Pakistan is only second to Yemen in a list of the ten worst countries for girls to be born in according to The Global Gender Gap Report in 2013. Women receive 43% less educational opportunities than men, there’s a 21% gender-based income gap, and only a quarter of the national labor force are represented by women. When it comes to violence against women, according to a study by The Ministry of Law, Justice, and Human Rights, just from January 2012 to September 2013, there were 860 honor killings, 481 incidents of domestic violence, 90 cases of acid burning, 344 cases or rape or gang rape, and 268 incidents of sexual assault or harassment.
In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Northern Pakistan, girls and women are living under a tribal and Feudal system that promotes male dominance, presented as Islamic norms and values by religious groups. These traditions create even more extreme gender inequality and chance of gender-based violence as girls and women can be forced into marriage for the sake of peacemaking between tribes, are excluded from political activities, plus face violence and religious extremism when making efforts towards promoting girls and women’s rights. All of this is what sparked an international movement behind young activist Malala Yousafzai after she survived the Taliban’s targeted shooting for her promotion of girls’ rights to education.
In a place where even young school girls face extreme violence for speaking out, and “feminism” is a bold concept, Spark is thrilled to support giving these young women a voice through our newest grantee, The Young Feminists Movement.
The Young Feminists Movement was created in 2011 by young women at various local colleges from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and adjacent tribal areas focused on raising awareness around gender equality issues plus giving young women a safe space and a voice in an oppressed society. They provide 5-day trainings for girls ages 15-25 around equal rights, reproductive health and abuse prevention, plus they promote activism around girls’ and women’s rights and gender equality. From these trainings and other activities, they form “Girls Power Clubs” which continue the cultivation and promotion of feminism and activism. So far, they have successfully organized a group of 23 young women who speak for equal rights and are equipped with the knowledge and tools to challenge the patriarchy, plus they have influenced many more through their activist activities.
A Spark grant will cover:
- 50 scholarships for girls to attend the training program, and
- Volunteer services in the areas of development plus organizational and financial management.
If you are interested in being a part of providing these volunteer services, we would love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are so excited to feature this progressive and innovative organization at our upcoming Cocktails For A Cause event!
Please join us at SparkSF’s Cocktails For A Cause event on April 23, 2014 at Mr. Smiths in San Francisco to help raise funds for the young feminists of Pakistan. #MoreMalalas
Posted in Advocacy, Events, Gender-based Violence, Girls Education, Grantees, Human Rights, Women's Rights
Tagged cocktails for a cause, equal education, feminism, feminist, forced marriage, Fundraising, gender gap, gender income gap, girls, girls education, honor killings, I Am Malala, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, income gap, international education, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, malala, Malala Fund, malala yousafzai, northern pakistan, pakistan, Spark, SparkSF, Women, women's rights, young feminists, young feminists movement
By SARAH MIERS
In addition to providing financial and in-kind support, Spark’s investments increase awareness of little-known, grassroots women’s organizations. Spark’s grants often act as a seal of approval to other well-established funders, helping our grantees secure larger investments in the future. We’ve seen this success with grantees like Akili Dada, and our 2011 grantees are no exception. From receiving a personal honor from President Sarkozy of France to winning New York’s prestigious Union Square Award, our 2011 grantees are propelling into the New Year with substantial support.
At Spark’s Spring Speaker Series, members meet with Jenni Williams, founder of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). We were so inspired by WOZA’s nonviolent push for democracy and human rights that many Spark members immediately chipped in with funding and technology donations to improve WOZA’s ability to organize. Since Spark’s initial grant, others have caught on to WOZA’s exceptional work, including the French government. Just a few weeks ago, President Sarkozy awarded Jenni Williams with the French National Order of Merit.
Spark New York’s first grantee, Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition, also received substantial recognition and support. Much like Spark, YWCHAC understands the benefit of linking fun with volunteerism. Their unique model resulted in the successful engagement of New York’s youth in comprehensive HIV/AIDS education–not an easy task. Last week YWCHAC won the prestigious Union Square Award. This award includes a $50,000 general support grant. For a small organization this level of unrestricted funding will be transformative.
Spark seeds grassroots women’s organizations with cash grants, pro bono services, connections and attention. Our intention is to position these incredible organizations for larger funding opportunities. The recent success of WOZA and the Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS shows this model in action.
You can help Spark’s efforts with your own seed grants! Choose the cause you want to support, and we’ll help leverage these funds in 2012.
BY SARAH MIERS, Spark Fellow
Last Tuesday was World Water Day. For me, it was a much-needed reminder of the scarcity of our fresh water resources.
What’s in your water? The clear water from East Orosi is more contaminated than the murky water on the right from Ducor. (Photo by Erin Lubin)
Around the world, women in our roles as caregivers are disproportionately impacted by scarcity and contamination. Because the task of providing safe water is often delegated to women, the time and effort devoted to collecting water steals away from potential time spent on education, childcare and self-development.
But I live in California. I sort of assumed that I wouldn’t have to worry about the availability and quality of fresh water here in the Bay Area. After some further prodding it seems this isn’t necessarily the case…Fitting enough, this year’s theme for World Water Day is urban water management- a theme that definitely resonates with me here in California.
Take a look at the following facts on CA water management issues:
Spark grantee Community Water Center addresses such problems in the San Joaquin Valley. The Community Water Center works with women leaders within these communities with limited access to fresh groundwater resources, advocates for better water management practices and works to improve the quality of existing water reserves in the Valley.
I hope this post gives you some fresh insight on the water issues we face today. Water is our most precious resource- we all rely on it, and we can’t forget how scarce it is.
By K. Kerr
K. Kerr is a lawyer, human trafficking activist and Director of Programs for Freedom House, the first transitional shelter dedicated to supporting survivors of human trafficking in the San Francisco area. K. Kerr has been a Spark member since 2009.
I have spent the last five years in the fight against human trafficking. I have worked and written on this topic and still I am left with a lot of unanswered questions. In this, I am not alone. I can repeat what the U.S. Government, United Nations and various nonprofit organizations report. I can tell you what I have seen in working with populations vulnerable to trafficking and survivors of trafficking. Despite this, key questions around scope and solutions, remain unanswered.
Posted in Advocacy, Grantees, Housing, Human Trafficking, Slavery
Tagged activism, community, girls, housing, Human Rights, human trafficking, illegal, labor, prostitution, slavery, Women
Here at Spark, we’re all about partnering with organizations who find innovative ways to empower women. So we were very excited to hear about past grantee CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education) and their exciting new use of a rapid-growth technology: cell phones.