GlobalGiving Girl Fund

by GlobalGiving
GlobalGiving Girl Fund
Photo from Act4Africa
Photo from Act4Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it increasingly clear that disasters disproportionately affect women and girls, with experts pointing to countless examples of its gendered impacts.

Another crisis that highlighted the disparity was in the mountainous Kasese District of western Uganda. Seven months of torrential rainfall between May and November caused severe flooding in the area after nearby rivers burst their banks. The floods destroyed homes, roads, bridges, crops, and other important structures. More than 10,000 people left their communities in search of refuge.

One of them was 26-year-old Birungi, who was living with her mother, siblings, and newborn baby. Before the floods, Birungi and her family earned a living from small-scale farming. When the floods destroyed their garden and the security it offered, they joined hundreds of community members who traveled to one of the 27 camps available for flood survivors. Once in the camps, pregnant women and recent mothers like Birungi faced a new set of challenges. 

The floods’ gendered impacts  

A local official informed Kabunzugwire Moris of Act4Africa, a Girl Fund cohort member, that pregnant mothers were giving birth in the camps without proper care due to limited resources. New mothers were walking long distances to access antenatal services and immunize their children.

Kabunzugwire and his team at Act4Africa delivered nutritious food, sanitation products, and bedding to young mothers like Birungi and their children.

The short-term relief provided by Act4Africa was vital after the floods, but it’s just the beginning. Once the women can safely return home and pandemic restrictions are lifted, Act4Africa will resume classes and workshops to help them cultivate new skills, access the resources needed to start small businesses, and assume more leadership roles in their communities. 

These efforts are fueled by the generous support of donors like you who contribute monthly to GlobalGiving’s Girl Fund. As the pandemic and other disasters continue to impact every aspect of life for many people around the world, the Girl Fund cohort continues to support women who are navigating the challenges.

Here are more examples of how your generosity is fueling the Girl Fund cohort:

  • Days for Girls International is providing vital resources, including menstrual health education, face masks, and menstrual health kits to 2,509 women and girls in Nepal’s Kalikot District. 
  • Women’s Global Education Project’s leadership program is creating new ways for women to protect their peers from gender-based violence (GBV) in rural Senegal. Students have developed community radio programs to educate their peers on GBV and formed neighborhood watch programs and peer support networks. 
  • Generation for Change and Development is delivering donkeys, sheep, and goats for income-generating projects run by women in Kenya. Others received sewing machines and merchandising lessons to boost their livelihoods.
  • Sheepcare Community Centre is continuing to support women in Kenya by providing clean water, a safe place for students to study, and crocheting lessons. 
  • Global Water Challenge is merging gender equality and water access in Rwanda. The organization has helped 536 families access clean water, and they are also organizing gender equality and family planning training in compliance with local COVID-19 regulations. 
  • The Mariposa DR Foundation is planning pandemic-safe beach escapes for girls in the Dominican Republic. The trips help the girls maintain their mental health and stay connected during these otherwise isolating times. 

Your generous support of the Girl Fund makes these efforts possible. Thank you for your continued commitment to gender equality, and I look forward to sharing how else you made a difference in three months.

With gratitude, 

Sami + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from The Mariposa DR Foundation
Photo from The Mariposa DR Foundation
Photo from Days for Girls International
Photo from Days for Girls International
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Photo courtesy of Women's Global Education Project
Photo courtesy of Women's Global Education Project

As we near the end of 2020, we are in awe of the tremendous impact that donors like you have had on women and girls around the world. Your ongoing support has directly helped our cohort of nonprofits keep their missions alive during an incredibly difficult year. 

To reflect on and celebrate the work of our amazing Girl Fund cohort, we gathered some of the project leaders under one virtual roof in October. They shared insights about the challenges, successes, and learnings that have come from the ongoing pandemic, as well as how donors like you can continue supporting gender equality in the COVID-19 era. Here are some of their main takeaways:

Patrik is exploring new ways to reduce instances of gender-based violence in Uganda

Quarantine has saved countless lives, but it has also isolated many domestic abuse victims from their friends and family and limited their ability to escape from dangerous situations or access vital resources. Act4Africa is a key network for women in Uganda, as the organization aims to help women form tight-knit groups and learn about gender equality, including their rights related to sexual and domestic abuse. Patrik shared that there has been an uptick in instances of gender-based violence, assault, and teenage pregnancies during the coronavirus pandemic. He said,

  • “One of the key things we are learning is to come up with robust and comprehensive strategies that are all aimed at reducing instances of this nature. One big challenge, in particular, has been the lack of community support structures that can foster gender equality services.” 

As Act4Africa continues to work toward transformative changes, the organization is also providing girls with vital resources, such as food, hygiene supplies, and learning packages.

Sarah reported major breakthroughs across women-led teams in Rwanda 

Only three out of five people worldwide have access to basic handwashing facilities, which means that a significant proportion of the population can’t take a key COVID-19 prevention measure. Global Water Challenge is working to change that by advancing gender equality through clean water access in Rwanda. 

This local women-led project is making women’s lives easier by reducing the time they spend collecting water, which gives them more time for education and economic pursuits. Unfortunately, the gendered impacts of COVID-19 have negatively affected women and girls. Despite the challenges, Sarah shares, 

  • “We’ve seen an incredible turnaround, flexibility, and innovation in these women-led venture teams in Rwanda. A cohort of women-led teams has installed handwashing stations by the water access points, where they also provide COVID-19 prevention information. Many women have also pivoted their business model to making soap and other hygiene supplies for the communities they serve. They’ve also been able to open up subsidies for vulnerable communities who have lost employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Ricky is tapping into new networks to keep peer-led health education alive

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit India hard and led to the widespread closure of in-person learning. But Ricky and his team at Adolescent Health Champions know that health education is more urgent and necessary than ever. To keep training girls as peer health educators in low-income schools outside of the classroom, Adolescent Health Champions significantly shifted their operations. 

  • “One of the proudest accomplishments we’ve had over the past six months is strengthening the role that youth play in helping us shape our strategy and vision. We’ve solidified and strengthened our youth advisory board, which consists of students at our schools across Mumbai, and they’ve been so instrumental in helping us shape our COVID-19 response. They’ve been working with us to transition in-person learning to virtual, co-design a new app, and help us develop a new curriculum, including a COVID-19 specific module.”

These are only a few of the inspiring stories we heard at the webinar, and I invite you to check it out for yourself. Because of generous donors like you, organizations have been able to turn obstacles into opportunities, and ideas into realities for thousands of women and girls around the world. I look forward to keeping you updated about all the exciting things happening with the Girl Fund cohort in the coming months.

With Gratitude,

Sami + the GlobalGiving Team

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Photo from The Mariposa Foundation
Photo from The Mariposa Foundation

Thank you for continuing to support our cohort of nonprofits working to accelerate gender equality in their communities around the world. Though COVID-19 has brought numerous new challenges to the social sector, our incredible Girl Fund partners are stepping up and innovating to respond to those who need extra support during this trying time. 

Your generosity is helping women and girls to be their own agents of change and leaders in difficult circumstances. 

Earnestine teaches her community how to stay safe throughout the pandemic

Almost two-thirds of women age 15 and up in Senegal are illiterate, and only 16% of Senegalese girls go on to secondary school, UNICEF estimates. To help change the statistics, Women's Global Education Project (WGEP) is providing education access, mentoring, and tutoring to more than 500 girls in rural Senegal, helping them fight the causes and effects of poverty in their lives and raise their voices on issues that affect them. 

When COVID-19 became a global crisis in mid-March, high school girls in WGEP’s leadership program wasted no time in finding ways to support their communities. One student leader, Earnestine, used the public speaking and advocacy skills she learned through WGEP to volunteer with her community’s Red Cross committee. During this time, she distributed hand sanitizer and helped community members follow best practices for handwashing. Earnestine shares, 

  • "During this pandemic period, I felt challenged by the Red Cross’s call to raise awareness of COVID-19 in the world and our country. Every morning, we go to the different strategic points of the city where many people pass to enter the city. From 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., passersby are asked to wash their hands with all the necessary equipment.”

Viola uses her entrepreneurial skills to support herself and her baby

Because many adolescent girls in Uganda lack access to education, they are often forced into situations of low-paid work, early marriage, unwanted pregnancy, and sexual and domestic violence. 

Act4Africa brings out-of-school girls in rural Uganda together to form tight support groups and receive training on sexual and reproductive health, maternal health, and skills for building sustainable livelihoods. 

As a young, unmarried mother, Viola faces disproportionate challenges in achieving financial stability. But with Act4Africa’s support, she says she is providing for herself during the lockdown while planning for the future:

  • “With the many challenges notwithstanding, this season has kept my mind so focused and innovative in creating and finding opportunities that can earn me and my relatives a livelihood, owing to the entrepreneurial skills that I attained from Act4Africa...On top of selling the vegetables from my backyard garden and tailoring, I have also learned how to make clay stoves that I plan to sell during and after this lockdown season.”

These stories only scratch the surface of the ways this year’s cohort is setting women and girls up for success, throughout the pandemic and beyond. From conducting virtual health education sessions with adolescent girls in Mumbai to supporting high school girls with remote learning in the Dominican Republic, your generous support of the Girl Fund is making a difference. I can’t wait to share more updates with you in the future!

With Gratitude, 

Claire + the GlobalGiving Team

Stay up-to-date with the work and progress of this year’s Girl Fund leaders by seeing their most recent project reports:

Photo from Days for Girls International
Photo from Days for Girls International
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Happy New Year from GlobalGiving! As we head into 2020, we are seeking your feedback. 

We are so grateful for your generosity to the GlobalGiving Girl Fund and want to provide you with the most meaningful and transparent experience possible. 

Please share your thoughts about the Girl Fund with us in this short survey. Your feedback will greatly help us as we strive to improve the fund and should only take a few minutes. 

Your support is critical to ensuring community-led nonprofits have the resources they need to empower women from all walks of life to succeed: mentally, physically, economically, and socially.

Thank you!

TAKE THE SURVEY

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Photo from Shadhika Project Inc
Photo from Shadhika Project Inc

By supporting the GlobalGiving Girl Fund each month, your donation is supporting community-led organizations that are committed to providing opportunities for girls to thrive all over the world. In April, we introduced you to this year’s cohort of nonprofits. Now, we want you to meet one of the girls whose life you’ve touched.

Sabah, a student in India, received a scholarship and recently graduated from a university thanks in part to your support of our Girl Fund partner,  End Child Marriage Through Education by the Sadhika Project, Inc. The project gives young women full university scholarships, allowing its recipients to escape the threat of child marriage and pursue their own dreams. Here’s what Sabah wanted you to know about her experience:

"After I have received a scholarship from Shadhika, my parents changed their thinking and they postponed my marriage. If I didn't get a scholarship, I would have gotten married. Now they want me to study more and complete my dream." 

This story gets even better! After graduating from college, Sabah became one of Shadhika's first interns and eventually was offered a full-time position with Shadhika. Project Leader Kendra Nicolai says that Sabah is an asset to the organization, a leader for young women across India, and that she stands up for her rights and for the rights of girls around her.  

Sabah also wanted to tell other girls about the importance of being educated:

"Being an educated girl in India is about handling situations and understanding others.  Being educated spreads knowledge and awareness. Educated girls stand by themselves and make pillars of others." 

And not only is this good news for womenit is good news for the communities they go on to lead and impact for the better. Because of your generosity, girls like Sabah around the world are able to get the support they need to overcome the barriers they face each day. 

Thank you again for your generosity. We can’t wait to show you what our partners are up to next. 

Photo from Special Families Saint Julie Billiart
Photo from Special Families Saint Julie Billiart
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Location: Washington, D.C. - USA
EIN: 30-0108263

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