New Grantee: Community Women’s Enterprise Network (CWEN)
By Spark Fellow Kendra Hyett
Uganda was described as “the pearl of Africa,” by Winston Churchill, referring to the country’s natural beauty, rich landscapes, and good climate. But unfortunately, as The Foundation for Sustainable Development reports, “the country currently ranks as one of the 20 poorest nations in the world and 50% of the population lives below the poverty line.” The majority of the population lacks basic resources and infrastructure from running water to health care and education and now 1 million citizens are infected with HIV/AIDS.
Women in Uganda face even more health risks and employment barriers as they are at greater risk of HIV/AIDS infection, face lower social status than men, and lack economic self-sufficiency. For most women, this reduces their access to education, power to act independently, ability to avoid poverty, and their power to escape reliance upon abusive men.
Facing these discriminations, risks, and barriers to controlling their own livelihood, women in Uganda are in desperate need of new and innovative opportunities. Community Women’s Enterprise Network (CWEN) was created to do just that.
CWEN was founded in 2012 by a group of passionate young women looking for new opportunities for women in their communities. The young women were selected by their own communities in the districts of Kampala, Mukono, and Wakiso to run the organization. Now, only a few years later, they have a network of 220 low-income women entrepreneurs. CWEN’s mission is to build the entrepreneurial capacity of women to overcome economic and social barriers and achieve self-sufficiency. Their programs focus on micro lending and value chain development for women entrepreneurs, plus social research and impact measurement. Their proposed project, Women on the Shelf, aims to help low income, high potential women entrepreneurs gain shelf space in leading local and regional stores and get their products flying off the shelves. Women on the Shelf focuses on cultivating and strengthening the capacity of women food entrepreneurs and other products through branding, packaging, marketing, merchandising and promotions so products will fetch higher prices, doubling incomes for women producers and expanding their markets locally and globally.
A Spark grant will cover:
- Support for 41 low-income, high potential female entrepreneurs through CWEN’s Women on the Shelf project.
- This support includes: branding, packaging, marketing, and merchandising their products; project team staffing, transportation, plus monitoring and evaluation costs.
- CWEN is looking for website and marketing guidance. If you’d like to be the one to provide pro bono support, please contact us.
If you would like to support Spark’s fundraising efforts for CWEN, you can make a donation on Spark’s website. We would also love to hear from you if you are interested in providing pro bono services: email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are very excited to support this wonderful organization! Visit CWEN’s Website to learn more.
Posted in Advocacy, Economy, Grantees, Women's Rights
Tagged Africa, AIDS, branding, business, Community Women’s Enterprise Network, CWEN, discrimination, economic empowerment, Employment, Entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship, food entrepreneurs, Gender equality, gender inequality, girls education, global education, global market, Grantmaking, grassroots women's organizations, HIV, income, international health, Kampala, local market, low-income, marketing, merchandising, micro lending, Mukono, nonprofit, packaging, poverty, product branding, Spark, SparkSF, startup, Uganda, unemployment, Wakiso, women entrepreneurs, women on the shelf, women's economic empowerment, women's education, women's empowerment, women's entrepreneurship, women's issues
New Grantee: Project Window
By Chrissy Schwen
Far Rockaway, the easternmost part of Long Island’s Rockaway Peninsula, can be a tough place to grow up. That is something Angela Hines knows all too well. Born and raised in the Far Rockaway NYCHA housing projects, Hines dropped out of high school in 1987 and struggled for years to support herself and her family. Vowing to create a better life for her children, Hines got her GED and decided to further her education.
Dubbed “Hero mom” by the New York Daily News, Hines’ determination is awe-inspiring. In order to attend CUNY law school, she would bus from her apartment in Far Rockaway two hours with two children in tow, and then return from class in time to make dinner for all five of her children. All that hard work paid off; in 2009 Hines achieved her dream by becoming a practicing lawyer at the Queens County Court Legal Aid Society.
After succeeding in building a better life for her own family, Hines set her sights on improving the lives of girls still struggling in her community. She created Project Window to help girls in the Far Rockaway housing projects reach their full potential. “I don’t want to turn my back on the community,” she said. “If I could help just one person, then my work is done.”
She’s done much more than that. Project Window has supported girls in Far Rockaway in many ways – from mentoring and tutoring programs to providing girls in the Sandy-raged community with free prom dresses and community service opportunities. All of the programs are designed to instill a sense of responsibility, community, and possibility. To achieve this level of comprehensive support, the organization is divided into components:
- Project Connection is Project Window’s mentoring program. Each child is paired with a mentor for a school year for weekly activities and monthly check-ins that record the child’s progress.
- Project Steppers promotes physical fitness and camaraderie through athletic and recreation activities, including volleyball and dance, on the weekends and through summer camps. The program aims to reach girls who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in organized activities.
- Team Recovery aims to provide tutoring and other academic support to girls to keep them focused on their schooling.
- Project Bulls-eye is a series of workshops for girls that address self-esteem, peer pressure, sex education, drug and alcohol abuse, and healthy relationships. The workshops aim to improve the girls’ ability to address these issues in a positive way.
- Project Give back teaches girls to value their community and themselves by organizing clothing and toy drives, visits to nursing homes, and time at local soup kitchens.
It is Project Window’s hope that this broad spectrum of assistance will expose its participants to opportunities they might not otherwise have had, and teach them self-awareness, the importance of education, and strong interpersonal skills.
We couldn’t be more thrilled to support Project Window! A Spark grant will cover:
- The cost of 15 girls to participate in their summer camps
- Pro bono support including:
o Prom Dresses: Project Window is sponsoring “Queens of Far Rockaways” event, providing prom dresses and accessories to girls in the Far Rockaways who wouldn’t otherwise have them. If you have a dress to donate please email email@example.com.
o Website Expertise: Project Window is looking for help revamping their website, and needs your help. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
If you would like to support Spark’s fundraising efforts for Project Window, please make a donation on our website. And if you are interested in donating dresses, revamping the website, or providing other pro bono services for Project Window, email email@example.com. Learn more about Project Window on their website, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook!
Posted in Advocacy, Girls Education, Grantees, Philanthropy, Women's Rights
Tagged academic support, angela hines, dance, far rockaway, fitness, girls education, girls nonprofit, girls rights, grantee, hero mom, long island, mentoring, new york city, new york daily news, nonprofit, project connection, project steppers, project window, prom dresses, Spark, SparkNYC, SparkSF, steppers, team recovery
Nicholas Kristof weighs in on why terrorists fear smart girls, Europe and Chile spark new abortion law debates, girls take change into their own hands in Guatemala, why “leaning in” isn’t enough, and the realities of American life for low-income mothers. This is your Spark News Digest.
Read, Discuss, Share.
By Spark Fellow: Kendra Hyett
GLOBAL EDUCATION: What’s So Scary About Smart Girls?
As the devastating abduction of over 200 Nigerian school girls continues to make international headlines, the biggest question is why innocent girls were targeted by extremist terrorists. New York Times journalist and human rights advocate Nicholas Kristof weighs in: they did not target army barracks, police or drone bases because their worst nightmare is actually educated girls – the most powerful, burgeoning force to transform society.
READ THE STORY
GLOBAL HEALTH: Abortion Law Debates Heat Up
The reproductive rights war wages on around the world. A religious-backed campaign threatens the use of European aid money to back any programs supporting abortion.
READ THE STORY
Meanwhile in South America, reproductive rights are moving forward. In Chile, the ban on abortion – even when a woman’s life is at risk – will soon be reconsidered.
READ THE STORY
WORKPLACE RIGHTS: Leaning In with Nothing to Lean On
Much like the “quit telling women to smile” campaign, The Shriver Report author Valerie Young is saying, “quit telling women low self-confidence is all that’s holding them back.” With the recent publication of The Confidence Code, following up on the basic principles of Lean In that women are holding themselves back by not going for a promotion or raise as many men do, there’s been a lot of talk about where to draw the line. How much women are holding themselves back vs. how much needs to be changed in the workplace to meet hard-working women part-way?
READ THE STORY
ECONOMY: The State of Low-Income Mothers in the U.S.
Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs around, but what does that really mean for low-income families? The National Women’s Law Center takes a look via an interactive map at the realities for mothers in the U.S. working in low-wage jobs.
READ THE STORY
FILM: Storytelling Power!
Recently premiered docu-drama “¡PODER!” shows how two Guatemalan girls take power into their own hands to find creative ways of change in their own communities. Get an inside look at the creation of this innovative short film and the amazing nonprofit organizations behind it.
READ THE STORY
Posted in Democracy, Economy, Gender-based Violence, Girls Education, Human Rights, Human Trafficking, News, Women's Rights
Tagged abduction, abortion, abortion laws, ¡PODER!, ban on abortion, Boko Haram, Boko Haram militants, child care, Chile, cost of child care, Europe, girls education, girls empowerment, global education, Guatemala, Guatemalan girls, Lean In, Let Girls Lead, low-income families, low-wage jobs, new york times, Nicholas Kristof, Nigeria, Nigerian school girls, Sheryl Sandberg, smart girls, South America, terrorists, The Confidence Code, The New York Times, The Shriver Report, U.S., United Nations, What's So Scary About Smart Girls?, women in the U.S., women's empowerment, women's rights, workplace rights
The Young Feminists Movement
By Spark Fellow Kendra Hyett
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