500 Trees for 500 Chapters

As of Wednesday, February 5

WE DID IT! 500 Chapters and Growing!

That’s 500 chapters learning together, building community, and making a difference for women and girls globally!

“We are celebrating this historic milestone thanks to our hardworking volunteer leaders, especially our Regional Leaders and Mentors, who attract and support new chapters every day,” said Beth Ellen Holimon, DFW President & CEO. “Our thanks also to you, our members, who have shared your passion for DFW and spread the word about the need to achieve gender equality in our world.”

Congratulations to the OH, Columbus-6 chapter – led by Tammy White and Patricia Smith which was our 500th chapter, with honorable mention going to OR, Lake Oswego-1 – led by Deborah Shimkus — for being our 499th chapter.

To commemorate this milestone, Dining for Women is partnering with our grantee Ripple Africa to plant 500 trees in Malawi.  Dining for Women has awarded multiple grants to Ripple Africa to construct low-tech, 100 percent sustainable, fuel efficient cook stoves. These “Chango Chango Moto” cookstoves combat many of the issues resulting from daily use of a traditional open fire.  They provide a 66 percent wood savings and produce less smoke, thus delivering positive outcomes for women in the areas of health, labor, safety, economic circumstance, and the natural environment.

Tree planting is a big part of what Ripple Africa does to combat deforestation. Upon achieving our 500 chapter goal, Dining for Women will plant 500 trees in the Nkhotakota and Mzimba Districts in Northern Malawi where the Changu Changu Moto project is taking place. According to Ripple Africa, this is a perfect complement to the Dining for Women cook stove project and really ties the two projects together. There is such a need for tree planting in these rural areas to replenish the trees which have been cut down for cooking on three-stone fires. Over time, trees have become more and more scarce, meaning that women have to go further and further collect firewood. This is not only time-consuming but presents safety issues for the women as well. The people living in this region are fully committed to preserving their environment as they have seen the negative impact from deforestation and understand the immediate and long term implications for their communities. The trees that will be planted are mostly pine and eucalyptus, which are fast growing and can be cut back to ground level to stimulate growth rather than cut down.

We are excited to participate in this important work and are grateful to Ripple Africa for allowing us to celebrate our 500 chapter milestone in such a meaningful way.

Watch for updates from Ripple Africa — from growing the seedlings in tree nurseries to planting them later this year. In the meantime, check out the excitement of the Malawian women as they celebrate our milestone in this short video.