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Dec 30, 2013

Top 13 Moments in 2013

Maria and her family (Marcala, Honduras)
Maria and her family (Marcala, Honduras)

Women Thrive accomplished a lot on behalf of the world’s women and girls in 2013. We've highlighted 13 of our favorite moments from the past year.

A few highlights...

  • We met up with Maria, a rural farmer who lives just outside Marcala, Honduras. Maria's family was one of 40 who benefitted from an irrigation program Women Thrive worked to promote. As a result, her children are healthier and now she can afford to send them to school.
  • Women's economic opportunities can make or break a family's ability to survive and thrive, so this year we expanded our work on women’s economic opportunities with intensive on-the-ground research in Haiti and Ghana. When we arrived in one small village in northern Ghana, we were met by 150 amazing members of a women's farming collective who welcomed us with dancing and excitement.
  • Des Moines, Iowa might not be the center of the policy world, but each year the city hosts what is arguably the most important global conversation on hunger and agriculture. In October, Ritu hopped a flight to Iowa to advocate for a greater role for women farmers from developing countries in the campaign against world hunger. There she spoke on a panel with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and philanthropist Howard Buffett.

To view the full list, please click here. The report is also attached.

Check them out and get involved in making 2014 a big year for women and girls!

Links:


Attachments:
Dec 23, 2013

Report from Ghana - Women's Collective Action

Ghanaian Women
Ghanaian Women's Cooperative - DAA

Having travelled across the globe, it’s not surprising to see women in the fields, behind plows, and selling their harvest in the market. In fact, most of the world’s smallholder farmers are women. 

I live in Washington, D.C. now, but I can relate to some of these women’s experiences. I come from a long line of farmers on both sides of my family. Our farms were in Virginia, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and I witnessed first hand the long days and the rush to use every bit of daylight to plow, plant, or harvest. 

Farmers the world over—from Virginia to Ghana—deal with factors that can make or break their success, no matter how hard they’ve worked, including weather, soil, seeds, fertilizer, machinery and market access and competition. 

And while weather is a constant for men and women on the farm, that’s just about where most equality stops.

I just returned from meeting with women farmers throughout Ghana. As with many women in developing countries, they face greater challenges including: lack of access to markets, limited land plots of 1-3 acres (usually the least fertile), and desperate need of tractors and other equipment, which are owned and used almost solely by men. 

But women’s collectives and networks are proving to be one of the strongest tools for helping women smallholder farmers voice their concerns and change the way they farm and access markets. These collectives are strong and strategic, and in many cases shifting entire policies.

Take the Development Action Association (DAA) in Ghana, for example.

DAA represents over 1,500 farmers who affect thousands more. When DAA is able to shift policy, they impact thousands of farmers in Ghana. Earlier this month, I visited Lydia Sasu and some of the women of DAA, the collective Lydia started nearly 17 years ago and that has partnered with Women Thrive since 2010. 

The collective is now in 46 rural communities throughout the southern part of the country. DAA works to create networks of women farmers – whether they operate vegetable farms or even fisheries. They understand the power of collective voice and collective action. 

Through working together and with some advocacy training from Women Thrive, the members of DAA have been able to provide training to each other, build schools for their local communities, and advocate for better policies from the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

The simple truth is this: we're stronger when we work together. And that's a lesson that's just as true for women plowing small fields in Ghana as it is for men harvesting corn in Virginia.

That's why Women Thrive strives day-in and day-out to help women smallholder farmers get the skills and resources they need to make their voices heard and feed their families. Your support helps us do that. Thank you for your believing in our work. We look forward to sharing more updates on what you’ve helped achieve for women and girls globally in 2014.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Lauren Supina
Vice President of Organizational Advancement

 

Lauren Supina is a Vice President at Women Thrive Worldwide, a 15-year-old NGO dedicated to bringing the voices of women in developing countries directly to decision-makers in Washington and at the global level. Lauren has travelled to more than 20 countries visiting local women, and has represented the United States at international conferences and on international delegations. Follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenSupina.

 

Want to learn more? Visit us online at www.womenthrive.org.

Oct 24, 2013

Report from the World Food Prize

Ritu Sharma with Tony Blair and Howard Buffett
Ritu Sharma with Tony Blair and Howard Buffett

Last week, Women Thrive's President Ritu Sharma spoke on a panel at the World Food Prize with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and philanthropist Howard G. Buffett on governments and their roles in solving global hunger and poverty.

In this discussion, Ritu emphasized the important role that women have to play in addressing world hunger and gave three recommendations on how to engage small scale women farmers on this issue:

  1. Avoid creating new dependencies. Food policy cannot and must not foist production techniques on local farmers that will only be sustainable with additional, outside support.
  2. Ensure women have the information they need. Women farmers deserve full information about possible food production methods — whether those methods are natural or high-tech — so they can decide what is best for their land and families.
  3. Empower women. Women farmers must not only be informed, but they must also be empowered to decide on food production techniques. Social norms on gender roles, limits on land ownership by women, a lack of access to formal markets, and other structural barriers to equality can limit women’s success in addressing local food crises.

We could not have done this without supporters like you. Your contributions help keep us accountable to the women and girls living in poverty.

Please learn more about how we’re helping women feed the world at:

EX-UK leader: Governments key in hunger fight

Another View: Female farmers need to have their voices heard, too

Thanks again for your support,

Mei Powers

Links:

Sep 13, 2013

We've got their backs

I just wanted to share an article featuring our work from the perspective of one of our amazing partners, Humaira, that appeared recently in the Women in the World Foundation (link below).

http://womenintheworld.org/stories/entry/theyve-got-our-backs 

Here is a section that I thought you would be most interested in: 

         “In just a few weeks, presidents, prime ministers and heads of state from around the globe will converge on New York City for the UN General Assembly, where the talk will undoubtedly be of unrest in Egypt, food shortages in Africa, and violence in Central America.

        But one group will be making sure the gathered decision-makers focus on a population whose well-being could determine the fate of the world: women. Since 1998, the nonprofit Women Thrive Worldwide has successfully lobbied policy makers in Washington, D.C. and in foreign countries to meet the needs of women, who constitute the majority of the planet's poor and six in ten of the hungry."

Please listen more about our work through Women Thrive's interview with Humaira (link below). 

http://womenthriveworldwide.com/media-resources/resources/humaira-shahid-discusses-violence-against-women-pakistan

With your support, Women Thrive and our partners are making huge strides in lifting the voice of women and girls worldwide. Thank you once again for your support. 

Warm Regards,

Mei Powers 

Women Thrive Worldwide

Links:

Jun 21, 2013

Guess who is speaking at the World Food Prize?

Tony Blair, Howard G. Buffett, and Ritu Sharma to Chair "40 Chances" Panel at World Food Prize

Dear Friend,

On June 19, at the State Department, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn announced a special panel at the World Food Prize in October.  The panel is titled “40 Chances,” a term which represents the number of growing seasons that a farmer can expect during his or her lifetime. With the theme of “Redefining the Fight Against Hunger, Poverty, and Suffering,” this discussion will bring together former Prime Minister and Founder of the Africa Governance Initiative Tony Blair, Howard G. Buffett, farmer and President of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and Ritu Sharma, co-founder and President of Women Thrive Worldwide. We are truly honored to be part of such an esteemed panel, on which Ritu will  emphasize that small, women farmers should guide the development and adoption of solutions to address world hunger.

To see the press release, please visit the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Here is a link to our announcement of the panel:  Women Thrive Worldwide World Food Prize Panel 

This is really exciting news for Women Thrive, and we wanted to share it with you. We could not do this work without caring individual supporters like you.

Links:

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Project Leader

Mei Powers

Washington, DC United States

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