Help Women Feed the World

by Women Thrive Worldwide

Ritu Sharma, Co-Founder and President of Women Thrive Worldwide, was featured recently as ABC's Working Woman. Please view the video link here:
In the clip, you hear a bit about her experiences of living on less than $2 a day in places like Burkina Faso and Guatemala, and how Women Thrive is trying to change the world to make it better for all people, particularly women and girls.
“It's about really seeing the dignity and honor in every person, male or female, black or white, rich or poor, that all people deserve our respect,” Ritu said.
Please watch, share, and let us know what you think by commenting on this report!

Mei Powers
Manager, Organizational Advancement


Father’s Day is June 17, and we are looking for more good men to join the movement in empowering women worldwide. 

Please listen to this two-minute interview with Compaore Koudougou, a husband, farmer, and father of 13 in Burkina Faso: Compaore shares how empowering women (e.g. by providing them with training and greater access to resources) can help men and women better provide for their families and increase crop production to help feed the world.

Getting “buy-in” from men like Compaore is important to ensure that the entire community has a stake in successful outcomes for programs directed at women. This was also revealed in our “Time to Listen Report,” which surveyed and interviewed over 100 women’s organizations from 13 countries.

Too often women's empowerment, women's economic opportunity, and women's rights are seen as a women's issue. As a women's organization, Women Thrive is unique in that we advocate for change at the U.S. and global levels so that women and men can share equally in the enjoyment of opportunities, economic prosperity, voice, and freedom from fear and violence. And we recognize that to achieve sustainable change, we need to engage women and men.

For Father's day, will you help us engage more good men? You can do so by:

- Sharing our project page via email, Facebook, or Twitter and/or

- Making a donation in honor of a special man that has been a warrior for women here. GlobalGiving will send a tribute card via mail or email. 

Ritu and women farmers in Burkina Faso
Ritu and women farmers in Burkina Faso

At Women Thrive Worldwide, we believe by partnering with and championing local women leaders, we are able to achieve transformational and sustainable change for women and girls around the world that lasts long after our partnerships end. This is why we partnered with organizations like the Development Action Association (DAA) in Ghana and Coalition Burkinabe des Droits des Femmes (CBDF) in Burkina Faso.


Through these partnerships, Women Thrive provided intensive advocacy training, just-in-time information on relevant changes in D.C., and strategic guidance to help our local partners refine their advocacy messages, identify targets, and strategize to make appropriate “asks” of policymakers.  We also worked with CBDF and DAA to raise the voices of African rural women to key platforms and audiences, including Members of Congress, the Millennium Challenge Account coordinating body in Burkina Faso (MCA-BF), Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


As a result, these local organizations, CBDF and DAA, have demonstrated increased awareness of, influence over, and collaboration with U.S government-funded programs and their countries’ policy processes. Additionally, CBDF and DAA have established themselves as local experts on gender, and women are increasingly represented in important programming decisions that will impact their lives.


Madame Maryam Sirima, coordinator of CBDF, agrees: “This partnership between CBDF and Women Thrive Worldwide will be very useful to my country and the women of Burkina Faso. This is something that is going to help build our advocacy activities and help us promote our fight on gender issues as far as the Compact [agreement with Millennium Challenge Corpoation designating $480.9 million for reducing poverty and spurring economic growth] is concerned. The Compact should not exclude women, so this will help CBDF to get stronger so that we can help get women out of poverty.


A recent external evaluation of Women Thrive’s partnerships with CBDF and DAA confirmed the importance and impact of our work.  The report found that with the help of Women Thrive, CBDF and DAA have achieved “significant success in influencing policy change among the institutions, national and U.S., that were the object of their advocacy efforts” and that these changes “meant greater opportunities for women.”

Your contribution has been critical in supporting Women Thrive’s global partnerships. Help us continue to ground our work in the realities of women living in poverty, to partner with locally based organizations, and to create powerful coalitions that advance the interests of the women and girls we serve by: 

  • Sharing our work with your friends and family.
  • GIVING ON BONUS DAY JUNE 13, 2012, when your donation will be matched by 40% by GlobalGiving.


Click the link for a full video of the 2010 interview with Madame Sirima:

Members of DAA during a group meeting
Members of DAA during a group meeting
Ritu working with women farmers in Burkina Faso
Ritu working with women farmers in Burkina Faso
DAA organized a stakeholder meeting
DAA organized a stakeholder meeting

When I was in college, I had the opportunity to spend a month working in Mali, West Africa as an evaluation intern. During my four short weeks in the Ouelessebougou (pronounced Way-less-a-boo-goo) region, I worked in seven different villages interviewing and holding focus group discussions with village chiefs and their elders, local midwives, health agents, teachers, and (my favorite) each village’s women’s association.  

In my “causeries avec les femmes” (French for “chats with the women”), I asked women to share with me what their daily lives were like, what they felt their village’s strengths were, and where they felt they needed to improve as a community.

These devoted mothers often shared with me the struggles they faced everyday in feeding their families.  The women complained that a contributing factor to their poverty was that they were often cheated when they went to sell their vegetables and crops to larger-scale purchasers.  They felt that buyers would often take advantage of them because they lacked skills in basic math and numeracy. Additionally, the more powerful buyers would often improvise measuring methods, and ultimately give the women a lot less money than they deserved.

Recognizing this problem, our local partner in Ghana, the Development Action Association (DAA) initiated serious conversations about promoting standard weights and measurement in the sale of agricultural produce and organized a stakeholders workshop in Accra. The event was so successful it was featured in three different local newspapers below.

But how does adopting standard weights and measurements help women feed the world? Previously women farmers used things like plastic bags and used bottles to sell their goods, hoping to get a fair rate, or had to rely on methods given by unscrupulous large-scale purchasers that often paid far less than what the women deserved (like the women I spoke with in Mali). Adoption of standard measurements enable women to accurately weigh and package their products to not only get a fair rate, but also start selling their products professionally outside of their local market—helping to improve their income and their ability to feed their families. And your support helped provide the advocacy and leadership training that empowered DAA to push for the new policy.

Thank you for your support. You are making a huge difference in the lives of women and worldwide, and I hope you will share what we have been able to achieve together. 

One way you can spread the word is by giving a gift that helps women feed the world. Starting today, we will be offering those contributing $50 or more a special gift of hand woven scarves produced by The Association of San Jose Craftswomen for Maya Botanika, a women artisan’s fair-trade collective in Guatemala. These scarves make the perfect gift for say Mother's Day because not only will your recipient receive a lovely fair-trade scarf and card, but also will know that your gift has empowered millions of other mothers worldwide in her name. Please visit our project page for more details.


Rachel Morrison

Intern, Women Thrive Worldwide

Women farmers participating in meeting
Women farmers participating in meeting

Siham Salman, Islamic Relief Worldwide in Iraq
Siham Salman, Islamic Relief Worldwide in Iraq

Today, with your help, we’ve hit an exciting mile marker on our Help Women Feed the World project.  With $5,000 in donations we’re halfway to our goal of $10,000!  And we couldn’t have done it without you!  Thank you! 

Your generous support helped us serve as 24/7 advocates on Capitol Hill for women and girls living in poverty worldwide. We did so by raising their voices; and instead of demanding separate aid programs for women, we advocated for the incorporation of women and girls into every foreign assistance project. 

Earlier this month at our International Women’s Day Breakfast Briefing, Siham Salman, Program Manager for Islamic Relief Worldwide in Iraq, gave an example of a project that does just that, combining agricultural training with efforts to decrease violence against women.  “In Iraq [poverty is] reason number one behind violence against women,” Siham explained, “If you give [families] the chance to work and to have some income, I’m sure and positive that the violence rate will reduce.”  Indeed, in the project she described rates of violence against women and girls have decreased by 60% in the communities where they work—all while helping women feed the world through their agricultural program.

Successful stories like these helped us push the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID) to create and release a new policy on Gender Equity and Female Empowerment.  This new policy means that every USAID project must be designed, implemented, and judged with the needs and empowerment of women and girls in mind. This is a big deal, and means that we will see more effective programs like Siham’s that improve the living conditions and status of women and girls around the world. Your support not only helped us advocate for the creation of this policy, but it also helps us make sure that the policy translates into concrete change for women and girls on the ground.

Together, we’ve achieved a lot for women and girls, but there is still more to be done. If you like what we're doing, please tell a friend about our campaign. Encourage your friends and family members to join our cause and support women as they strive to feed the world.  



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Organization Information

Women Thrive Worldwide

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Women Thrive Worldwide
Project Leader:
Mina Alemzadeh
Washington, DC United States

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