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19
Jan

2014 Reserve Programs focus on education

Dining for Women announces three programs have been the first to be awarded grants under our new Reserve Program. All three programs focusing on educating women and girls — the most direct path to positive health and economic change. 

By Beth Ellen Holimon
DFW Executive Director

I am pleased to announce that three programs tackling education in the poorest parts of the world have been selected as 2014 Reserve Programs by Dining for Women.

A look at our programs in 2014 shows that education is highly valued and the lion’s share of grantees focus on that area. Of the 24 featured, sustained and reserve programs we supported last year, 13 or 54 percent were focused on education. Perhaps that’s because it is a place where we can truly make the most significant difference and reach the greatest number of women and girls.

The Brookings Institute, writing in advance of International Women’s Day 2014, drew a straight line between educating girls and positive health and economic outcomes for an entire community.

“There is a strong link between educating women and girls and positive outcomes for maternal health, economic empowerment and social mobility,” the institute wrote. “Education gives a voice to girls and women in their communities. If all women completed primary school, 189,000 lives of women would be saved per year and 66 percent fewer maternal deaths would occur. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 113,400 women would survive childbirth and there would be 70 percent fewer maternal deaths.”

We agree. In our effort to change the world for women and girls, we see poverty as the root cause and education as our strongest weapon. The Program Selection Committee’s choices in 2014 reinforced that.

“If all women completed primary school, 189,000 lives of women would be saved per year and 66 percent fewer maternal deaths would occur. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 113,400 women would survive childbirth and there would be 70 percent fewer maternal deaths.”
— The Brookings Institute

Last year, thanks to our members’ and donors’ generosity and commitment, we were able to do more. The Reserve Programs will put another $109,000 to work in the world. The grants were made from the excess funds accumulated in our program reserve fund. The programs selected had been named alternates in previous grant cycles so they were thoroughly vetted and met all of our rigorous criteria. Additionally, the programs invited for consideration had to submit updated information and budgets for evaluation.

Our first Reserve Grant is to GoodWeave’s “Weaving Educational Opportunities” program. Girls in Afghanistan, currently isolated and often illiterate, will get a chance at an education while their mothers will gain improved earning opportunities as carpet weavers. The program will reach 450 girls and mothers.

You may already be somewhat familiar with GoodWeave. The organization was founded by Kailash Satyarthi, the 2014 co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Satyarthi was an engineering student when he began to fight against child trafficking. Realizing that a root cause of the crisis was consumer-based, he set out to establish a certification process to raise awareness of forced child labor and to incentivize manufacturers. Through this effort, GoodWeave was born in the mid-1990s. Read more about Satyarthi and the beginnings of GoodWeave.

In Tanzania, AfricAid’s Kisa Project is an education and leadership program that will target adolescent girls between 14 and 17 to work closely with mentors. This special support and mentoring is intended to help promising girls learn critical leadership skills, improve graduation rates and help lift their families out of poverty. Kisa Scholars will go on to become mentors to the next group of girls.

And finally, the Daraja Educational Foundation in Kenya will expand the Daraja Academy’s Grassroots Girls Club. This program will strengthen the girl’s education by adding not only leadership skills but also practical applications and real life context. The objective is to help the girls to develop grassroots organizations in their communities.

Education is one of the most effective ways to battle poverty and gender inequality. We are committed to fighting with the best tools we have – books, pencils and teachers.

Photo Caption: Girls at the Kakenya Center for Excellence proudly display their certificates. Kakenya was featured in 2014.

TAGS: Girls, Girls Education, Girls Leadership, Mentoring