On International Women’s Day, Women Deliver features grassroots and global initiatives that promote a better world for girls and women.
March 7, 2012, New York – Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization, today announced the “Women Deliver 50,” a compilation of the 50 most inspiring ideas and solutions that are delivering for girls and women across the globe. After receiving hundreds of online nominations from 103 countries, a selection committee chose 125 finalists to be voted on by the public. More than 6,000 individuals participated in the online voting.
“The solutions on this list show that with ingenuity, drive and dedication, we can build a better world for girls and women,” said Jill Sheffield, Women Deliver Founder and President. “We are proud to celebrate these organizations and programs, which are pioneering real, lasting, social change at the local and global levels. We have seen time and time again that when we invest in girls and women, entire societies benefit.”
The “Women Deliver 50” list showcases advocacy campaigns; health interventions; technologies; educational initiatives and leadership programs. The initiatives, which range from grassroots to global, are led by social entrepreneurs, civil society, governments, international agencies and private companies.
“We have made great strides toward substantially bettering the lives of girls and women through the types of innovative programming and advocacy we find among these winners. But we can – and we must – do more,” said Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and member of The Elders, a group of independent global leaders that initiated ‘Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.’ “The time is now for the global community to prioritize girls and women so that they can fulfill their potential and break the cycle of poverty and inequality."
Of the 50 ideas and solutions featured, 25 are centered in sub-Saharan Africa, 9 in Asia, 5 in the Middle East and North Africa, 4 in Latin America, and 2 in Europe and North America, while the others are global in reach. A selection committee of experts and advocates representing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Medic Mobile, Room to Read, Man Up and the International Center for Research on Women, narrowed down the original list of nominations for voting. Women Deliver President, Jill Sheffield, acted as Chair.
“We started the Skillz Street soccer initiative to educate girls in Southern Africa about sexual and reproductive health and to empower them with the skills they need to protect themselves from HIV,” said Dr. Tommy Clark, Grassroot Soccer Founder and CEO. “Our inclusion in this list, among so many inspiring organizations, gives us renewed energy as we inspire generations of strong-minded, confident young women, working towards our goal of educating 1 million youth by 2014.”
Other inspirational solutions featured in the Women Deliver 50 include:
Aawaaj, Nepal: Aawaaj, which means “voice” in Nepali, aims to break the silence around sexual violence in Nepal. Aawaaj works with both women and men in rural communities to establish support networks that help eliminate sexual abuse and violence against women and children.
Backpack Farm, Kenya & South Sudan: From certified seeds to safety equipment, Backpack Farm is giving small-scale farmers, many of whom are women, everything they need to improve crop production – all in a backpack. This pioneering social enterprise model increases the quality and quantity of produce harvested by women, which allows women to earn more money to invest in their family’s education and health and their community’s needs.
Girls Not Brides, Global: Launched in 2011 by The Elders, Girls Not Brides is a partnership among 80 global non-governmental organizations working to end child marriage. Girls Not Brides brings community leaders and activists together to raise awareness and galvanize action to address the scale and impact of child marriage around the world and ensure that girls everywhere can reach their full potential.
Hamlin College of Midwives, Ethiopia: The Hamlin College of Midwives is working to address the critical shortage of midwives in rural communities in Ethiopia. The college provides promising students from five different regions with an intensive, four-year training program on labor and delivery, antenatal and postnatal care, family planning, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing and information technology.
- Abriendo Oportunidades, Guatemala: Population Council’s Abriendo Oportunidades program is helping to raise indigenous Mayan girls – one of Guatemala’s most disadvantaged groups – out of poverty. Since 2004, the program has provided more than 3,000 girls with mentorship, personal and professional development skills and leadership opportunities.
About Women Deliver: Women Deliver is a global advocacy organization that brings together voices from around the world to call for improved health and well being for girls and women. Launched in 2007, Women Deliver works globally to generate political commitment and financial investment for fulfilling Millennium Development Goal #5 — to reduce maternal mortality and achieve universal access to reproductive health. Building from the groundbreaking conferences Women Deliver convened in 2007 and 2010, Women Deliver harnesses commitments, partnerships, and networks to help prevent the approximately 350,000 deaths of girls and women from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes that occur every year. Women Deliver’s message is that maternal health is both a human right and a practical necessity for sustainable development. Invest in women—it pays.