Today is International Women’s Day and this year the organisers are asking us to #BeBoldForChange; to forge a more inclusive, gender equal world.
Achieving gender equality is one of the United Nations sustainable development goals for 2030 and an important consideration when picking our monthly campaign. Our vision is for a world where communities have the opportunity to end the poverty they are living in and in which men and women enjoy equal opportunity to work and education as well as a shared responsibility for the home and children.
Today is a great day to reflect on the projects we have supported which improve the lives of women across the world…
Last year we worked with charity: water to supply an Ethiopian village of 292 people with clean drinking water for the first time. Arguably, it is the women and girls within the community who will benefit from this the most. In rural communities such as this, the time-consuming task of water collection most frequently falls to women and young girls. They are often unable to finish their education, focus on domestic duties and find other job opportunities. The well we are building will empower the women in this village to improve their futures and to bring their families and community out of poverty.
Last month we fundraised for Mary’s Meals. We sponsor four Mary’s Meals schools feeding 1,486 children everyday of which 846 are girls. By providing a daily meal in school, Mary’s Meals meets the immediate needs of hungry children and encourages them to gain an education that can be their ladder out of poverty. In many situations girls are the first in the family to be taken out of school in order to work. The promise of a daily meal in schools within the Mary’s Meals program has resulted in an 18% increase in attendance for girls.
We’ve lent over £130,000 to budding businesses through our microfinance partner Deki. Unlike many finance options in developing countries, Deki loans are available to everyone. 545 of the 902 entrepreneurs we’ve funded have been women. Through Deki we have empowered these women to build their own businesses and fulfil their potential, allowing them to feed and educate their children, employ their neighbours and help their communities thrive.
We’ve supported many projects over the last five years which have focused on sexual and reproductive health. Last year we worked with mothers2mothers for the first time, investing in their ‘Mentor Mothers’ program to help put an end to the transmission of HIV from mother to child. The money we raised funded 96 Mentor Mothers for one month in 28 clinics across Malawi, enabling them to reach 329 newly diagnosed HIV positive pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. We also gave 3,424 women and their babies a far better chance of a safe birth and a healthy start in life through a project with United Purpose (formally Concern Universal) by training maternal health volunteers in Ghana and setting them up to issue free maternal health care and family planning advice.
We’re proud to celebrate our achievements this International Women’s Day with the women and men of our brilliant community. There are now 202 of us giving 1% every month to help the world’s poorest people. It’s a small investment, from a small group of people, which truly can change the lives of people around the world.