poverty. ORGANIZATIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS Women Thrive has demonstrated success in putting women at the center of global development. Organizational accomplishments include: * Successfully advocated for a U.S. government funded "Global Development Fund" to channel small grants to local NGOs in developing countries. In its first year, this fund will distribute $50 million in grants ranging from $50,000 to $500,000, including $10 million specifically for women's economic opportunity. * Introduced two "signature" pieces of legislation in both houses of Congress with strong bipartisan support: 1) the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), the first bill ever to integrate effective responses to violence against women across all U.S. foreign assistance programs and 2) the Global Resources and Opportunities for Women to Thrive (GROWTH) Act, groundbreaking legislation that reforms U.S. assistance to increase women's access to property rights, credit, quality jobs with good working conditions, and the benefits of global trade. * Successfully led advocacy to the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on gender integration, an effort resulting in important achievements such as: 1) the agency's adoption of a comprehensive gender policy; 2) gender-specific indicators in MCC eligibility requirements; 3) MCC field review of gender policy implementation in five countries; 4) greater economic rights and assets for women in Lesotho and Nicaragua; and 5) increased gender commitment in Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) programs in several countries, including Honduras and Burkina Faso. * Established partnerships with local women's organizations in Honduras, Burkina Faso and Ghana to ensure U.S. policies translate to concrete, positive change for women and girls. Today, with the partnership of Women Thrive, our partner in Honduras is proud to report that: - More women in western Honduras are receiving funding from the U.S. program than in any other party of the country. Recently, as part of a $90,000 investment, our partner, COMUCAP was contracted to ensure women farmers get and maintain proper access to irrigation; - Women farmers are receiving technical assistance training for agricultural projects. - Additionally, as a result of these increased economic opportunities, instances of household violence among COMUCAP members have reduced to close to zero, and all children of COMUCAP members-without exception-are going to school (an uncommon feat for that part of Honduras). * We co-founded the Women, Faith and Development Alliance (WFDA), a coalition of more than 120 feminist, faith-based and international organizations, and co-organized its historic Breakthrough: the Women, Faith, and Development Summit to End Global Poverty, where new commitments worth over $1.5 billion were made in programs investing in women and girls worldwide. * We advocated for $10 million in reconstruction funds to be set aside for local women's NGOs as part of U.S. post-tsunami assistance in 2005. Because of our advocacy, Sareena, a Sri Lankan tsunami survivor, was able to get a new silk loom to restart her business and support a family of orphans. * In the wake of September 11, 2001, we successfully advocated for $250 million in support for local Afghan women's organizations and programs like Voice of Women Organization (VWO), which was founded by Suraya Pakzad to teach women and girls how to read in groups across Afghanistan. In March 2008, Suraya was honored by the U.S. State Department with the Women of Courage 2008 award; In December 2008, she was awarded the National Medal (Malali Medal) by the President of Afghanistan; and in May 2009, she was recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the world's influential persons.

Statistics on Women Thrive Worldwide

Financial Statistics

  • Annual Budget for 2013: $2,128,000
  • Other funding sources: We do not accept government funding. Funding derived from foundations, corporations, NGOs, and individual donors
  • Religious Affiliation: None
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