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!
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