12 Months, 16 Gender Equality Wins

One year, 16 gender equality wins worth celebrating. Here’s how GlobalGiving’s Girl Fund leaders made a difference for women and girls over the past 12 months.

The obstacles of the past year didn’t stop the 2020 Girl Fund cohort from delivering some huge wins for women and girls around the world. Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of the Girl Fund’s favorite moments from the last 12 months:

April 7, 2020: Food certificates hit the market.

When the pandemic hit the Dominican Republic’s tourist industry, Mariposa DR Foundation stepped in by creating a food certificate program at the locally owned Supermercado La Rosa. They even pitched in upcycled sail bags to give families an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags while shopping!

“We trust that families need to make food decisions for themselves, while simultaneously supporting a locally owned and run market and injecting money into the local economy,” Aislinn Doyle, Development & Volunteer Relations at Mariposa DR Foundation, said.

Shopping with their food certificates. Photo: Mariposa DR Foundation

May 19, 2020: Marigold learns how to crochet.

Marigold, one of the students that Sheepcare Community Centre works with, learned how to crochet on Youtube and is now helping train her peers. Founder and President Luke Jakoywa told us that crocheting during the pandemic helped young students like Marigold overcome some of the mental health challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is proof that diversity is the mother of invention and the lockdown did not lock the mind,” Luke said.

A student wearing her newly crocheted hat. Photo: Sheepcare Community Center

June 26, 2020: Students receive COVID-19 relief.

When the team at Sheepcare Community Centre received the urgent call that some of the students enrolled in their programs lost access to food and other resources when schools closed, they knew they needed to act fast. Teen pregnancies rose rapidly during the COVID-19 lockdown in Kenya as some young women and girls exchanged sex for food and other resources typically provided by the schools. The community center provided clean water, food, sanitary napkins, and other essential resources to hundreds of households.

Aug. 4, 2020: More than 20,000 menstruation kits are distributed.

After an enormous explosion tore through Beirut, Lebanon, 300,000 people were displaced. Days for Girls Lebanon Country Leader Khayrieh Al Asaad and the broader Days for Girls International community came together to make sure no menstruator was left behind, providing dignity and comfort to those most affected by the explosion.

Delivering menstruation kits. Photo: Days for Girls International

Aug. 26, 2020: The first peer health education session takes off.

This was a huge breakthrough for Adolescent Health Champion’s ongoing work developing a youth-led health education model and mobile application. Once the app is launched (scroll down to see when!), 5,500 female students in India will be positioned as health leaders and be able to provide essential health education to 60,000 students across India.

Here’s what Tuba, a high school student and member of Adolescent Health Champion’s Youth Advisory Board, said about the project:

“These programs should be encouraged and made available to as many students as possible because, in my experience, it focuses on developing crucial skills and motivating students to think out of the box.” – Tuba, Youth Advisory Board member Adolescent Health Champions.

Sept. 2020: Ambiya expands her home.

On the one-year anniversary of their project, Rural Entrepreneurs Livelihoods Support Project, the local team at Generation for Change and Development (GENCAD) visited Ambiya’s recently renovated home. Ambiya, a widow and mother of seven, used to live in a cramped one-bedroom home. But after Ambiya’s business took off with the help of funding and skills training provided by GENCAD, she was able to construct a new room for her family.

“Seeing her and her children beam in excitement was a sight to behold. As an organization, we are extremely happy with what she achieved and we are most grateful to our donors,” said Abdirashid Ali, the Executive Director of GENCAD.

Oct. 1, 2020: The virtual fundraising benefit Ndajee at Home shatters records.

On this date, Women’s Global Education Project raised $205,714 (making it their largest fundraiser ever) to support adolescent girls in rural Senegal and Kenya through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. This money will go toward scholarships, tutoring and mentoring services, and leadership programs that are helping young girls thrive.

Oct. 11, 2020: Watersports resume!

After six months away, Mariposa DR Foundation restarted their watersports programming again on International Day of the Girl. These trips help the girls maintain their mental health and stay connected during these otherwise isolating times.

“Many of us can relate to the need to be near water to center us, to offer us a respite from the world, to give us perspective, and to move our bodies. Now more than ever it is essential for their mental health to get the Mariposa students safely to the beach and out on the water surfing, SUPing or swimming,” Aislinn Doyle of Mariposa DR Foundation, said.

Surfing lessons for young girls.
Surfing lessons. Photo Mariposa DR Foundation.

Oct. 29, 2020: A heartwarming site visit takes place.

The monitoring team at Generation for Change and Development (GENCAD) visited the Wargadud Village, where the nonprofit helps connect women like Sadia to financial and business opportunities. Sadia chose to start a mobile veterinary shop with support from GENCAD, selling animal medications to nomadic pastoralists.

I can’t measure my level of happiness. I now have the business skills and knowledge to assess what business investment to make. I keep my records well and have a dream to open a wholesale shop,” Sadia said.

Woman working with a local veterinarian.
Working with a local veterinarian. Photo: Generation for Change and Development.

Dec. 2020: Water collection time is cut from three hours to 45 minutes.

Global Water Challenges is continuing to reduce the burden of lengthy water collection trips on busy Rwandan women and girls. This new water access point will serve roughly 850 households and 1,456 students at a nearby school for the long haul.

Woman collecting water after a new access point is established
Collecting water. Photo: Global Water Challenges. Photo: Generation for Change and Development.

Dec. 4, 2020: Emergency menstruation kits are delivered after two devastating hurricanes.

The Days for Girls International (Dfg) team traveled to Santa Maria Cahabon after Hurricanes Eta and Iota and helped 750 women and girls receive the tools and education they needed to handle their menstruation.

April 28, 2021: Girls start the school year focused on their studies, not their periods.

The team at Women’s Global Education Project distributed bags of menstrual supplies to more than 200 scholarship recipients in Tharaka-Nithi county, Kenya. The scholarship recipients also get access to community-led programs and workshops like the one shown below.

Attending a gender-based-violence workshop. Photo: Women’s Global Education Project
Attending a gender-based-violence workshop. Photo: Women’s Global Education Project.

April 30, 2021: The youth-led mobile health app is launched!

Using an innovative, evidence-based peer education model to build a network of young health champions, Adolescent Health Champions co-designed the mobile app shown below alongside students and health experts.

A display of the youth-led health education app for mobile phones
The mobile application. Photo: Adolescent Health Champions. Photo: Generation for Change and Development.

April 31, 2021: A day of listening to the stories and challenges of young mothers.

When the Act4Africa team visited a village in Mayuge District, Uganda, they met a young girl who had just given birth hours before, at home, with no medical assistance at all. They spoke and surveyed 225 adolescent mothers in the district to learn how best to support their mental health and wellbeing.

March 2021: At-home family planning sessions are held.

Due to pandemic lockdown restrictions, the Bright Future team at Global Water Challenges got creative with their plans to deliver training. They conducted home visits to deliver family planning workshops to 30 couples as well as job creation and revenue generation workshops for 30 couples in Bugarama Village, Rwanda.

May 19, 2021: The first cohort of adolescent mothers arrives.

The first cohort of adolescent mothers came to Act4Africa’s community and education center in Mayuge town to begin their training and support. With support from the Girl Fund, Act4Africa employed mental health professionals to train and support their program team, increasing their ability to deliver high-quality mental health sessions for young mothers.

Self esteem sessions for young mothers
Self esteem building. Photo: Act4Africa

Our team continues to be inspired by the impact that the 2020 Girl Fund cohort had on women and girls—and their communities—around the world.

As this chapter of the Girl Fund closes and we welcome a new set of gender equality champions, the nonprofits featured above will remain hard at work. Each of their GlobalGiving project pages will remain open, so if you would like to make a donation to one of these nonprofits, please click on their organization name in the copy above.

Help us welcome the next cohort of gender equality champions by setting up a donation to the Girl Fund today.


Featured Photo: Stop Girl Trafficking in Nepal by American Himalayan Foundation

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