Dining for Women
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4
Dec

Why You Should Visit Rwanda: A DFW Member Experience

By Linda Baxter, Dining for Women Member 

As part of Dining for Women’s Travel Program, a group of travelers will visit Rwanda February 18-25, 2018. DFW member Linda Baxter lived and worked in Rwanda and shares her experience in the country.

In 2014 and 2015, I was living in Rwanda and working for the Human Resources for Health (HRH) project. Our goal was to assist the staff of the University of Rwanda in their efforts to improve medical and nursing education and practice. I was assigned to a more rural school of nursing and midwifery in the town of Gicumbi (Byumba) where I worked with faculty, and students – in classrooms as well as the hospital and local health center.

Often when I tell people I lived there, they react with awe as if I had been in a very dangerous place – and I have to explain how calm, safe, and beautiful Rwanda is. The climate is great, the people are nice, friendly, English-speaking (mostly), and it is VERY safe.

Everyone remembers the genocide, but forgets that it happened 20 years ago. Rwandans and their government have worked hard to move past that awful time – never forgetting, but developing their economy to make Rwanda a better place. I think Kigali must be the cleanest city in Africa! There is little crime (maybe some pickpockets at the busy, crowded central bus station), and I always felt safe – walking, in taxis and on buses – both in urban Kigali and in more rural areas and villages.

Having spent many weekends in Kigali I found many excellent restaurants – and Dining for Women travelers will visit the best of them! Heaven (where they greet you with “Welcome to Heaven”) was a Friday night favorite for our group.  Republika Lounge (with one of the best gifts shops) was another favorite, Sole Luna has good food and a regular “Trivia Night”, and Khana Kazana was an Indian favorite. I even stayed at Chez Lando Hotel and found it to be a very friendly and comfortable Rwandan facility.

Many of my colleagues as well as my daughter and I visited Volcanos National Park for monkey and gorilla trekking and found it to be truly amazing (some said life-changing)! It’s hard to believe you are standing 15 feet away from these gorilla families just watching them go about their normal activities. We saw twin toddlers, a mom breastfeeding her newborn, several adolescents – and of course the huge silverback who stood guard over his family. The guides and guards made us feel safe with their instructions on our behavior and their obvious familiarity with these gorilla families. Rwanda carefully and wisely restricts visitors to one hour per day to preserve the lifestyle of these special creatures.

I wouldn’t go to Rwanda and miss this opportunity – it’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend time with one of Dian Fossey’s gorilla families!

I enthusiastically encourage people to join Dining for Women’s trip to the Land of a Thousand Hills - as I know you will love it.  This could be your best introduction to Africa!


Linda Baxter is a member of Dining for Women’s Great Barrington, MA chapter and serves on the organization’s Grant Selection Committee.  

For more information on the DFW trip to Rwanda, visit here.

Internally displaced South Sudanese mother Antenate (centre) sits with three of her five children, on the spot where they sleep outside in the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site adjacent to the UNMISS base in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan, Friday 16 June 2017. “Soldiers came and started shooting people,” says Antenate, who walked for two days to reach the camp. Her brother, her husband, and her uncle were all shot. “We had nothing. Everything you see here we got here,” says Antenate of her few possessions.

Six years after independence, the hopes and dreams of this fledgling nation have been shattered by armed conflict. Two million people are displaced within South Sudan’s borders, and another two million have fled the country, inflicting unthinkable hardship and suffering. When clashes broke out in Wau in June 2016, thousands of people sought shelter at the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) base on the edge of town and at St. Mary’s cathedral. As of June 2017, 48,000 people live between the two sites, unable to return home, relying on aid agencies for their most basic needs.

Living conditions in Wau’s Protection of Civilians (PoC) site are cramped – it is the most densely populated of the six PoC sites in South Sudan. There are 39,165 internally displaced persons (IDPs) sheltering on just 200,000 m2 of land - 5 m2 per person, well below the Sphere standard of 30 m2 per person. St. Mary’s cathedral is equally cramped, with a surge in new arrivals in April 2017 adding further pressure. Some 8,800 internally displaced South Sudanese currently live on the grounds of the cathedral. 

As the rainy season approaches, drainage is vitally important to ensure sanitary living conditions for the displaced. UNICEF and partners are working on sanitation, hygiene and drainage in the PoC site. A cholera outbreak has reached many parts of South Sudan, and staff in the camp are working on preventing the spread of disease i
22
Nov

Uplifting Women and Girls Is the Key to Solving the World’s Problems

By Mansi Mehta, Manager, Global Cause Partnerships

Prevent gender-based violence in South Sudan:

On February 20, 2017, famine was declared in South Sudan, deepening the already existing humanitarian crisis in the region. Today, more than 2 million people have been displaced by violence in South Sudan. Of those fleeing the conflict, 87 percent are women and children, meaning 1.3 million children need our help to protect their childhood.

Women and children are facing immediate risks of violence, displacement, life-threatening diseases and hunger. In addition to this, Details

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20
Nov

Cincinnati Chapter Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Congratulations to the OH, Cincinnati-2 chapter, led by its founder, Karen Whitney, on 10 years together!

Karen began to recruit friends to start a chapter, but over time, the membership has changed as some women were unable to continue and others joined in their place. Now, Karen says all the members are new friends to her. Persistence was the key to getting the chapter started and having it continue to thrive a decade later. Details


U.S. Foreign Aid, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

Dining for Women is collaborating with Oxfam to elevate the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment in U.S. foreign aid. Oxfam, a global social justice organization working to end extreme poverty, offers resources and a depth of experience in this field that is valuable to Dining for Women as we develop our Grassroots Advocacy Program. We, in turn, have an extensive network of members passionate about improving the lives of women and girls in developing nations. By combining forces, we can increase the emphasis on U.S. foreign aid focusing on gender equality.

Details

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23
Oct

For the Ithaca, NY Chapter, the Secret is Flexibility and Warmth

Congratulations to the NY, Ithaca-1 chapter on 10 years of friendship and support for Dining for Women!

The chapter was founded by Miriam Bisk and Gail Sakai. It is currently led by Karin Suskin, Karen Baum, Judith Ashton, and Sue Rakow.  The four co-leaders fill different roles: DFW liaison, bookkeeper, manager of host and presenter schedule, and manager of emails. They believe that having structure and sharing responsibilities are key parts of the group’s longevity, along with warmth – and, of course, great food. Details

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27
Sep

Understanding the International Affairs Piece of the Federal Budget Pie

By Nancy Jacobsen, member of DFW’s Advocacy Committee and the CA, Tiburon-1 chapter

Remember the pie chart from the Advocacy Committee blog in the September issue of The Dish? Many of you may have been surprised to learn that only 1% of the U.S. federal budget goes to international affairs. This month, we are going to dive more deeply into how that 1% is broken down and how the federal budget, including the amount designated for international affairs, is determined. It is important to know how this process works if we are to understand how we, as DFW members, can make an impact on behalf of women and girls. Details

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28
Aug

U.S. Foreign Aid: Dispelling the Myths

In Tajikistan, Mahkfirat Saidrahmonova is showing other women in her community what it takes to successfully run subsistence farms thanks to a program called Feed the Future.

In Afghanistan, a challenging but rewarding internship program is providing Sayeda Korga with job skills that will give her independence and economic security as part of a program called Promote: Women in Government. Details

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28
Aug

Greensboro Chapter Is All about Fun, Food, and Friendship

The NC, Greensboro-5 chapter is focused on three Fs: fun, food, and friendship. The chapter and its founder and leader, Shashi Khanna, are celebrating 10 years of supporting women and girls through Dining for Women.

Shashi started the chapter at a season in life when she was looking for a way to give back. “I was retired, an empty nester, and needed something to fulfill my desire to change the world,” she said. “Not knowing how or where to start, I came across a quote from Saint Theresa, ‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.’” Details

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25
Aug

DFW Continues its Support for Girls’ Education with New Grant to the Peace Corps

DFW is pleased to continue its partnership with the Peace Corps in 2017 in order to support girls’ education around the world. We have awarded our second partnership grant in the amount of $70,000 to the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP). The funds will be used by Peace Corps Volunteers and local communities to implement projects that address barriers to girls’ education. Details


U.S. Foreign Assistance: An Issue for Women and Girls

By Betsy Dunklin, Dining for Women Advocacy Committee Chair

Did you see that ecstatic dance of joy at the end of the video on Mali Health, our May grantee? It epitomizes what Dining for Women members often note, that despite extreme poverty and oppression, these women find happiness from their new-found skills, their support of one another, and, perhaps most of all, a sense of power and control over their own lives. And they use this to change the power dynamics within their families, their communities, and their nations. Details


Chapters Celebrate Their Leaders

In April, DFW celebrated Chapter Leader Appreciation Month for the first time. It was a way to recognize and thank our chapter leaders for all their hard work and dedication to DFW. Chapter members honored their leaders in many different ways … from champagne and cake to cards and kind words. Here are just a few examples of the many tributes that took place across our chapters: Details

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26
Apr

San Francisco Chapter Celebrates 10 Years

The CA, San Francisco-2 chapter, led by Bri Kapellas and Chris King, is both “high tech” and “high touch”. This group of women – mostly in their 20s and 30s – combine busy lives with the desire to meet together for a common cause.

“As San Francisco is a transient city, making good transitions and passing on the leadership has been crucial to our chapter’s longevity,” Chris King said. “Even more so, we hold participation loosely, if people can only come a couple of times a year. It keeps them engaged if they don’t feel like they have to be at every meeting.” Details

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26
Apr

Grant Selection Committee Chair Transition

DFW is grateful for the service of Susan Garrity, who is retiring from our Grant Selection Committee (GSC). Susan has been in service to women and girls through her work with DFW since 2009, when she and three friends started the CA, San Jose-4 chapter, which they still lead.

Susan spent 29 years in Operations and Supply Chain management in the medical device manufacturing world, except for a two-year break during which she attended nursing school and became a Registered Nurse. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Masters of Business Administration. Details


Sacramento TV Station Covers Local Chapter Meeting

KCRA News covered the CA, Rancho Cordova chapter meeting on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2017) and DFW’s Biggest Chapter Meeting Ever. Special guests at the meeting were members of the first Muslim Jr. Girl Scouts troop, who presented the featured grantee and conducted a community fundraiser on behalf of DFW.  

WATCH CLIP 


Ready, Set, Grow! Will You Be a DFW Ambassador?

By Abbie Sladick, Florida Regional Leader and Chair of the Growth Sub-Committee

 

Our 2020 Vision set out a bold goal – to grow from 8,000 to 20,000 members by 2020. You may wonder: why such a big goal? The answer is simple – because the need is great. We have yet to achieve gender equality around the world, and women and girls are still struggling and suffering. We want to grow so we can impact even more women and girls! Details


Set Up Recurring Donations for 2017

By Leslie Mason, DFW Accounting Specialist

Monthly recurring donations are the easiest and most convenient way for you to give to DFW, even if you cannot attend your chapter meeting that month. They also provide a predictable source of income that we can count on to fulfill our mission.

So what does it mean to be a recurring donor? It means that your credit card or bank account will be set up by DFW to be charged on a certain date every month according to your specific instructions. You can change or cancel your automatic withdrawal at any time.

Did you know?….

  • DFW currently has 172 donors that make monthly recurring bank drafts.
  • All DFW staff members donate by bank draft.
  • Bank drafts are the most cost-effective and time-efficient donation processing method DFW offers.

Details

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29
Nov

1,000 Donors in 10 Days!

JOIN OUR GIVING TUESDAY PARTICIPATION CHALLENGE

Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to charitable giving, is Nov. 29. Since its founding in 2012, Giving Tuesday has inspired giving around the world, resulting in greater donations, volunteer hours, and activities that bring about real change in communities.

As part of our 13th Month Annual Appeal, Dining for Women is issuing a special challenge tied to Giving Tuesday. We want to receive 1,000 donations to our annual appeal during a 10-day period starting on Giving Tuesday. All donations received online or by mail between Tuesday, Nov. 29 and Thursday, Dec. 8 (inclusive) will be counted in this special Giving Tuesday Participation Challenge. Details

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16
Nov

Sharing Best Practices – Celebrating International Day of the Girl and Supporting DFW Too!

By Cynthia Sawtell, Mentor in our West Region, and Chapter Leader of CA, San Anselmo-1

On Oct. 9, the three chapters of Marin County, CA (San Francisco area) hosted a public event in honor of the International Day of the Girl Child.  The concept was to share with a broader circle of women the work that DFW has done for girls.  We had three goals in mind:  1) to spread the word that investing in girls is critically important for spreading peace and prosperity in the developing world; 2) to do this outreach in hopes of gaining new members; and 3) to raise a little money for DFW.  We called the event “Celebrate The Girl”. Details

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25
Aug

Preparing Girls for the Future with STEM and Entrepreneurial Projects

DFW’s $100,000 grant to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education will fund four anchor activities – all of which help girls by removing social and structural barriers that prevent access to education. Over the last few months, we have discussed two of them: GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camps and Clubs and Men as Partners (MAP) projects. This month, our focus is on two additional activities: STEM Projects for Girls as well as Business and Entrepreneurial Training for Girls. Details


Sharing Best Practices: Annual Appeal is Coming Soon!

It’s almost time for our 13th Month Annual Appeal, and many chapters are already getting geared up and pumped up!  There are many ways that you can bring your chapter members together to support DFW while having some fun along the way.

Chapter Fundraisers
Last year, we raised close to $38,000 from more than 50 chapter fundraisers.  If your chapter is considering a fundraiser for the 13th Month Annual Appeal, be sure to check out our Chapter Fundraising Guidelines and complete the online Fundraiser Approval Form before you get started. Details

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26
Jul

Let Girls Learn Grant Teaches Men & Boys about Gender Equality

Last month, we updated you about DFW’s $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education. The Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Program helps adolescent girls around the world complete their education by removing the social and structural barriers that many girls face in accessing an education. We also provided information on GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camps and Clubs, one of the approved projects that will be funded through the DFW grant.

Our grant will also fund Men as Partners (MAP) projects, STEM Projects for Girls, and Business and Entrepreneurial Training for Girls. This month we discuss MAP projects. Details

The 2015 Camp GLOW/Bro in Volta, Ghana which was held during the week of August 24, 2015. 

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29
Jun

DFW Funds GLOW Camps to Inspire Girls

In March, Dining for Women announced its $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education and empowerment. This grant will be used by Peace Corps Volunteers in developing countries around the world to fund grassroots, community-led projects that address barriers to girls’ education and improve the quality of that education. There are four types of projects that are eligible for DFW funds: the first is GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camps and Clubs – a proven model for inspiring girls to change their world.

Peace Corps Volunteers organize and lead GLOW Camps and Clubs to promote gender equality and empower young women. Camps range from day-long sessions to week-long overnight programs. They create a safe and supportive environment for learning, cultural exchange, individuality, creativity, leadership development and fun. Peace Corps Volunteers work with community leaders to design GLOW camps that reflect the unique characteristics and diversity of the local area. Details

GLOW
29
Jun

Update on Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Partnership

In March, DFW announced its first impact partnership grant – a $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education.  The Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Program helps adolescent girls around the world complete their education by removing the social and structural barriers that many girls face in accessing an education.

So what has been happening since this partnership grant was announced earlier this year?

DFW’s grant funds have been awarded to the Peace Corps and are already being put into action by Peace Corps Volunteers around the world! Details