Dear Friends,As 2011 comes to a close, we want to thank you - our supporters, donors, volunteers and advocates. You are the driving force behind our movement and the lifeblood of our mission. We are proud to share with you the WomensTrust 2010 Annual Report. We've made great strides over the past eight years toward fulfilling our mission: to empower women and girls in Pokuase, Ghana - through microenterprise, education, and healthcare - and to inspire others to do the same elsewhere. Our report highlights the results of our work over our last fiscal year and the positive impact we've made in the lives of thousands of women and girls in Pokuase. Below is a quick glance at some of the news highlighted in this year's report. To view the full report, please visit our website www.womenstrust.org or click the link provided below. We cannot make progress without your help. Please empower women and girls to build better futures for themselves by donating to WomensTrust today. With Gratitude, The WomensTrust Team Microfinance Last year we introduced you to Sarah Ankrah, WomensTrust EntrepreneursClub member and owner of Phipha's Bakery. We are happy to report this past year Sarah was able to acquire a vehicle thanks to her loan through WomensTrust. Sarah has been an exceptional client, and through her growing business has been able to hire and mentor several other women within the community. Education How a WomensTrust Scholarship Helped Me, By Rita Nyadzro When I had the opportunity to benefit from the WomensTrust scholarship, it helped me in many ways. I thought I would have to halt schooling because my father passed away and my mother would not be able to support my education. Today, I am a Senior High School graduate, because of the kind courtesy of a WomensTrust Scholarship. Healthcare A native of Ghana's neighboring country Cote d'Ivoire, Healthy Living Skills Program (HLSP) Coordinator Magbe Savane developed a health education program for WomensTrust. Magbe did extensive interviews with practitioners and local residents to identify the community's primary health concerns. Based on that research, Magbe focused the Healthy Living Skills curriculum on nutritional counseling and family planning.
A photograph can lock a moment, thought and experience into a single image. It can tell an entire story without whispering one word.
Three of WomensTrust’s photos were chosen as finalists for GlobalGiving’s annual photo contest, and we now have the opportunity to win $1,000 and appear on GlobalGiving’s homepage. We believe these images share the significant stories of the women and girls WomensTrust impacts on a daily basis. We can describe our successes, reiterate our mission, and reinforce our personal passion for this movement, but nothing can convey quite so vividly and honestly the truth behind our work as the three photographs you see here.
We appreciate your incredible support and advocacy and hope you will consider helping us to win this contest! All votes must be cast by noon on Wednesday, August 17th.
Thank you again for your continued commitment to our organization. These pictures tell stories, and your votes will ensure they continue to be heard.
The WomensTrust Team
This past year WomensTrust put in place the building blocks for a great future: we recruited the leadership in Ghana required to take us to higher levels, and we connected to more people who believe in our approach and want to help. These transformational gains further our mission of supporting women and girls in Ghana in their endeavors to protect, educate, and sustain themselves and their families.
Strengthening the Team
At the helm is Wilma Longdon, who joined WomensTrust on February 1 as Executive Director in Ghana with a personal goal of impacting the forward-progress of her country. Wilma has worked tirelessly since then on strategic planning, tightening and streamlining our operations, board development, and strengthening our position in and relationship with the community of Pokuase.
Wilma’s counterpart in the U.S., Kristen Ash, advanced to Associate Director, slipping naturally into an expanded role with three years of experience at WomensTrust as Program and Communications Coordinator.
Partnering for Scale
We succeeded in increasing our visibility with a growing network of organizations sharing similar missions. After a rigorous vetting process, we earned a $20,000 grant from Women’s Empowerment International (WE), a San Diego-based non-profit with a commitment to “education, to mutual communication, and to furthering the worldwide effort to alleviate poverty.” A contingent from WE will visit WomensTrust in Pokuase in September, and we hope to expand our relationship with this highly professional group of women.
We have also inspired interest among London’s large Ghanaian community. Gertrude Ankrah, our Program Development Director in Pokuase, was hosted by a supporter who organized an intense grassroots campaign, calling on Ghanaian churches and other grant-making institutions, including the highly visible UK Big Lottery Fund where we have a good chance to win a grant.
Encouraging Confidence and Success
One of many success stories for the year is that of Margaret (“Peggy”) Saanuo, to whom we introduced you in 2010. Through our Continuing Education Program and with a scholarship granted by Sant Bani High School, Peggy traveled from Ghana to enter high school in Sanbornton, NH last fall. She has flourished there and is determined to use this opportunity to achieve her dream of attending medical school and becoming the first-ever woman cardiologist in Ghana, then opening a health clinic in her home community of Pokuase.
This summer Peggy will work as a volunteer tutor for other girls in the WomensTrust education program in Pokuase, sharing her many skills and talents before returning to the U.S. for her senior year of high school.
Our Supporters are Our Advocates
“I give to WomensTrust because I believe that the best way to fight poverty…..is to empower girls and women. That is what WomensTrust does. Even better, it accomplishes its mission in a grassroots, organic way, by asking local people what they want, then supporting them with education, healthcare and small loans as they take charge of their lives. The growth spreads from one woman, one family, to the next, one village to the next; with the hope that eventually the whole country finds its own way out of poverty.
I have learned that when you educate a girl or help a woman to start a business, the whole village benefits because girls and women use their new skills and invest their new earnings in their families and communities. Poverty, violence and birth rates go down. Nutrition, health, economic stability and educational levels go up.”
-Joan Lambert, teaching a program for retirees called Adventures in Learning (AIL), with her own designed curriculum “Empowering Women Across the World.”
WomensTrust is incredibly grateful to all who help make our programs a reality. We hope you will continue to show your support. Thank you!
I am delighted to send this message to the board, staff, funders and all who are connected to WomensTrust in different ways. As I prepare to begin working with you on February 1st, I am excited by the opportunity to build on the solid foundation which is in place in Pokuase.
In my personal quest to contribute to improving the lives of women in Africa, I’ve come to appreciate that WomensTrust is the best place for me to make a difference. My dream has come true in a bigger way than I ever anticipated. Thanks to the successful WomensTrust model, I will drive the initiatives to empower women and see, firsthand, the impact of our efforts on their lives and the lives of their children.
WomensTrust has done very important work over the past 8 years. The team in Pokuase is trusted and respected in the community. It will be our joy and our challenge to grow and expand what we’ve achieved so far. I am motivated by the urgent need to reach more women with loans, to keep more girls in school and to improve the access to healthcare and health information in the community. I am excited by the endless possibilities for education, training and enrichment that the planned Resource Center will bring to the hardworking women and girls. Our loan clients have plenty of ideas about how to make things better, and we listen to them, moving ahead as a team, in a strong partnership.
WomensTrust’s unique model in Pokuase is worth supporting and sharing. My job will be to strengthen our operations, making it easier to reach more women and girls, and inspiring others to do the same.
I look forward to working with all of you. We have an exciting, challenging year ahead.
THE IMPACT & ITS RIPPLES
by Tami Stillwell
Volunteering for WomensTrust truly made an impact on my life. I never thought I’d travel to a far off country and be so profoundly moved and inspired. Meeting such strong-willed, determined women and girls left me with a sense of involvement in an organization that is creating significant change. My firsthand experience in Pokuase, Ghana was a once in a lifetime opportunity!
Flying 10.5 hours and driving an hour to the lodge increased my enthusiasm for detailing the sights and sounds of Ghana via my computer. As a graphic designer and social media enthusiast, I offered my services and tweeted my entire trip--both increasing and informing WomensTrust’s social network following (I hope you will follow us on Twitter and Facebook!) One of the first people I met was Peggy Saanuo. A member of WomensTrust’s after-school enrichment class, Peggy received a full scholarship to continue her high school education in the United States. Shy in demeanor, I could tell that she was excited to go.
Each staff member had a unique way of providing a positive working atmosphere. Eric greeted me with a smile; Francis was hilarious; Solomon was sharp, and Gertie was the “woman holding it down.” I tagged along with interns Ryan and Stella and visited some of WomensTrust clients at their homes. After meeting the staff, I knew Pokuase was lucky to have a dedicated local team willing to go the extra mile.
I also spent time with the educational side of WomensTrust. The after-school computer class provided a further opportunity for girls to expand their knowledge. I was impressed by how quickly these girls learned the ins-and-outs of computers. They were so thankful to have this class. The school enrichment class I sat in on was equally impressive. Girls attend these classes every weekend to receive extra academic help. Every night I was eager to inform the social media world of whom I’d met and what I’d learned.
Returning home, a more refreshed and rejuvenated person, I was moved by the strong and independent women and girls I’d met. Helping just one person can go a long way. One WomensTrust loan helps a woman’s business improve. One scholarship helps a girl succeed in education. I returned with a big question: what more can I do to help?
I encourage you to give generously. I have seen for myself the impact WomensTrust is having in Pokuase’s growth as a community, and I wish the organization further success.
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