Sep 30, 2021

New Name, New Focus But Same Mission

The New Fora Logo
The New Fora Logo

This past August saw a series of announcements from G(irls)20 including a name change to Fora.

Why change their name? Fora shared with its stakeholders and the public the following:

"Over the past two years, we have seen a seismic shift across the world, and we have heard calls from our community, rightly demanding more from the gender equality movement. As we developed our new strategic plan, we consulted our program participants, partners, staff, board of directors, and our broader community, and the feedback helped us focus our new strategic plan on two core areas: impact and growth. This strategy better supports our community, our wider mission, and our founding principles.

What emerged through the strategic planning process was a natural shift in the presentation of the organization. With this, G(irls)20 has evolved with a new name. Fora is the plural of Forum and is defined as a meeting place of ideas. The key strength of our organization has always been our summits where lived experience, knowledge, and mentorship created a learning network by and for young women leaders. We feel the new name is a great fit for our work while also allowing us space to grow and evolve.

Fora's programs and operations will continue to be participant-informed, using an intersectional lens that especially considers the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and racialized community members, the different lived experiences of youth around the world, and the diversity of genders."

The YouTube link provided with this update is the official announcement from Fora's CEO.

What remains the same is their mission and vision of “a world in which young women are able to participate fully in the economic growth, political stability and social innovations of their countries.”

Starting in 2022, as part of the new strategy, the Global Summit will no longer be aligned directly to the G20 but instead become a standalone, independent Summit hosted annually in Toronto, Canada and with a focus on leadership development, advocacy, and policy-creation training. Delegates will come from across the globe and, with leadership training provided by Fora, be prepared to advocate in local, national, and international decision-making spaces.

Fora has also created two new programs that are being launched this autumn:

  1. A Master Class of their signature Girls on Boards, which is an intensive weekend program that will focus on building the technical and essential skills required to join a non-profit governance board.
  2. The Next Level program provides young women and gender diverse youth from the retail and hospitality sectors in Canada with leadership and social entrepreneurship training along with supportive coaching to navigate the changing economy on their own terms. Next Level features weekly live, online workshops and bi-weekly coaching. The pilot session starts in November, 2021.

BBS is very excited about the growth of G(irls)20 under their new name and with the addition of their new programs.  All the funds that have been raised through our GlobalGiving dedicated project page will be used as originally stated for the Summit and specifically to support the delegates.

We want to thank our donors for their support and look forward to sharing the 2022 Summit delegate announcements.


Aug 13, 2021

Small Acts and Big Steps

NY DINA College Founder & The School Harvest
NY DINA College Founder & The School Harvest

When we created this appeal, it was to help address the needs of some of the projects that we support and to also demonstrate the impact of small donor gives. The focus of this report is to provide an update on several projects and share some of our next steps.

For the past 12-months, BBS spearheaded a school garden project at NY DINA College in rural Madagascar.  The objectives of this project were to create gardens to produce a variety of fruits and vegetables for student lunches,  provide a “hands-on” experience for the students to learn new agriculture techniques, and be an important revenue stream for NY DINA College.  As a new source of revenue, we've helped ensure the stability of the school’s operations and for an important shift to occur away from the school's founder as the primary source of funding. Through this fund, BBS received donations for the purchase of gardening tools such as shovels and hoes which the school has now acquired. We have now wrapped up the work and the teachers have taken over the gardens continued development along with the students.  A team of local agronomists will continue to play a role by acting as a resource to share best practices in water management, crop rotation, etc.

In July, BBS shipped much needed teacher resource workbooks to Sserinya Primary School in Uganda.  The resource books are for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and grade one teachers and provide a range of exercises and activities that will support early education such as sounding out letters, numbers and counting.  The teachers will be able to re-use the materials and resources for future classes. These resources along with English/French dictionaries have arrived in Uganda’s capital. We anticipate they’ll arrive in the village in the next couple of weeks as a postal service truck is only dispatched to this region when they have a full truck of items to deliver. The materials will arrive in ample time for the teachers to review and plan lessons for the upcoming autumn term. This fund supported the purchase of the resources and when the shipment arrives the headmaster will take photos for us to share with everyone via a short update and on our social media platforms.

The other update we wish to provide is from the Thai Child Development Foundation (TCDF) and their on-going need for oxygen tanks for the children that need extensive physical therapy. TCDF’s school and medical support program is closed because of the current COVID wave the country is experiencing.  The lockdown it is anticipated to last until the beginning of September and it is the hope of TCDF that they’ll be able to welcome the children back in the autumn and resume their school operations. When they reopen, the team there will send new photos for us to share. 

This week, BBS updated the project page for this fund to reflect some new priorities that organisations are in need of support to receive.  This includes: 

  1. Funding internet costs at the Heart of Asia Society.  This Kabul based think tank is involved in the peace building process in Afghanistan.  They currently have several projects running which have operational costs and if we can support their internet costs this will free up their resources at a critical time.
  2. Teachers’ salaries at Sserinya  Primary School.  The current lockdown in Uganda has meant a cutback of government funding and as a result there is an ask for help to pay for teacher salaries, which equates in US dollars to 65.00 a month.
  3. Mobility for Africa continues to expand their work to more rural e-mobility sites in Tanzania and Zimbabwe.  Their focus right now is on continuing to develop their lithium battery technology.

Moving forward, we will continue to update this project page to reflect new needs from a diverse range of projects that we support and may be of interest to individuals. The other benefit of our update strategy is that we believe this is a great way to build awareness for impactful work being done on a grassroots level through some very difficult times.

We wish to extend our deepest thanks to everyone that has supported this fund and we look forward to sharing with all of you what's next!

Heart of Asia Society Conference
Heart of Asia Society Conference
Aug 9, 2021

The Javari Project is Growing

Ms. Cousteau at Musee oceanographique de Monaco
Ms. Cousteau at Musee oceanographique de Monaco

In this update we wish to share a few of the actions and updates for the Javari Project, which continues to be spearheaded by Ms. Céline Cousteau.

Education is central and the next step in this pillar, which was introduced in our last update, was the partnership with the College of William & Mary’s Institute for Integrative Conservation to create a program inspired by the documentary "Tribes on the Edge".  The launch date for this program is set for early 2022 and its' designed for ages 9 through 12, which reflects the high percentage of student grades that participated in earlier sessions of the Tribes on the Edge education program which where 48% in Grades 3 to 5 and 28% in Grades 6 to 8. 

The Javari Project has grown up! It is now a separate formal entity with completion of its non-profit registration process in The Netherlands and is a “for purpose organisation created to support the Indigenous People of the Vale do Javari”. Collaboration will continue to be a core principle at The Javari Project as it will work side-by-side other NGO’s and the Indigenous leaders from the Vale do Javari to create tangible actions to support their livelihoods and well-being.  It has been incredible to see how this initiative has evolved to where it is today and that is because of the support of donors around the world.

While in-person visits into this fragile part of the world remains prohibitive, one of the key priorities for Ms. Cousteau is to share with as broad an audience as possible what is happening in the Amazon, status of the Indigenous tribes and the implications for the rest of the world.  Over the last few months there have been multiple print interviews such as the one in Elle Argentina, in-person event at Musée océanographique de Monaco and on-line participation as a speaker at conferences including Amazonia Rising.

For Céline storytelling remains a priority.  It allows her to share with others how the health crises, legal challenges and environmental degradation in the Brazilian Amazon are not only threatening the survival of Indigenous communities, but the protection of vital ecosystems that ensure our planet's resilience to climate change.

In a year that has been characterised by extreme environmental events, we are grateful for all of the support to The Javari Project and protecting this vital part of our earth and the people that call it home.


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